Food & Wine Bloggers should be opinionated, but substantiate their views


A lively entertaining debate about how opinionated bloggers can be in their blogs about their restaurant experiences was created when well-known food alchemist Pete Goffe-Wood, owner of Wild Woods Restaurant, Eat Out Top 10 restaurant judge, restaurant consultant, and owner of the Kitchen Cowboys cookery school for men addressed the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting at the Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School on Thursday.

Goffe-Wood said that he started blogging about a year ago, as an extension to his writing for the Food page in GQ magazine.   He does not rely on his Kitchen Cowboy blog to make money, but instead he uses it to express his passion about food, and his opinions about issues relating to the restaurant industry, e.g. pricing of wines, corkage, restaurant reviews. He does not blog every day, but rather when he needs to “vent” his opinion about something that is an issue for him.

It is clear that Goffe-Wood enjoys opinionated bloggers, who do not shy away from expressing their views, and who stand by what they write.   Some of his favourite blogs are “Diary of a Food Whore”, “Eat Asia”, as well as “JamieWho”.  He singled out attendee Kim Maxwell as a good reviewer, and mentioned the controversy about JP Rossouw’s review of La Mouette.  If one critiques a restaurant, one must be able to substantiate the reason for the criticism, he said.  A blog that did not carry criticism about restaurants, and that only said good things about good restaurants would not have depth, in his opinion, and would not be a benefit to the restaurant industry.

Goffe-Wood clearly does not like food blogs with recipes, which he disparagingly described as having beautifully styled photographs, but with “inane writing and inane recipes”.  He himself would never write about recipes on his blog.   He also criticised bloggers who had nothing new to say, and who cut and paste the work of other writers.   He discussed the value of blog comments, and felt them to be a beneficial in that they get a discussion going, even if commenters can be harsh in criticising each other.   Another question raised was how polite one must be in expressing a negative opinion.

Pieter Ferreira has been making MCC sparkling wines at Graham Beck for the past 20 years, and is called “Pieter Bubbles” by his friends, and writes a blog called “Bubbles on Wine”.  His blog grew out of his Tweeting, which he does during his day to day activities on the Graham Beck Robertson and Franschhoek farms.   The Tweets become a reminder for him about his experiences during the day, and these he can put into his blog on a later occasion.   He likes to put other writers’ interesting stories on his blog, and also to share exceptional experiences at restaurants, or about a special bottle of wine.    While his blog is a personal one, he is blogging mainly about Graham Beck brands, and therefore it benefits the wine estate as the blog posts will be found via Google searches.

Ferreira’s bubblies are so outstanding that Nelson Mandela chose Graham Beck Cap Classique for his inauguration.  Many years later, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle celebrated their inauguration with the same brand.  Ferreira told the story that the cellar at the White House may only stock American wines.  The Graham Beck wines are stored in the kitchen, to get around this sacred White House rule.   Ferriera brought the Graham Beck Brut Blanc de Blanc, Brut Rose, Coffeestone Cabernet Sauvignon and Gamekeeper Reserve Chenin Blanc for the Bloggers’ Club members to taste.

Due to space constraints at the Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School, the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings will be held at a larger venue in future.  Please contact Chris von Ulmenstein at to obtain more information about the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: (Photograph by Lesley Cox)

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4 replies on “Food & Wine Bloggers should be opinionated, but substantiate their views”

  1. So can PGW substantiate his claims re the “inane” writings of recipe bloggers? What goes for the goose surely goes for the gander? 😉

  2. Of course he wouldn’t write about recipes on his blog. That would be like Plascon writing about their paint formulations.

  3. I hate to disillusion Pete but it’s not the subject matter than makes writing inane. The fact that he chooses not to put recipes on his blog does not mean that everybody who does is beneath contempt, nor that they are bad writers. Just as not all restaurant critics are great writers, not all recipe blogs are inane, and what a sad world it would be if everybody’s blog had to conform to one person’s view of what constitutes valid subject matter!

  4. Thanks Marisa, Jane-Anne and Jeanne for your views. As much as Pete Goffe-Wood likes to read controversial blogs, he likes to make controversial statements too. He did personalise his view about food blogs, and it was not a generalisation. Surprisingly, he was not taken to task in the meeting about this statement.

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