Social Media on our Plates

By: Olivia Hesslein

By: Olivia Hesslein

Social Media has expanded the world of personal blogging and food writing; turning every-day foodies into experts on local cuisines and the ‘go-to’ for where to wine and dine in their cities.  If you go back in time to just a decade or more ago, this was certainly not the case. Food writers were only found as restaurant critics for prominent publications or a chef publishing a cook book.

“Using social media is absolutely important, you’re not going to grow without it.” Said Reuben Varzea, author of The Foodie Journal. “In the past year I have gained over 1,000 followers on my blog without any formal advertising or marketing” said Varzea. Who gets anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 views on his blog a month, that is less then a year old.

Twitter has proven to be a powerful networking tool for food bloggers as well.

“It is a way to connect in an informal way. It has led me to tons of new bloggers, restaurants and brands” said Rachel Leah Blumenthal, author of Fork it Over, Boston. Blumenthal has been writing her blog since 2008 and averages 400-1,000 views on her site on a daily basis.

“ After I write a post I immediately repurpose it on all of my social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. I will receive even more views to my site if a chef or a bigger blog reposts or re-tweets my post” said Blumenthal after starting her endeavors in 2008.

The amount of followers a person gains has become an increasingly valuable benchmark to measure the value of content.

“In terms of showing your value to advertisers, Twitter is helpful because of how many followers you have.  It is immensely helpful for reaching new people. It is easy to connect to your community, to the media, other bloggers, chefs, bartenders and other like-minded people said Jacki Morisi, one half of the duo behind ‘Just Add Cheese’ alongside Michelle Zippelli. The two having started the blog in 2010 after graduating from Northeastern University’s business school. Morisi and Zippelli receive between 500-1,500 page views per day on ‘Just Add Cheese’ and after a very recent re-launch of their website, their Twitter followers, Facebook friends and viewer hits have sky-rocketed.

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli in Boston - click link for more photos on her visit to Northeastern University

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli in Boston – click for more photos on her visit to Northeastern University

There is no doubt, that behind any food writer, big or small there is an extreme passion for food in all its capacities. Each one of these writers has a strong voice and passion that comes through. Varzea in his blog focuses on the chef behind you meals. Interviewing the great chefs behind Boston’s best restaurants. “Food is never just about the food, it is about the stories of where the inspiration comes from” said Varzea.

“Meesh (Michelle Zippelli) and I started this blog as a project right after we graduated.  The exposure and my writing has led me to the job I have today as the Marketing and Communications director at Rialto Restaurant in Cambridge and for Chef Jody Adams. Meesh and I love dining out and sharing our experiences doing so on ‘Just Add Cheese’” said Morisi.

Food blogging opens a window for the reader into the world of the food beyond the sensory experience of eating. It opens you to the chef, their stories and how the restaurant and cuisines came to be.

“One of my favorite interviews was with Chef Clark Frasier of Arrows in Ogunquit, Maine. I went there and just asked if I could speak with the chef for a few minutes. He took me out to the big beautiful garden he had behind the restaurant and told me everything about how he got started and his passion. It was a great moment and one I was happy to share with my readers,” said Varzea.

“I always loved writing about food,” said Blumenthal. “I actually used to be a picky eater before I started this and that has changed now. I started my blog as a way to generate writing material to apply for graduate school and now it has led me to freelancing and other paid gigs.”

Food blogging gives readers a more personalized experience of a restaurant review in comparison to professional restaurant critics.

“We reach a different audience, we have followers always checking our blog. Readers have told Meesh and I that they can hear our voices in our writing and can even tell the difference between when she writes a post or I do and I think our readers appreciate that,”said Morisi.

Social media has helped these bloggers take their passions for food and fine dining in greater Boston and given them a platform in which to express it with the world in not only a more personalized and detailed way, but also more immediate, so their readers and viewers feel like they are eating right along with them.

“There has been a societal change,” said Varzea, “People want instant gratification and Twitter is the easiest way. You can live-tweet your meals and take a photo at the dinner table and post it to Instagram.”

Food blogging is a way of connecting with your community and appealing to a specific niche, and social media has only benefitted to growing this trend even further.

The Fresh Truck, Josh Trauwein

Massachusetts Farmers Markets, Alison Dagger

Happy Eating!

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Restaurants supporting Boston and the One Fund

The amount of  love and support that has surrounded Boston this past week truly melts the heart.

Mayor Menino tweeted today that the One Fund has raised over 20 million dollars in the past 8 days, which is just incredible. All proceeds going to the victims and families of the bombing.

The world has come together  this week in a way that I have never seen in my lifetime. From donations, to donating time, care and just all the displays of pride and hope that has been seen across the city this past week and the world is enough to make you tear up.  I was riding the T just two days after the bombing and there was a group of young men going around from train to train singing Sweet Caroline just to boost the spirits of the strangers around them. Something so small and so simple made such an impact…

Everyone, in their own way  is coming together to help.  A laundry list of restaurants here in Boston this past week donated from 10-25% of the nights proceeds to the One Fund.

The Harpoon Beer Hall here in Boston, from 6-9 pm. each Tuesday for the next two weeks  is donating 100% of their proceeds from beer and pretzel sales to The One Fund.

Yesterday evening the FBI formally handed over control of Boylston street back to the Mayor, and restaurants slowly but surely will begin repair and re-open.  These restaurants in return are going to need OUR help. Between lost revenue from closure, repairs and spoiled foods these restaurants will need the community to come in and dine after the economic blow they have taken.

We have learned this week that support and love can come in so many forms and that there  is hope to come from tragedy. Boston has always been an amazing city, a strong city, filled with an incredible sense of pride. This tragedy has only reinforced that we live in a community unlike any other and that we are blessed. I am so proud to be a Bostonian.

We are Boston Strong

‘The Burger’ at Radius

RADIUS BURGER

There is no better way to  break up a long, stressful work day then to sit down to a nice lunch.  I was craving a good burger, and in my quest to find just the right place I came across a list on The Boston Globe professing ‘ The Best Burgers in Boston.’

The list covered every facet from fancy to funky and of course your classic greasy cheeseburger. I have frequented ‘Five Guys’ and their delicious cheeseburgers many a time and was looking for something a bit more refined… which led me to Radius. Not a restaurant where you would typically think to order a cheeseburger; when the lunch menu includes octopus and tuna tartare.

“Our Burger is different because we use a different cut of meat then the average. ‘We serve a dense 9oz patty made up of 90% ground sirloin and 10% ground chuck. Which gives it a deeper flavor.” according to General Manager, Augusto Gabriel. 

‘The Burger’ is served on a light and sweet house-made brioche bun. The burger is perfectly complemented with fresh Vermont cheddar cheese and a horseradish sauce which has a bite but is certainly not overpowering. As well, some crispy-fried onion strings… and that can do no wrong.

There is certainly nothing worse than getting a GREAT burger and the classic companion of french fries are lack-luster. Radius does a great job of making their fries crispy!

Radius is clean and sophisticated – a lunchtime favorite for local businessmen but certainly is not stuffy. With ornate crown moldings and bold red walls and modern accents Radius is a great representation of old Boston style meets new Boston flavor.  I sat bar side chatting with the bartender Rudy, who was knowledgable of ‘The Burger’ as well as other Boston contenders in the burger world.

Radius is located at 8 High street, on the corner of Summer street. Adjacent to the South Station T stop on the Red line.

Radius is handicap accessible, serving lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm and dinner Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10:00pm

Happy Eating