Friday, January 23

Many foodies don't know what they're talking about, says Raymond Lim

I first met Raymond Lim when I was a writer for the SMU Gourmet Club - some of you might remember this article. He was the PR Director and I found him to be surprisingly friendly and open, given that he was representing THE LES AMIS, whereas I was just a nobody who had not even graduated from university.

Seven years on, I came across this interview he did with IS Magazine and could almost kowtow to him for his 20-20 honesty.

You can read the article here but here are three of my favourite quotes:

Eating has become a social currency. To some people, their sense of self-worth and social standing is decided by whether or not they’ve been to the latest “it” restaurant and hobnobbed with the hottest chefs. Foodie is not a badge that you wear. Don’t let the superficial attraction rob you of the real joy of understanding food.

I’ve met a lot of journalists and bloggers who don’t know what they’re talking about.
You’ve got to know the difference between a crème brulée and crème Catalan, for example.

Restaurants get distracted along the way. They try to be everything: having beans from the same roasters, selling cupcakes and putting Monocle on the bookshelf, the same industrial-chic furniture. Singaporean [restaurateurs] try to do the fanciful things without studying the basics.

Amen, Mr. Lim.


Unknown said...

is he the bosses son?

yixiao said...

I don't think so.

Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow said...

I read the article, and I thought he is obnoxious and elitist. Many writers come from (lower-) middle class and don't have the privileges, money, and opportunities he has. And many bloggers are doing out of their passion for food. So before he condemns those people who are writing for passion or as a living, he should check in with his own sense of entitlement.

yixiao said...

Assuming you are referring to the second point on my post, knowledge is up for anyone to acquire, regardless of background and social status. If you are especially passionate about a topic or doing it plainly for a living, you have an even greater responsibility to get your facts right.

Kenneth Tiong said...

Thanks for sharing.

Agree with Raymond that most journalists/bloggers don't know what they're talking about, but I think the unspoken rule is that you have to leave Singapore and travel widely to acquire the knowledge and the palate. To take the crema catalana example, before Santi's arrival (and him bringing his sous chefs), I doubt it was being prepared on the island at all. You had to go to Spain to encounter it.

Rubbish eat rubbish grow said...

I totally agree with you that knowledge can be acquired, but experience can't. And Raymond is talking about experience that only money can buy and age can acquire. I remember my rich classmate instinctively knew about wines while I had to buy a book and read it.

many journalists and bloggers I met are very young. Some journalists are writing about food just because they get through the interview, not because they like food. Almost all bloggers have day jobs - where to find the time to study culinary arts?

What I'm saying is for Raymond, he has time and money to travel to Catalonia It's his entire life. For the rest of the journalists and bloggers, we simply don't have money or luxury like his. That's why I said he has a strong sense of entitlement.

muchadoabouteating said...

Do agree certain experience comes with money and age. Perhaps the example he gave seems elitist. Perhaps it was the first thing that came to his mind. Perhaps the interview content is skillfully edited. I don't know and I am not trying to defend him. However, basic knowledge is lacking in many food writers these days. Eg, salted fish in bak chor mee instead fried solefish, went for food tasting in halal eatery and claimed that they ate salted egg pork, went to a kinmen restaurant and thought she ate teochew porridge, think that kaffir lime leaves are mint etc etc.