Thursday, 4 February 2016

I Hate Food Bloggers - Chef Jimmy Chok

Food blogger bashing is in the news again in Singapore :-D

The latest blast from Singapore Celebrity Chef Jimmy Chok :-D


I am a fan of Chef Jimmy Chok. Always love to see him in action and he is great :-D I thoroughly enjoyed myself watching the master in action <- click.

The food blogging scene, or rather the whole blogging, influencer (I hate this word) or social media scene in Singapore is very complex.

To map out the food blogging scene in Singapore will take a lot of research - I am not going to do that here, I have many more good food places I want to write about first ;-D Maybe a university student can do that for a (challenging) research assignment.

Chef Jimmy Chok has touched on some aspects which are the urban legends of Singapore food blogging.

I agree with Chef Jimmy and just want to add a couple more perspectives to what Chef Jimmy has already so eloquently commented on.

There are many motivations for entering into blogging.

"They are all paid lah.... They are doing it for the money ......"

As Chef Jimmy mentioned, making money is one of them. Chef Jimmy is right there. There are even books and training programmes on how to make money from blogging in Singapore.


In addition to blogging for cash, there is also a segment in the food blogging community that does not do blogging for fees. I personally know of many food bloggers who are the same.

"Food bloggers ..... are very young people."

I am not twentysomething ;-p How I wish ;-p Though I like to believe that I may actually be young at heart :-D

And, there are a few foodies in Singapore social media circles whom I respectfully call Uncle.

But, it is true that most of us have nothing in our background comparable to a professional chef like Chef Jimmy. I always feel very humbled in the presence of our chefs, be it along a dusty street in Johor Bahru, in a Singapore hawker centre or in a fine dining restaurant in NYC. I unconsciously kept my head slightly bowed in respect when speaking with our hawkers.

And, I am never in the F & B industry and have never done serious home cooking before (though I aspire to start... one day... ;-p ). 

So, whatever I write must be taken with at least a bucket of sea salt.

I think most readers know that. After all, everyone knows that taste is a very subjective and personal thing.

"He brought four people to the restaurant, when it only invited one person ....."

Some restaurants are very strict about single invites as Chef Jimmy mentioned.

On the other hand, I can often sense the distress in some restaurants and PRs when I replied that I am coming alone - which is most often the case when I am blogging.

"Please bring your family and blogger friends along" I am often told.

It's for very practical reasons -  Who is going to finish the food? ;-p I can fully understand that and will try my best to help.

"Food bloggers are the most feared as a chef."

There are many kinds of food bloggers.

If I am a chef, there are some food bloggers I love :-D

Actually, some food bloggers are chefs' best friends :-D

->> I am a big fan of Chef Jimmy and respect his clarity and forthrightness :-D Just adding a couple of personal perspectives to the complex, multi faceted social media scene. 

Darned, some many words just to say that I hate to be tarred with the same black brush ;-p (LOL in case, hate seems to be the key word here - chill everyone ;-D )

Disclaimer: This is not a disguised Hokto Mushroom advertisement ;-p

Return to Johor Kaki homepage.


  1. I would concur with what the chef has said, in general of course. He speaks what's on his mind without the need to layer it with niceties, so I respect him for that. I do not doubt that there are bloggers who do it for the money. Definitely my friend Tony JK is not one of them. Indeed, other than food blogging, there are may bloggers out there who churn out stuff that are simply copied from elsewhere. But I do not begrudge them.... it's a free world and the boundaries of cyberspace are limitless.

  2. Thank you bro Oldstock, I agree with you. I am just adding other truths to the truths Chef Jimmy highlighted. Adding more details to the canvas. That's all.

  3. Seriously so what if no payment is accepted, but an invitation to attend a free tasting is taken.

    Does anyone think the restaurant is so stupid to be at its worst, on the day of invited tasting?

    All wayang only. 打广告。Its whether which blogger is smart enough to make money off it, or become free advertisement platform for restaurants by going to free invites.

    1. By not accepting cash for review the blogger retains the right to write as s/he wishes or not write about the tasting at all. If a paid review blogger does that too often, s/he may be out of business pretty quickly.

      Anyway, here is my own position lah -

  4. I know, my point is, food good, review written. Food sucks, i rarely see it being written. Only put in a diplomatic way (at most)

    So how can it be balanced? end up every review say until got dragon got phoenix.

    1. got lah, got a couple harsh ones (only on those already highly over hyped atas places). But, you are right that I rarely write such things. I am in this for pleasure and I find no pleasure at all in putting other people's business down.

      If got dragon and pheonix, it's because I really saw that. Anyway, almost all of my reviews are of mom and pop street hawkers. They got the highest regards from me.

    2. Oh and my position is always clearly stated, so the reader knows where I am coming from and what they are getting.

    3. And, no bad food is ever described as good food in my blog. I will never recommend you to go eat food which I feel is bad.

  5. I pay for my own food so I am not obligated to write only the nice things. Like means like, don't like means don't like. No pressure to sugarcoat my words.

    1. yeah, my friends know how much money is "wasted" on food which after eating, we decided not to blog about it.....

  6. Establishments who are threaten,seduce or offended by bloggers who squeeze their innards should exposed them publicly.
    Blogging may be a career, but squeezing innards is definitely hitting below the belt, by any definition.

  7. I surf a multiple of food blogging sites a day and obviously JohorKaki is one of them. I do that not because it is related to my work and neither do i run a food blog. Only reason is purely because i am a glutton.

    One of the observations includes restaurants, which organize food tasting sessions by inviting multiple bloggers. Such occasions doubles as publicity as well to introduce their new menu or chef. When it happens, article (by the various bloggers) on the makan session may not appear on the same day but they are likely to be thereabout the same time, usually within a week. For these sessions, you may end up seeing the same picture for same restaurant being used by different bloggers. Comments at times sounds like it paraphrasing each other too. While it may be hard work, readers are reading for your honest opinion. So when photo sharing or paraphrasing is spotted it is difficult not to lose respect for those so-called food reviews. Anyway, end of the day, it is the pride of one's OWN work as well.

    Agree with Tony that taste and experience is subjective. As readers, we can do is to be trying to identify a blogger, whose taste and preference is, more or less, aligned to that our own liking. Use that information whenever we are looking for a good meal. For the rest (of the blogs), it is just for updates on what is happening in the makan sphere in Singapore. As long as it is a honest post, there is no "good" or "bad" food blog reviewer.

    Lastly would like to end by saying that, a food blogger is not out to put an end the hawker/restaurant livelihood. We have to remember that the hawker/restaurant owner has a family to feed as well, just like you and I. If food is really bad, market forces will weed out them out because it is just so competitive out there.

    On this note, will conclude that i will continue to surf this website and shall certainly be keen to try the food recommended by Tony when opportunity arises.

    (using anonymous only because office firewall is preventing me from using personal identity)

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and your insightful comment from a reader's perspective. Appreciate much.

  8. Dear Tony,

    I am glad that you allow and publish fair comment on all the places you blogged about, unlike some bloggers, who shall remain nameless, who censor out all negative although honest criticism. I totally agree that taste and experience is subjective, and that people can have good days and bad days, and that includes both the restauranteurs and their patrons. Nonetheless, honest blogging and comments give a more complete picture of what happens in an establishment, enabling readers to make an informed choice when patronising an eatery.

    Keep up all the good hard work.

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your comment.


I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is the same as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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