Food safety consultant Judy Sebastian offers an insider look at the food and beverage industry at Food She Blogged. MediaSource spoke with Judy about her inspirations, career highlights, and how social media is helping connect the region’s blogging community.
What inspired you to start blogging?
It stemmed from the need to share the stories behind and within the food industry. Often when I’m with a group of friends explaining where their food came from and what goes into the dishes they eat, I’m told - or rather asked - ‘Why don’t you ever write about these things?’. One thing lead to another and Food She Blogged was born in the summer of 2014.
What makes your food blog different?
I wasn’t sure at first, but now I’m pretty sure that food safety is a niche subject – we all want to eat healthily, but are we all really eating safe? Who wouldn’t want to know the answers to those questions?
How has blogging impacted the region’s food culture?
The influence of a food blog would depend a lot on what the food blog really is about – does it talk about recipes? Does it talk about budget eats, or fine dining? A blog based on reviews from invitations alone is not a blog – it’s a personal trip advisor. The food blogging scene is still quite raw in the United Arab Emirates, but it’s continuously growing.
Are there any particular projects you are especially proud of?
So far being able to represent the United Arab Emirates at Host Milano, Expo Milano 2015 was the cherry on the cake – it truly was a humbling moment for me.
Does your blog have a particular editorial policy for reviews?
Accepting invitations would depend a lot on the product or service being offered. Being a food blogger, it’s difficult for me to write about handbags (I kid you not, I have been asked to even consider a ‘change’ in my theme for greater audience reach). My editorial policy can be found on the work with her tab on Food She Blogged.
How do you like to work with PRs and marketers?
I have come across some very good PR professionals who actually take the time to understand what Food She Blogged is all about and would only approach me if they knew it was something that fit the ethos of the blog. That’s a relationship that’s rare to find – far too many people out there feel it’s okay to not do their homework.
Tell us a bit about The Travel And Food Chat (#TTAFChat) you co-host on Twitter.
#TTAFChat was an experiment of mine which I had actually started for fun after realising that the bridge between travel and food enthusiasts in the Middle East wasn’t all that strong. It’s the first of its kind to originate from the region and wouldn’t be the success it is today if it weren’t for the combined efforts of UAE-based Jen Sahi and Canada-based Jay Eatz.
#TTAFChat has trended four times on Twitter already – this goes to show how the community of users are really connecting with each other via their social media platforms. Twitter users can join us live every Monday at 8pm UAE time using the tag #TTAFChat.