A Pause for Thought, My 7Links.

Recently I was asked by fellow blogger Elizabeth on Food, if I’d be interested in taking part in a project called ‘My 7 Links’ from the website Tripbase.com. Quite a simple concept, of getting like minded bloggers together and linking their favourite posts. It can also put you in a reflective mood when you come to analyse what you you’ve posted over a period of time. With the ‘Chef Hermes Blog’ being a relative newbie at 18 months old compared to some of the other participants, it is quite an honour for me to be asked.

So the criteria, the ‘7 Links’ must consist of the following posts:

– Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

Unfortunately, a lot of my posts may actually fall into many of the above fields for different reasons. Some blog posts new & old have courted controversy, which in turn have created more page views, others have been controversial because of their very nature, sometimes dividing the readership.

So to it then;

  • Beautiful

The post I feel is the most beautiful is from a chef who doesn’t shout about his achievements despite holding a Michelin star for a number of years & having had his cook book published both in the US & Europe. Martijn Kajuiter is the chef at The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore in Ireland & he very kindly took part in the ‘5Questions’. I’ll make no bones about it, Martijn sent so many images it was hard to pick the right ones & hours were spent trying to make the slide show work. But all told, it looks really good & does justice to Martijn’s philosophies . Martijn Kajuiter’s 5Questions

  • Popularity

By definition the most popular post that appeared on the blog is actually one where it no longer exists. In Early August 2010 I received information that appeared to indicate that the Good Food Guide was out in the open a month early to publication. A very long story short, and in bid to appease Which’s legal team the post was removed after 2 ½ days of being live. Yet people still try to search for the missing pages & after also leaking the results of the Worlds 50 Best restaurant list in 2010 people now seem to think that I have some inside track or special privileges, which I don’t.

  • Controversy

Whilst some people have suggested to me that any leak is ‘poor form’ it’s unfortunate, but it’s what a large element of the readers want to see. Whether it’s because of the anticipation akin to Christmas day as a child, or for the bragging rights to work colleagues that they’ve seen it first. For controversy of another kind there is a straight talking northern chef, Johnnie Mountain.

In the series of posts called ‘5Questions’ I have been really fortunate to have lots of high profile chefs take part for which I’m immensely grateful. But while guide book recognition may do wonders for a restaurant booking diary, it isn’t a barometer for a post’s success. The most successful post after the nonexistent Good Food Guide post is Johnnie Mountain’s ‘5Questions’. Up until recently Johnnie was on Twitter and he was quite forthright in his views, which most of the time would probably require an 18 certificate. But his thoughts obviously struck a chord with chefs and rocketed his post to the top of the viewing stats. I’ll put this into context, he has 4 times as many views as his arch rival & Great British Menu nemesis Aiden Byrne.

  • Helpful

One of the main objectives when I set out on this journey was to provide information to younger chefs. Giving them the opportunities I never had and hopefully in some small way contributing to the grass roots level of the catering industry. Yes, you could argue that the ‘Seasonal Produce’ monthly posts are helpful in putting chefs back in touch with seasonality. But I wanted something more than that. After much thought a new set of ‘5Questions’ was born, this time for legends. If you are a chef of a certain age (say mid 30’s or older) many of these names were instantly recognisable, Paul Heathcote, Shaun Hill, Rowley Leigh and The Schwabs. But when the answers came back from one chef who was particularly hard to track down, I knew instantly it was going to be a great post.

Richard Neat’s ‘5Questions, The Legends’ post was lengthy, articulate and yet seemed to resonate with chefs far too young to even know what a talent he is.

  • Surprise

When I write the posts categorised as ‘Culinary Observations’, they are just that, my own thoughts on what I see happening around me either online or during the day to day involvement in the catering industry. Yet when I published ‘Food Bloggers, are they all tarred with the same Brush? ‘ you could have been mistakenly thought that I’d made some John Lennon-esk comment about Jesus Christ. Comments flooded in defending all sides of the argument, whether it was the professional journalist, prolific food blogger or chef with a media profile, they all felt the need to throw in their tuppence worth.

  • Disappointed

With writing a blog which has so many facets to it, it is hard to know which way to point it. Does the readership want more recipes? Food Porn? Interviews? Or restaurant reviews? So when I did the ‘British Onions’ post I was expecting it to be a touch more rewarding in terms of page views than it actually was. Maybe onions aren’t glamorous enough to warrant that kind of attention, despite my best efforts.

  • Pride

Whilst I’m proud of an awful lot on The Chef Hermes Blog, and I feel that my writing has progressed significantly, there is one post which has a special place, it’s the ‘Robert Thompson at The Hambrough’. This was my 2nd visit to this Isle of Wight restaurant in 18 months and if it was on the mainland I’d have been more often still. Even reading the post again evokes the kind of memories a great meal should. But what really brought it home to me and made me realise that I’d actually written something really worth reading, was when I found out that Mr Thompson had kindly put a link on his own website.

I’d like to thank Elizabeth on Food for asking me to take part in this project, but also various people that have lent support to this blog, either publicly or privately and to the one special person who means so much, that none of this would have come to fruition.

Additional note since publishing.

I have nominated the following food bloggers to take part in the ‘7Links’. Over the past 18months I have come to know them with the one common interest of food. They are all worth reading and I’m glad to be associated with them.

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