Why we started a food blog, and no, its not what you think.
Four years ago when we innocently and perhaps naively decided to start our blog, we never dreamt that it would still be going four years later or that it would have changed our lives in the way that it has. The reasons we came up with it are still a blur, all I know is I felt I needed an outlet for my passion for food and writing so why not the two of us do it together?
We were the kind of people who were too wary to try new restaurants for fear of them being a disappointment and wasting our hard-earned cash. We would eat out about once a month as a treat at the same old Thai place, or maybe a Pizza Express if there was a voucher code on offer. I got frustrated with this and whilst reading Marina O’Loughlin‘s column in Metro I discovered all the incredible places London has to offer such as Hawksmoor and Dishoom, which are still some of our all-time favourites.
We started off with some seriously embarrassingly bad posts about restaurants I visited years ago, when I lived in London and went out more than I did once I settled down with Ade. One thing I do remember clearly is that we had never looked at another food blog in our lives when we started out, nor did we know about the blogger scene and what it entailed.
The first time we were invited to a restaurant (thank you Shaun) we didn’t realise that it meant we didn’t have to pay for it. We don’t expect anyone to believe us, but it’s true. The blog wasn’t created to blag freebies, we didn’t know that that’s what happened. It wasn’t about free meals for us, we just really enjoyed writing (badly) and exploring new places. Had I known what would happen with it I certainly wouldn’t have let Ade name us We Love Food, It’s All We Eat.
Before long PRs started getting in contact and we’d unintentionally got ourselves on ‘the circuit’. The circuit that we didn’t even know existed, often feeling out of our depth but learning all the way. We love meeting great people, some of the most passionate we’ve ever come across. We were fascinated hearing Pleurat Shabani talk about vodka, Fred Smith talking about butchery, Wine Chap talking about wine (obviously) and most recently, Max Chater raving about gin at Bump Caves. There have been other great characters along the way too, like the Aqua group’s Hugh Wright, Bob Bob‘s Leonid Shutov, chefs such as the suave Tom Oldroyd, the generous and kind Ben Mulock plus of course fellow bloggers too.
Now We Love Food takes up every single second of our spare time, but we love it. Ade and I met whilst working in the same department for the same magazine and swore we’d never work together again, oops. We’re still staggered at the places we’ve had the chance to visit and hotels we’ve slept in. Every time we leave a restaurant without paying a bill (we do always tip though) we still find it a little mad and half expect to get chased by the owner or a chef brandishing a knife like in Ratatouille.
It’s crazy that one of the main stresses with the blog is trying to keep up with all the invites. If we went to everything we’d not only be fat and horrendously ill, but we’d have no time to write it all up. The writing part for us probably takes about three times as long as the time we spent eating the food.
Perhaps it’s because we both have magazine backgrounds that our attention to detail and quality makes us slower, constantly editing and arguing about each other’s work. ‘You don’t need a comma there!’ Ade exclaims with almost everything I write. So I take it out and then put it back in once his back is turned. I chop out paragraphs of his writing which if he did to mine I would go mad. I guess that makes me the boss, getting my own back for the four years I worked under him (so to speak).
We’ve always believed in being honest, even if that has resulted in a PR company or two never getting in touch again. What’s the point in lying or even conveniently omitting any negative issues from our reviews? The whole idea of our blog is to paint a picture of what a restaurant or hotel is like for a ‘normal’ couple like us to go to. Is there a strict dress code? Can we afford it? How much is the cheapest wine? All questions that ‘real’ people consider before spending, what could be a sizable chunk of their salary.
When we eat anywhere we stick to what we would order if we were paying – apart from when we have ordered Wagyu a couple of times, but that was in the blog’s best interests… We want the Pizza Express and Jamie’s Italian regulars to read We Love Food and be inspired to try something new. There’s nothing better for us than getting a message or a tweet from a reader who’s visited somewhere from the blog and enjoyed it. After all, life’s too short to not be adventurous, especially for those who live in London where the choice and standard is exceptional.
So as we approach our fourth birthday we’d like to say a big thank you. Firstly, of course, to our readers and secondly to the PRs for whom we’ve grown great relationships with, sorry we didn’t always answer your emails quickly enough as we have day jobs too.
We’d also like to thank the restaurateurs who inspire us, especially you, Russell Norman. Chris Todd of The Diner group who we sadly don’t get to see much these days as we’re often too busy to revisit places we love. Shamil and the rest of the Dishoom family – the same sentence applies to you. Paul Winch-Furness for our avatar and to Shaun from The Table for tweeting us that first invite.
Please keep reading, we hope one day we can invest more time in WLF.
Saff & Ade x