Jason Perlow's Bites of Wisdom

Welcome to inChefs’ Food Blogging Series, our little hub of online information and insight from bloggers in the culinary world. Today Jason Perlow, founder of the eGullet food discussion community, a technology columnist and a Linux expert (who is considered one of the top 100 technology experts on Twitter), shares his journey into food blogging. Jason writes the Tech Broiler blog for ZDNet as well.

Food Blog Journey: Jason Perlow of Off The Broiler blog

Jason PerlowQ. What inspired you to be a food blogger?
A. I founded the eGullet.com food discussion community along with food writer Steven Shaw in August of 2001 and was its sole financial supporter, proprietor and technologist. In 2004 I gave up my financial interest in the company and it became the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts and Letters, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charity and I joined its Board of Directors.

In February 2006 I founded Off The Broiler to return to my roots as a food enthusiast and do what I truly loved, which is to talk and write about food, technology and other topics that genuinely interested me. In April of 2006 I left eGullet and its Board of Directors to concentrate on Off The Broiler full time.

Q. What is the name and URL of your blog?
A. Off The Broiler – http://www.offthebroiler.com

Q. Who is your culinary icon, and why?
A. Julia Child. She paved the way for all of us in food writing and also in food television.

Q. What is your favorite part of being a food blogger?
A. I like giving restaurants that are doing exceptional things exposure that would otherwise find difficulty doing so, and seeing them become more successful and gain mainstream media attention as a result.

Q. What, if any, was the biggest challenge to becoming a food blogger? How did you overcome it?
A. Consistent posting on a weekly or monthly schedule, and I haven’t overcome it and in fact it has gotten far more infrequent, giving way to microblogging (Twitter & Instagram). It’s become more and more as a hobby as time as gone on and life’s priorities often get in the way of being able write a quality blog post. My biggest problem is I have difficulty “phoning in” a blog post, I want it to have a good amount of content with a lot of pictures and solid commentary. I’m either going to spend hours working on a post or not do one at all.

Q. What one word would define your culinary style?
A. No-nonsense.

Q. What’s the most important change you have made on your blog in the last year?
A. Focusing more on microblogging services rather than traditional blog posts.

Q. If you had to choose one kitchen tool you could not live without, what would it be and why?
A. My 12″ Freidrich Dick chef’s knife. There are a lot of kitchen tools you can go without, but a good chef’s knife is essential.

Q. What’s the best food photography tip you’ve learned in the past year?
A. That an expensive SLR is no longer essential for producing good photos. Any current generation smartphone will produce perfectly fine photos for web purposes.

The conventional food photography rules still apply though. Keep subject in focus, use natural lighting if possible, if not possible make sure enough light is shining on the subject, and no flash. Take lots of pictures of the subject at different angles and at different distances.

Q. Which three cities would you like to travel to purely for culinary reasons?
A. Shanghai (China), Lima (Peru), Fes (Morocco). Ok if I add a fourth? Seoul (Korea).

Q. How do you spend your time when you are not in the kitchen?
A. I write for the technology industry. I read, a lot.

Q. How do you think food blogging will evolve in the years to come?
A. I believe that ultimately microblogging services and review sites like Yelp will replace food blogging, unfortunately.

Q. What one advice would you give to aspiring food bloggers?
A. Don’t be fooled in thinking that starting a food blog is going to turn into full time employment as a food writer. It probably won’t :)