Thursday, September 9, 2010

Under-fire food blogger: It’s a case of miscommunication

By yahoosingapore – August 24th, 2010 Email Facebook Twitter Print

The local food blogger under fire for demanding a free meal at an upscale restaurant in Joo Chiat says the entire saga has been a “case of miscommunication”.

On Monday, Yahoo! Singapore reported that the local food blogging community was upset that Brad Lau, who owns food blog ladyironchef, initially refused to pay the full cost of his meal and that of his three friends after a visit to Private Affairs for their Sunday Brunch promotion.

But in a post entitled, “The Truth“, written on Tuesday, Lau said, “An eye for an eye makes the world go blind. I would like to not point fingers at anyone – it was simply a case of miscommunication. When I dine out, I pay for my food like any regular consumer.”

Lau said the miscommunication could have resulted from the fact that he was simply following up on a food tasting invitation by the restaurant back in early June.

But because he had a busy schedule, he could only confirm last Friday on 20th August that he would attending their Sunday Brunch promotion, along with his partner and two other friends.

He wrote, “I was invited to a food tasting session by Melanie, PR manager for the restaurant. The first invite came June 2nd. I was unable to make it then and it was not until Friday, August 20th that I scheduled the Sunday brunch. In the invite, I was told to bring a guest.”

Although he did not clarify at the time if he and his partner would be expected to pay, he wrote, ”This was an invitation to a food-tasting session. There is no hard and fast rule stating a plus one for a food tasting. However, having attended previous food tastings before, I assumed that the meal would be, at the very least, on the house for myself and one dining partner.”

In his post that included several screencaps of mobile and email messages, he also went to write ”it was an oversight to assume that no acknowledgement from Melanie about my 3 accompanying guests would mean that their meals would be on the house too.”

While Lau denied saying, “I always get free food wherever I go”, he admitted he was hostile towards the cashier when he was settling the final bill of $160 for his group of four.

“I must admit the hostility while paying (I had tossed my credit card on the table) was uncalled for and I sincerely apologise,” he wrote.

Addressing the issue of his integrity as a food blogger, he clarified that when he “dine(s) out, I pay for my food like any regular consumer. When I am invited for food tasting sessions, it is a mutual understanding between the inviter and myself, that I would be attending as the identity of media for a possible food review.”

Lau concluded by asking all parties to “view this situation objectively. I hope this post clarifies any misunderstanding that this might have caused.”

The restaurant in question, Private Affairs, has also responded to the controversy by issuing a 10-paragraph press statement in which it clarified it had “no intentions to exploit this incident for the fame of any individual/s or property involved as suggested in some comments.”

It also said, “The candid remarks and unacceptable responses from the said blogger were certainly uncalled for. We were not impressed by his behaviour, action and mannerism”.

On the issue surrounding the grey area between food tasting sessions and blogger’s reviews, the statement said, “We have always extended media tasting invitation to avid food bloggers based on recommendations of reliable sources. We embrace food blogging and believe there is a certain extent of social integrity, moral and professionalism inculcated in every blogger.”

“However, we also want to highlight the food blogs about Private Affairs are based on individual blogger’s real experience and is not in any way altered or influenced by Private Affairs. The food bloggers were clear and transparent in stating that their gastronomy adventures were invited sessions.”

The statement goes on to say that the 40-seater restaurant continues to encourage and support the local food blogging community.

“We hope this incident does not discourage the food blogger community to pursue their passion in food blogging. We feel that there is a lot of integrity and clout in this community and… we will continue to support and promote the spirit behind the passion of food writing and sharing with food lovers.”

The statement ended by calling for a ”possible formation of a governing body or an association/society, which cultivates and promotes the appropriate manner of blogging and blogger’s etiquette. There should be some guidelines and policies implemented to avoid any similar incidents from occurring again”.

Thank you for the incredible, amazing response to Yahoo!’s Fit-To-Post blog so far. We continue to welcome your views and comments but please don’t abuse this opportunity. Be nice. Be courteous. Be sensible. Respect the feelings of others and refrain from using any kind of offensive language.

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