What does Fancy Food Show have against food bloggers?

Dissident Chef at Work

Look! It’s Dissident Chef Russell Jackson in the New Zealand Beef booth.

I have been a fan of the Fancy Food Show ever since I was introduced to it by my client Harry and David in the early 1990s. It’s a strange bird: a trade show appealing half to buyers of high-end food service delicacies, half to owners of what my mother would call “tricky” gift boutiques in the snowbird capitals of Sedona and Fort Meyer. It’s where I had my first taste of Serrano ham, and where I ran into my childhood Great Books teacher’s wife selling home-style Jewish pastries. And I’ve reported on my visits in this blog, repeatedly.

The last couple of years I have had a press pass which confers modest benefits. I get access to a room where I can sit down and write, with good wireless, and I get the news feed from exhibitors who are provided the press list. I also get to take photos, something that’s not permitted of regular attendees. And I save the few dollars that I’d otherwise have to pay for the badge.

This time, however, my request was refused, even though I presented the same credentials including a number of recent articles. I had seen complaints of similar treatment from other food bloggers who are much more established than I am and was first put out, then curious. I looked over my posts from the last few shows and wondered if I had been irreverent. Too much Serrano ham! Wise guy comments about gluten free products! A random shout out to Russell Jackson, the Dissident Chef, who was working at a booth I happened on!

Could it be that the FFS only wants bloggers who will toe the line and regurgitate press releases, instead of those who are looking for curiosities and offbeat stories? If so, I plead guilty. And will continue to report accordingly, though I guess without the photos.

Food never goes out of style, for obvious reasons, but obsessively talking about food is a fairly new phenomenon. I can’t see people ceasing to nourish themselves, no matter how much I extol prepper bacon on these pages. FFS should embrace the bloggers, not fear them.

For now, see you in San Francisco in a couple of weeks. I’ll be the guy sitting on the floor near the DeLallio antipasto bar, trying to get a wifi signal.

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