Q. How many people write for NC Triangle Dining?
Just one very hungry guy with a virtual tapeworm in his stomach! But I am looking for additional contributors to the blog, especially if you live in the Chapel Hill area…
Q. Do you get paid for any reviews on this blog?
No, I don’t receive any monetary compensation for reviews, although occasionally I will get comp’ed a meal. For the gory details and truth, please check out my blog policies page. I try to focus on the most objective reviews possible because I know that accepting compensation and too many comped opportunities would certainly sway my opinions. I probably turn down over 90% of my comped offers since they often don’t align with the goals I have for the blog.
Q. Do you work in the restaurant or food industry in the Triangle?
All my relationships to the food biz here is personal or based on the blog. I don’t run a PR company, don’t do paid social media or marketing for restaurants, nor do I look for free meals on a regular basis. I work as an enterprise B2B marketing person and it’s a great job! The blog, the passion for food is what I purposefully do to give back to the Triangle community. While people may move to the Triangle for a job, what keeps them here are the people, weather and all the great things you can do here (including eating 😉 ) There are certainly many people who run blogs or social media who are making money from it and are connected to the restaurants, I am not one of them.
Q. How do you choose your restaurants?
Not much differently than anyone else! Through online reviews, friend recommendations and also what I read on social media. Probably the only difference is that I’ll make some effort to get to the newer hot-spots in the Triangle. I’m primarily focused in the downtown areas of the Triangle and do my best to avoid dud restaurants and chains…
Q. Are your pictures professionally staged?
For the majority of my pictures, no. I try to squeeze in my pictures during my meals with a minimum of fuss and muss. During the media reviews, the food is staged a bit but rarely professionally staged with lighting, etc. Since I’m not staging my photos, I’m trying to keep it as real as possible so the pictures reflect what you might get during your visit. Outside of some edits on my smartphone, I post my pictures on the fly.
Q. What equipment do you use for your food photos?
Ahh, I keep it simple. Usually I’ve got my iPhone 11 for a good portion of my pictures and then I’ll use my Lumix G85 for situations where I have more time and/or lower lighting which I’m prepared for. I understand that I could get better pictures with a full SLR but don’t think it’s reasonable to use one during a standard meal service and to try and keep things discrete since I’m often eating out with friends. And as much as they tolerate my picture taking, I try to get in and out with my pics, quick as a bunny!
Q. Why do you do this food blog?
Gosh, great question. All the food reviewing started for me doing online reviews for Yelp and after doing quite a few and having people thank me for them, I decided to do the blog separately but still do reviews on Yelp. My goal is to support the restaurants that I believe are doing a great job, regardless of what cuisine they are offering! I think it’s so important to explore the food scene in your neighborhood.
Q. Do you ever do any really critical reviews?
Ahh, I try to avoid really negative, slams. I do hit occasional duds in my dining trail but don’t believe in kicking someone when they’re down. The restaurant business is tough enough without needing anonymous and unfair criticism. I’d expect Darwin and the market to take care of any poorly performing restaurants in its natural course. Please see my post on negative reviews for my thoughts and rationale here. Also the restaurant business is a small one so you constantly run into people you know. Any criticism published needs to be carefully dispensed as constructive criticism!
Q. What’s the typical price range of the restaurants you review here?
I focus on mid-range restaurants with some excursions into higher end spots. Usually if I spend more then $60 for a meal, it’s for a special dinner event. Which means often I’m skipping out on those $$$$ restaurants since this blog is about getting food value for your money. But occasionally I’ll hit up those spots just to see what all the buzz is about.
Q. How often do you go out to eat?
Gosh, that’s a great question! I’m not sure if I want to know but based upon my credit card statements, it’s too much!