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Food Blogging and I : Becoming ‘Presented by P’

Love Blogging? Want to know the inside stories of ace bloggers? Here comes Poorna Banerjee of ‘Presented by P‘ to share her tips and tricks on food blogging.
Images from ‘Presented by P’ and a recipe (click on the pic)
The moment I let people know that I work as a food writer, blogger, and a restaurant critic, and yes, I get paid to eat, the standard response is “My God, you get to eat for free! You’re so lucky!” But, unlike what most people think, being a food blogger and a restaurant critic is not really just about “eat, cook, repeat”, which is what my tag says on the blog. Once you start taking food blogging seriously, you really cannot afford to taste something without judging it. That somehow takes everything away from the pleasure of eating for me at times, and I end up going to a few, very common places, with no surprise on the food section, because at the end of the day, I want to eat something but not think what I am eating.
Such is my life.

I began blogging about me way back in 2005, but food blogging started because I could not cope up with the number of mails I had to write to friends who needed kitchen and cooking advice, as well as restaurant suggestions. At that point, I was working to help run Urban Zing, a portal which was quite similar to Zomato or Yelp. During this period, I learned about restaurant analysis, as well as rating. Going to a restaurant is an experience, and I did audits for a couple of groups, checking out the standards of their food and service from time to time. I blogged about some of my experience in the kitchen as well as in the restaurants, because I felt that there were not enough people who were writing about my city and its food.
I believe every food blogger should be very enthusiastic about the subject of food, and be open to learning. The concept of discovering new places to eat, new things to make should not terrify them. They should also come out of their comfort zone and do something different, which they are not supposed to do. Also, food is a very subjective matter, so one size fits all is not applicable here. People should respect others’ food choices, and sometimes should try to taste them too. Also, as a food blogger, it is important to know the classic and latest trends in food. Finally, food bloggers should try to broaden their palates, because that is the best way to invite creativity.
Being an avid cook, I was also interested in talking about the recipes I had created or adapted. But soon I realized that without nice photographs, many people deem the experience incomplete. Although I am not too fond of it, I still take photos of what I eat, and put them up with my food, all the while feeling sorry for my poor readers who must suffer through them.
Although I started off as an amateur, I soon realized that monetizing my blog not just generated cash, it also motivated me to write better. Apart from Google Ads, I also have a few paid ad campaigns on my blog, and I sometimes accept paid promotional content. However, I have a strict policy of adding a disclaimer to each and every promotional post on my blog which clearly states it, so that my readers are under no illusion. In any case, PR content is pretty easy to identify.
I am a full-time blogger and restaurant reviewer, and I eat out at least 6-7 times every week, sometime seven days a week, more than one meal a day. I get invites from top groups like Taj, ITC, The Park Hotels, and I have flown to other cities to attend specific events, like a Four Seasons Vineyards Tour which was hosted by the Four Seasons Wine group at Baramati, a few hours from Pune. I do love wines, and I am a member of a couple of wine-lover groups around my city. I believe blogging is a never ending process of learning, so I keep on reading blogs from different parts of the world, in order to keep myself more updated about latest food trends, new wines which might interest me, and news related to ingredients and food-related issues.
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Poorna Banerjee is a food blogger from Kolkata. She writes mostly about cooking, recipes and restaurant reviews, working as a Restaurant Consultant and Food Critic. Poorna is a beauty, skincare and gaming addict, and also reviews such products on her blog – Presented by P.
In case you’re interested in baking cookies, she’s written a whole book on it – The Cookie Book.
(Image Courtesy: Poorna)

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