Food blogger crossed the line in demanding free food

Yahoo! news reported today that a food blogger in Singapore has angered fellow critics when he demanded to eat at an upscale restaurant for free.

The blogger, Brad Lau, runs a food blog called ladyironchef, which critiques restaurants throughout Singapore. His blog has reviewed over 500 eateries, and according to Lau, he never pays to eat where he reviews. All the more surprise for him when he went to Private Affairs, an upscale eatery, and was given his $435 bill after eating with friends.

Other food bloggers are understandably outraged that Lau would demand to eat for free anywhere he reviewed just because he is a food blogger. The perceived sense of entitlement in doing such a thing is disgusting. Not only did he expect to be given free champagne and meals for himself, he also brought three friends along, demanding they eat for free as well.

The reason this bothers me is that I, too am a food blogger. I started Another Food Critic in June to fulfill the same purpose as ladyironchef, except in southern Ohio. One of my professors suggested I do so to increase my critical analysis skills. It’s been a lot of fun.

I get criticism from people who think I have been to harsh on their favorite places, but I will never be criticized for asking for free food. I don’t tell the restaurant I am coming to review them, I don’t expect special favors from them and I never eat anything for free.

Anyone can create a food blog. Lau’s abysmal grammar shows you don’t even need to know how to write in order to do one. It doesn’t even make sense to tell the cook you’re reviewing the food; being a critic inherently means you are looking for the same treatment as anyone else because you want to inform people of the kind of things they themselves should expect there. Food review sites like Yelp actually discourage both critics and restaurants from contacting one another at all for that very reason.

The same principle applies to journalists in a more far-reaching way. A journalist should not expect special treatment, nor should they try to use their status to receive any. A press pass does not entitle a person to a red-carpet experience and anything they want for free. Especially when the best “publication” that person can offer is a poorly-written blog.

That includes the dinner bill, Mr. Lau.


10 thoughts on “Food blogger crossed the line in demanding free food

    1. Hey dude check out both sides of the story before blasting ppl man, go to the actual guy’s blog to see his response

    1. I posted this before Lau has posted any form of response on his own.

      Having seen his side of the argument, I don’t think an apology is necessary because the point of this post isn’t just to blast him. From my perspective, the problem isn’t his behavior at the restaurant, the problem is that he thinks it is acceptable not to expect to pay for food he reviews. As a journalist I view that as a serious compromise of integrity, and as he made no plan to stop doing so in the future I don’t think an apology is applicable. He said he “pays for his own food,” but if he expected a $450 meal to be on the house at this restaurant, he has eaten for free before and probably expects to do so again.

  1. Yes.. agree with you Tristan..

    How can he just explained it away as MIScommunication..

    It’s common sense…

    Common sense to check if the restaurant is still interested for him to go down for food tasting (NOT BRUNCH)..since the invite was in June and he contacted the restaurant in Aug.

    PR asked him specifically if he is bringing ONE guest… not how many guests he bringing. He can’t be more stupid that that right? In any case, he should have the common sense to know that not all will get to eat FREE.

    And if it’s food tasting, it’s common sense that champagne is not included cos it’s not wine tasting.

    And definitely common sense that since he is bring 2 more friends, then they should be paying.

    And common sense that there no such a thing as a FREE lunch in the business world. That’s is the reason why companies require their staff to declare gifts that they received from their customers.

  2. The party that ultimately benefit is still the restaurant, look at all the publicity they get. It’s a pretty good set-up from my point of view

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