Friday, October 29, 2010

Chefs & PR

I got this from Ellen Malloy, a former restaurant publicist, who has created a new internet-based PR platform for chefs, mixologists and sommeliers. It may interest some readers of this blog.

Restaurant Intelligence Agency (RIA) is pleased to announce the launch of Soapbox: A Digital Magazine Written by Chefs. (

Soapbox showcases national chef-driven restaurant professionals: their inspirations, philosophies, backgrounds and opinions, along with of-the-moment industry trends and insider information unavailable elsewhere. This storehouse of industry information is driven by what the
media needs to know, what the public wants to know, and what chefs, mixologists, sommeliers, owners and other industry professionals want to say — in their own words — unedited, immediate, personal and compelling. No processing, no handling.

Soapbox is “fed” by RIA’s proprietary software, Spoonfeed, a social network for the chef-driven restaurant industry. Along with interacting with one another, keeping up with news and accessing Spoonfeed's extensive restaurant marketing manual, members use Spoonfeed to manage their online presence, create a successful online brand, and communicate it to the audiences that matter: media, diners, home cooks, influencers like concierges, and peers.

Spoonfeed is a free service for chef-driven industry professionals. The software prompts members to fill out Personal Profiles, Questions of the Day and Trend Questions. Members answer detailed queries about the facts of their lives and careers, along with upwards of 10,000 targeted “Behind the Line” questions designed to draw out their likes and dislikes, advice and opinions on all things culinary — and most of all, their personalities. While Questions of the Day and Trend Questions for all members are viewable on Soapbox for free, in-depth personal profiles are viewable on Soapbox for the fee of $50/month. Restaurant profiles,
coming shortly, will be viewable on Soapbox for a monthly fee of $250.

Also included are questions about home cooking (and home bartending and sommeliering); travel guides with members’ input about significant culinary destinations; and offbeat questions we think you'll love (e.g., we asked, “The world is filled with different traditions and tastes.
Ever been shocked/awed by an eye-opening culinary tradition while traveling?” and Joncarl Lachman of HB Home Bistro and Vincent answered, “I saw a fish, on ice, that had been completely cut in half and still had its heart beating at a market in Hong Kong....I also saw a dogs head grilling on an open BBQ in Beijing...”)

Soapbox provides journalists (and diners) with an extensive keyword system for instant aggregation of member features, from cuisine style to culinary expertise, so visitors can easily discover who are the whole-animal specialists to local spirits aficionados. Members can also be searched by title, region or metropolitan area. Daily-changing trend highlights and features spotlighting individual members, questions of the day and member specialties keep the content à la minute. And of course, every time you visit, more chefs, sommeliers, mixologists and owners have answered more questions.

Coming soon, Mediafeed will be available at no charge for all members of Spoonfeed. Mediafeed will achieve RIA's goal of directly connecting the chefs, mixologists and sommeliers that matter to the media free of charge — without the gatekeeper and without the cost of traditional PR. "The era of the expensive gatekeeper controlling access to media is over. It isn't good for the media because it hinders their access to a large number of chefs who can't pay the high price of an agency, and it isn't good for the industry because it concentrates the media focus on the precious few chefs who can pay the steep monthly fees of traditional PR," says RIA CEO (and former restaurant publicist) Ellen Malloy.

Read more: Chefs Get on the Soapbox -- Grub Street Chicago

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