Food writing in the digital age: David Kiernan, Kitchen 72
Part two of a three-part series of interviews on inspiration, trends and recommended reading that I did with Irish food writers and bloggers for last weekend’s Irish Examiner feature.
David Kiernan of Kitchen72.com and a former Daily Mail food columnist, has his own distinctive take on blogging. He painstakingly recreates dishes from restaurants in New York and London in his small Dublin kitchen, looking abroad for inspiration and cherry picking “ideas, ingredients and techniques.”
I especially loved his version of Daniel Humm’s luxuriously OTT roast chicken: the stylishly photographed bird, complete with bouquet of herbs, is a ringer for the just-written-about original in the New York Times. With food trends changing so rapidly, it’s the lack of a filter and the immediacy of blogs that appeals to David – it’s easy to get information on the food you want to cook, even if it happens to be a new dish at a must-try restaurant in NYC.
When we did this online interview, he was in New York, eating his way through the city and giving a mouth-watering meal-by-meal pictorial account on Instagram. It was not the sort of thing that you want to look if you were hungry and I’m looking forward to seeing what influences he brings back from that trip.
His pictures are gorgeous, recipes well worth checking out and eye for a trend inspiring. You can also find him on Twitter at @Kitchen72.
I really enjoy looking at what restaurants are doing and trying to recreate them at home. So for inspiration I tend to look abroad to see what places in New York or London are serving. I will cherry pick ideas, ingredients and techniques from a wide variety and then try to figure out how I can do something similar in my small Dublin kitchen. Not having the recipes means that I have to improvise and guess the processes involved in order to achieve how I imagine the dish to be.
I mainly look for interesting vegetable/salad preparations as I think it’s a real skill to bring out the best in vegetables and really make their flavours sing. I also follow a number of chefs on Twitter who will tweet photos of their new dishes as these will give me lots of inspiration on plating techniques and recipe ideas.
Twitter is really invaluable for keeping an eye on what’s hot or not. I tend to follow journalists and the larger national newspapers in Ireland and abroad as I figure that generally their ears and filters are finely attuned to what’s going on. Though they may lag behind in writing articles in print on new breaking trends – their online feeds and comments are usually more on trend.
I also love magazines like Lucky Peach, Donna Hay, Bon Appetit and Jamie as they are great sponges at soaking up all the good stuff and sharing what’s happening out there.
Blogs: positive or negative?
Influence of blogs is hugely positive as a store of knowledge and information – in a transitory world it is incredibly useful to be able to simply Google for info on food and recipes. I use restaurant reviews as jumping off points to search about dishes, chefs and ingredients and usually fall down many rabbit holes.
For example if I read about a new chef – I will Google his restaurant and look at the menu, Google reviews (professionally and bloggers) read about the dishes, Google the ingredients and the techniques and try to piece the recipe together. Without blogs I would be fully reliant on reading about recipes in books, years after they had been created and only from chefs that had become marketable to PR and publishing houses.
Nowadays I can read about small artisan producers and chefs creating amazing dishes in tiny restaurants half a world away – and know that a blogger somewhere will have documented their experience in that restaurant, and another blogger may have published a recipe that is similar, and so on.
To be honest I find it difficult to stay faithful to any one website or blog as I am always Googling around from place to place.
Weekly I read:
NYTimes Diners Journal
Guardian Food & Drink Page
Financial Times food page.
Irish wise – I read all the usual suspects: yourself, Darina Allen, Trish Deseine, Imen McDonald, EatLikeAGirl, Donal Skehan,Edible Ireland, ICanHasCook – but I tend to go months without reading then binge on them all on a Sunday evening.
The only email subscription I use is for Canal House Cooks who email daily a picture of their simple, seasonal lunches – always inspiring stuff…
Apps: Instagram and Twitter – no other cooking or foodie apps.
Previous interviewee: John McKenna, The McKennas’ Guides
Next up: Aoife McElwain, I Can Has Cook
Food writing in the digital age: Irish Examiner feature