Imagine sitting in a group at an eatery, when the food comes and out come the cameras. That might seem like a common occurrence in this day and age of Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, but what is uncommon is this group then proceeds to really take their time to relish their tastes and flavours. This is typically what a periodical meet-up of the Food Bloggers' Association of Bangalore looks like.
Each such session is followed by a series of blog posts and photo albums of the food, the service, the ambience and the eatery as a whole. That's because at least 170 of the more than 6,400 people who are part of this Facebook group are active food bloggers in Bangalore, now Bengaluru.
Speaking at one such meet-up, professional chef Bibhuti Bhushan Panigrahi -- who also goes by the name Chef BB -- told International Business Times, India, that the idea for the group may have been planted in late 2014 in his, Naveen Suresh's and Nameesh Rajmane's minds, but germinated only in January 2015.
And it has not just included the aforementioned food bloggers but also food vendors, mixologists, restaurateurs, restaurant managers, executive chefs and a lot of other people associated with the Food and Beverages industry. That's also how the group is swelling to include the likes of those who blog only about beer or just about Tamil recipes.
Naveen -- who organises a lot of the meet-ups of the group -- explained to IBTimes India how food reveiwing and food blogging has changed since the early days of the group. "Initially, we had to call up restaurants to go do reviews. Now, they invite us," he said.
Now, these people post not just on their blogs but write reviews and critiques on Zomato as well. Several members of the group -- Rohini James, Naveen and Saba Noor -- are currently part of the Zomato leaderboard of reviewers in Bangalore.
The group has grown not just in numbers but in experience as well, said Debasish Mahapatra. "We get to interact with a lot of knowledgable people at meet-ups. That's how we get to learn more about cuisines like Thai or Mediterranean," he told IBTimes India.
So how do these people critique the food they eat? Different people have different parameters, but Pravin Menon has a simple one. He said: "I never go by the ambience of a place. For me, it is always about the food. Like this place called the Rangana Military Hotel, which I gave a full five out of five. Even the best of restaurants rarely get more than four, but the food at this military hotel was so great that I had to give it full marks!"
And there's a bigger reason why members of this group visit places together. "A bigger group means we can taste a bigger portion of the menu without filling up on the whole thing," explained Jyothi Varne, another member of the group.