Eating Exeter: The end of year review

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What a year.  It has been crappy on most levels, but this year has been great for dining in Exeter with the opening of the Queen Street Dining quarter, Exeter is becoming a firm dining destination in Devon.

Last year I tried to do a review of the year, I then realised that I had written too much and done so many fun and exciting things that trying to review it was actually a bit of a mammoth task.  So I summed up 2015 with my top three moments and this year I shall do it again, but this time with Lauren’s help.

2016 has seen a decrease in views to the blog (2015 = 72,000 and 2016 = 67,000) despite publishing more posts than last year.  This could be for a number of reasons including algorithum changes from Google? SEO not being as SEO’d as it could be? Who knows.  There are more food bloggers, more news outlets for foodies to choose from, so it is encouraging to see that although we had a decrease in numbers, it hasn’t been drastic.

In February I did a call out for guest writers.  Lauren Heath answered the call, and has been producing a steady stream of posts for blog, and keeping on-top of the EE inbox/Social Media too whilst I’ve been slightly quiet  with personal stuff towards the end of this year.  A massive thank  you to Lauren for keeping things going!

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Given the magazine-style of the blog, I made Lauren Assistant Editor and decided I would be ‘Editor’.  This sounds professional and looks good on business cards. Ah yes, 2016 was the year that I created business cards for Eating Exeter. They are awful and I’ll be making some new ones.

I digress. Lauren and myself have chosen three food moments each for 2016.

So here are my three moments:-

1. Food Reader Magazine Awards – In January I was privileged to attend the awards ceremony for Food Magazine’s Reader Awards having reached the finals completely unexpectedly.  This is one of the only big pieces of recognition that the blog has received formally, so it was an honour to attend the ceremony even though I didn’t get to the top-spot.

2. The Salutation Inn – We were lucky enough to be invited to one of Exeter’s finest dining destinations.  A beautiful tasting menu created by Chef Tom Williams followed, showing off his technical and creative skills, we really got a flavour for this restaurant and what it stands for.

I was thrilled to see that they received Best Bed & Breakfast of the year months back, and I hope that the awards keep coming as it is very well deserved given the hard work Tom and Amelia have put in to make The Salutation Inn what it is.

 

3. The Rusty Pig/The Samosa Lady – Ottery St Mary is a burgeoning force in the foodie universe.  Home to The Rusty Pig, ran by Robin Rea and The Samosa Lady which is run by Tina Chauhan, we had two really enjoyable meals at these different venues.  They are just up the street from each other, but their food are world’s apart!

Lauren here; what an incredible year it has been for me – full of food and opportunity. What I like most about all this, is not only the food, but the people I have met along the way; I love networking and making new contacts.

It’s very hard to choose a top 3 highlights but here goes:

1. My First Blog Post – Having my first review published, which was the Pig and Pallet, Topsham, was just amazing. Having never met Chris, but having seen his tweet, I thought ‘yes lets give this a go’. I’m the confident sort anyway, but I surprised myself in the fact that I could write something so easily and the buzz it gave me. The P&P are still a very firm favourite for casual dining and I have been back there many times this year.

2. Writing for Crumbs Magazine, Devon – thanks to this lovely platform of exposure as well as an alignment of chance events, I had the opportunity to write a food review for Crumbs. This was followed by 3 more and that has been an honour and a delight to ee my name in printed matter.  I hope to do more of this in 2017 if the opportunities come my way.

3. Absurd Bird Bloggers Event – This event was the best I have been to, in both my business and food circles; so informative, passionate, tasty, interactive and fun – well done to both Attention Media and Absurd Bird.  My comfort food is crispy chicken and this event was a delight as well as having the opportunity to attend 2 soft launches and munch my way through their chicken menu and discover bacon jam!

There are many more I’d like to mention and thank everyone for having us in some way or another. I’d like to add that, with all the excitement that Queen Street Dining Quarter and some well known and new chains have brought, let’s not forget the independents in this city. Having met some restaurant owners, local producers and other foodie heroes, you wouldn’t believe the passion and hard work that they put into everything they do, so that you, the consumer, can enjoy what they have to share. Buy as local as you can, it can be more affordable than you think.

I know we will help discover and expose more of these individuals as much as we can. With 3 foodie engagements already in the diary for January 2017, I can’t wait to see where my culinary journey will take me. Bon apetit!

 

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