Everyone’s a foodie.

11月14日

You’ve seen it online, on TV or right in front of you at a neighborhood restaurant.  Food.  We tend to be surrounded by it. We enjoy it’s smell and it’s presentation  Heck it gets more attention than the featured summer blockbuster movie.  Thanks to social media, like an A-list actor/actress being hounded by paparazzi, people whip out a cellphone camera the minute they’re in front of some food and start snapping away ready to post to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc.

It’s amazing to see how much attention food gets today. You even have chefs gaining more traction and attention than Hollywood movie stars. Food creates a culture, gains it’s own following and can be argued as the foundation of many established networks such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, Foodspotting…..the like.  You’ve heard of the saying the international language is love?  For the geeks they’re probably saying it’s mathematics but how can you not say that food is a language we all speak?

With that said and before I start rambling…doesn’t it seem like today that everyone is a “foodie?” You know those hipsters you see around town posting reviews on Yelp, taking photos for their social networks and rambling on their blog about this place or that….get this dish over that….right??  With the explosion of foodies it’s no surprise that food awards soon follow to recognize the establishments that provide the “best” food.  So here in Hawaii we’ve got things like the Hale Aina Awards (established by Honolulu Magazine) and the Ilima Awards (Star-Advertiser).  For the Hale’s, votes primarily made up of Honolulu Magazine readers (online/hardcopy) select the best restaurants based on categories such as best overall restaurant, best Italians restaurant, best romantic restaurant, etc. The Ilima awards have a larger base using the Star-Advertiser readers to vote on the “People” Choice awards and a select panel of judges to create the “Critics” Choice awards.

What I find interesting is that if you compare categories in the two awards as well as the top restaurants on Yelp….the results will surprise you.  They don’t really match.  So if Roy’s was voted best restaurant in the Hale’s you would think it’s also the top restaurant in the Ilima’s or on Yelp right?  Or at least near the top? Wrong.

Yelp’s top restaurant as of 11/14/2012 is Gaku. Not Roy’s or Le Mer like you see in the Hale’s or Ilima’s.

What this tells me is that everyone depending who you ask, has their own tastes.  The results reflect the difference in tastes between the voter demographic make up of the Hale Aina Awards versus the People’s Choice awards in the Ilima’s.  Those on Yelp tend to be more vocal about who their favorite is and why.  You’ll notice that Gaku is the #1 restaurant on Yelp…..they weren’t even a finalist in the Hale’s or the Ilima’s as best restaurant let alone best Japanese restaurant!?

So who do you believe?  Me personally, I tend to put more faith in Yelp.  These are the group of foodies that tell you what they like and don’t like about a particular restaurant.  The awards to me are based more on popularity and how strong the brand of a restaurant is.  If you’ve noticed over the years, a lot of times some of the same restaurants win.  I fear that they win based on what people perceive rather than the overall quality of the food.  Opinions very when it comes to food but hey….that’s why everyone’s a foodie.

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