I’ve just been on a mini promotional tour for this blog, in much the same way as an author promotes a new book. It’s given a shot in the arm to the viewing figures but it has happened by accident.
First off was a call from Lesley Draper, food writer for the Sheffield Telegraph and a long-time friendly rival of mine. We are both ‘old school’ journalists, relish writing about food and, in my time at the Sheffield Star, each waged a weekly battle to scoop the other. I am sure it caused colleagues some amusement and others in the hospitality industry some bemusement. After all, we were working for the same company, albeit on different newspapers. But every journalist is born with the desire to publish first. It is how we were brought up in the heyday of local journalism.
It wasn’t so hard when we worked in different buildings – the Telegraph used to be across York Street from The Star – but as cost cutting took effect we finished up in the same building then at adjacent desks. I would make my important calls when Lesley wasn’t there and I’m sure she did the same. I would swear contacts to secrecy, which didn’t always work.
We may have been deadly rivals but are the best of friends, respecting each other’s professionalism. We still lunch together and swap gossip. Lesley generously did a piece on the blog for her food pages this week. If you missed it first time round or were so impressed that you want to read it again, I have attached it at the end of this post.
Purely by chance, I was due at BBC Radio Sheffield for the Rony Robinson programme the following day. I am one of ‘Rony’s Friends,’ people on a rota who can all string a few a few words together, tell a story and promise not to swear (although I did once, if mildly).
It was the chance to plug the blog and bring him the bottle of homemade brown sauce he had asked for on my last visit. I stuck a label on with this blog’s website address so he won’t forget it for his next few Sunday breakfasts. Rony is the consummate professional. You can run an anecdote past him during a musical break, he will chuckle, then you retell it on air and he will chuckle even louder. It remains to be seen how many visitors to the blog the BBC spot will bring.
Now here’s Lesley’s piece.
Most people seize on retirement as a chance to sit back and put their feet up, or take up a new hobby, but not Martin Dawes…
A leading Sheffield food writer, and colleague at Sheffield Newspapers for more than 20 years, he is using his new found leisure time to do what he likes best: write about food.
Martin celebrated the new year by launching a new blog – Another Helping – and has already treated followers to four servings of his own distinctive take on food.
“I realised when I gave up reviewing – and I felt that 26 years was enough for anyone – what I missed even more than the meals was the fun of writing about them,” he says. “And with food and drink as a theme, I could write about virtually anything.”
Son of a chef and publican, Martin grew up in Norfolk but has spent most of his adult life in Sheffield, much of it writing about food for The Star.
Over the years he reviewed hundreds of city restaurants and consumed some 1,400 meals in the line of duty; he is also a keen cook.
Notoriously computer illiterate at work, Martin called on stepson David Arch to help him set up the blog. It now gives him a chance to share his tips and recipes – including the secrets of his home-made brown sauce and thoughts on the daily doorstep pinta.
“I’ve always felt passionate about food, so all the pieces so far have been about things I’m interested in – and I’ll still be doing the odd review,” he promises.
The blog has already been read by up to 40 people per day, including some from as far away as the USA.