We put self-professed geek Catherine Ling of food blog Camemberu on the morning breakfast run at Seasonal Tastes. Find out her thoughts on the new blog-eration and how much blogging is worth
Who: Catherine Ling (www.camemberu.com)
Blogging for: Over seven years. ’Camemberu’ is inspired from the Japanese pronunciation of camembert from a cheeky NSFW (not safe for work) anime. “I’m gonna regret telling!”
Say cheese? Canon 400D. “Got it a year after I started my blog. It was obsolete by the time I bought it.”
More cheese: “It’s quite fascinating that the Japanese started liking cheese, especially the stinky variety, as it’s so foreign to them, like durian for the ang mos. Camembert’s one of my faves, especially the soft, milky and pungent kind (like blue cheese).”
Her “guy” side: “I like red meat, and can read a map really well. I’ve never gotten lost on holiday, and usually end up being the navigator. I’m also a geek; I used to tinker with my PC.”
On Japan: “I’ve been there about 10 times–Okinawa, Kyushu Island, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo–it feels like home. I actually took JLPT4 in the late 90s, but I didn’t collect my cert.”
Blogging pet peeves: “Blogging is not easy. To do it well and consistently is a lot of hard work. There’s also a slight stigma which comes with the term ’blogger’. Then there are the talent management agencies who try to ’brainwash’ us and say we can charge for this and that. Ultimately, it comes down to value. Like how a Persian carpet can go for $50k. Is it worth it? Who is going to pay? If you lose credibility, there goes your blog. Readers here are generally quite discerning.”
On the new blog-eration: “The best thing about the internet is the freedom of expression. But what you put up reflects on yourself. Several years down the road, future employers will look at your social media identity. It’s great for people who want to write, take photos and be creative.” Quote of the morning: “People who love food are nice people.”
On her daughters: “One’s 6+, the other’s 8. One’s like a vacuum cleaner, the other’s quite picky. My younger one was twice the weight of my firstborn at birth, and now she’s into plating food. I’ll let them develop their own interests but I do bring them along for some tastings. OMG they love buffets and sushi; I’m training them to like spicy food.”
Ultimate comfort food: “Hawker food like oyster omelette, char kuay teow; but if I can’t get anything else, the simplest is good bread and butter. I like rustic bread with grains.”
Don’t offer her: “I’m not into runny eggs, ate too much when I was young. No liver for me too, but ang mo liver like foie gras is okay. Not a big fan of Chinese veg too.”
Best moment of 2014: “In April, I was in London for the inaugural Global Chowzter Awards. I met bloggers from around the world, and the best part was looking for food with like-minded people from the Philippines, Indonesia and New York.”
The buffet: Breakfast buffet at Seasonal Tastes at The Westin Singapore ($45++ per person, daily 6.30-10.30am)
Time of visit: 8 September, 9am
Strategy: “Go round to survey the buffet first. The layout makes it very easy to do so here. Then pick a little of everything, followed by bigger helpings of what I like. I don’t have a separate stomach for desserts, so I can skip that.” For plating and photography purposes, she started with Western, followed by Asian and then fruits to end.
On the breakfast spread: “They have a bit of everything, but the variety is a tad limited compared to other hotels of their calibre. It’s improved since they first opened in November 2013.”
Didn’t eat: Cereal. “Usually it comes from a box. I tried some homemade granola though.”
Took photos of: Her plate and the pass-arounds (chefs make their rounds with breakfast canapés, granola mixes and smoothie shots for guests to try).
Second helpings of: Mutton curry. “It’s very robust, hearty and daringly spicy.” (Some chefs at the restaurant are Malaysian.) “The mango and yogurt smoothie is pretty good too.
Most memorable: “The really great view from the 32nd storey. The food is also not in huge chafers; the small portions in the food warmers are replenished regularly–good for freshness.”
How many BiTES? “
Value for money: 3/5