Second in the series of ‘Get to know your local food blogger’ is Angie, aka Sticky Beak. It was a pleasure to chat with Angie, thank you for your time! To find out more about Angie, and to read her reviews (which are always a good read with a cuppa), hop onto her website here. You’re welcome.

Tell us a little about yourself Angie.

My name is Angie, I’m married, and a mum of one. I live near Alfreton.

How did you get into food blogging?

Quite by accident actually! It started as a food feature on my husband’s website and grew from there.

What is your favourite dish?

Bizarrely, although I absolutely love anything fish or seafood related, my favourite dish would just be a simple steak. I love any type of food, although I would say I’m slightly more of a savoury than sweet girl. I have eaten some weird things in my time too, termites on honeymoon in Mauritius being the most memorable, although a scorpion lolly was also another good memory.

Do you cook? Do you enjoy it?

I do cook; I do a mean meatballs and sauce, according to my family. I’m not a particularly skilled cook but I do enjoy pootling around in the kitchen. As a family our kitchen is where we all talk and catch up as we’re prepping the meal. As a child, I was always in the kitchen with both my grandmothers making fresh bread and pies with one and pastries and puddings with the other. To me food has always been something to savour and enjoy with friends and family and it is always pleasurable to me.

What’s the last thing you ate / drank?

A large glass of Sauvignon Blanc with a gourmet chicken burger, very nice it was too.

How much time do you spend blogging per week and per post? (That’s from scratch, including researching, writing, sourcing / editing pictures.)

It’s probably anywhere between 15 hours to 25 hours, depending on how many visits etc. we do. I suppose I could class it as a job now that I’ve actually calculated the time, although because it’s so much fun it never seems like work. I really like getting to know the chefs behind the dishes, and I think they like to talk about their inspirations and passions too.

Being a food blogger, can you ever “switch off” from being a food blogger? As in, can you ever stop analysing food? (That’s my biggest problem!)

Yep, I can switch off quite easily. I guess that’s a spill over from my nursing days – l find it easy to compartmentalise things. For instance, I would never analyse food at an occasion such as a wedding or christening, I think it would be rude to critique a friend’s choice of caterer or food type.

What do you think is the best part of being a food blogger?

Eating so many different kinds of foods and seeing how chefs bring their own interpretation to classic dishes. I also really love getting to know other food bloggers and hearing their perspectives. We all come from different backgrounds and have different jobs, but we all absolutely love food, and that common thread means that we never struggle for conversation. Because I’m older than you all, I feel a bit like “mother hen” lol. I always love it when we see each other at events, because we’re all genuinely happy to see each other again, and I love reading all the different blogs.

And the worst part?

Going somewhere that other people have said is good, and having a bad experience there TWICE!! And then going to a second venue they had reviewed as being good and having a bad experience there too!! Oh well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger as they say. I sometimes forget that each reviewer has their own subjective opinion that is unique to them, and I am aware that my reviews are probably received the same way. In any public forum you have to realise that you are open to criticism and differences of opinion.

I know you don’t give bad reviews. Was that a conscious decision, or do you think your stance on that will ever change?

Yes, it was a conscious decision on my part. There is so much negativity and nit-picking out there already that there was no need for anymore. Plus, I’m not a negative person anyway, and to be honest it was what set us apart, and it’s nice to see that we are inspiring other bloggers to change their view point and do positive only stuff themselves. They do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all. I can’t see that I will ever change my positive blog style, although I could do an alter-ego style one couldn’t I? The basis for my blog and the reviews is really simple; if I would recommend the place to friends and family then it gets a review. This doesn’t mean that I expect perfection, we all make mistakes, but what it does mean is that the problem was rectified and that any delays were communicated to me. I think that there is a tendency to forget that none of us are perfect and I do try to base my review on the whole experience rather than one single thing.

There’s been a seismic shift in the balance of power in the food industry. Now, many restaurants seek out food bloggers. What do you think of this elevated status of the once humble food blogger?

I don’t think it’s the food bloggers per se that restaurants are seeking out, more that they’ve realised it’s another platform that they can use to promote their product for relatively little outlay. When you think about it, the restaurants do what they would normally do (cook and serve the food), then the blogger has to do all the writing and photos, all the time consuming stuff! I can’t imagine myself ever being “famous” in my own right as a blogger, and to be honest if you believe your own hype then I think you lose your focus, which isn’t yourself, it’s the restaurant and its food. I still get a buzz about going in “incognito”, both when we pay for the meal ourselves and also when the managers ask us not to reveal our identity.

What do you think about the Derby food scene?

I love the diversity of the food scene in Derby, and I think it’s great how it’s grown so much in recent years. There are so many different styles of cuisine to choose from and there is a wealth of talented chefs in restaurants now, so I think we can expect even more great things to come in the next few years.

Are there any restaurants that you’d like to see in Derby?

Part of me would love to see some of the big names like Jamie Oliver and Marco Pierre White bring their style to Derby, but personally I would love to see local chefs branch out and start their own brands. I have a real pride in being a Derbyshire lass and I get such a warm feeling when our local food producers, chefs and restaurateurs are out there winning awards, so anyone that opened a new venue that was local would just thrill me beyond belief.

What are favourite top three restaurants in Derby? What’s so great about them?

Blacksmiths Loft is a lovely restaurant, we love the décor and vibe there, and of course Chris Parry is a brilliant chef so I was sad to hear he’d moved on from there. Hopefully this means he’s on to equally great things still within the county. We also really like the Fahrenheit Grill in Genting Casino; again, the food is always good, the service is excellent and the location is unique in that you can dine whilst taking in the atmosphere of the casino floor. We loved doing the Tasting Table at Rowleys (although I understand the restaurant is closed at the moment), and tomorrow I am doing a tasting experience at a renowned Derby restaurant, but in the spirit of the blog I can’t tell you about it until I personally know it passes muster.

Do you get many friends / family asking you for recommendations? Don’t you ever get tired of it?

Yes we do get a lot of requests, not just from family and friends, but also from our blog followers. I love it when they give us feedback on a place they visited on our recommendation. In fact, our followers often send us suggestions as to where to visit as well, I really get a buzz from that interaction. No, I never tire of it. I think that the more people we can encourage to spend money in the county can only benefit us all in the long run.

What would be your ideal job? Would you want to be a full-time food blogger?

To be honest I don’t know what my ideal job would be, although I’m absolutely loving doing the Sticky Beak Blog so much that I guess this is my ideal job! I’ve always thrown myself 1000% into whatever I’m doing at the time, and my life has taken me in several different directions. Originally I was a critical care nurse for brain and spinal injuries, then I trained in Holistic Therapies and worked in Centerparcs Sherwoods’ Aqua Sana Spa and now I do food blogging. I’ve been lucky in that I have such a wide skillset I can adapt to most situations.

There is a fire (touchwood) and you have to exit the house in 15 seconds. What would you leave the house with?

My husband, our daughter and our dog. All the things I love and the memories I have in my head and heart will be safe, everything else is just material stuff that can be replaced and it’s all insured. Funnily enough, we have been in that exact situation, we did have a fire at home, and the only thing we did was make sure we were all safe. In my opinion, if you haven’t got family and love, you haven’t got anything.

Thank you for your time Angie, it was a real pleasure getting to know more about you!