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Blog eat blog world

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Cite as: March 2011 85(3) LIJ, p.31

A Melbourne lawyer is giving others food for thought with her online culinary observations.

Armed with a notebook, camera and secret blogging identity, the Hungry Lawyer is never starved for inspiration.

The 27-year-old planning and environment lawyer has taken the legal profession’s well-known love of wining and dining – and whining about dining in some cases – online.

The Hungry Lawyer, who keeps her daytime identity under wraps, joined the throng of local food bloggers after moving to Melbourne in 2009.

She used the internet instead of a guidebook to explore the city’s restaurants and discovered a feast of foodies online.

One website alone lists more than 300 “edible” Melbourne blogs and the city last year hosted Australia’s first food blogger conference.

“There’s just so many . . . it’s really quite a Melbourne thing to have all these food blogs,” the Hungry Lawyer said.

Among those blogging are fellow legal eagles Claire Davie, behind Melbourne Gastronome, and former media lawyer Adam Liaw, the winner of the second series of MasterChef. (A finalist from that series of MasterChef, Melbourne lawyer Claire Winton Burn, is now a food columnist for The Age.)

The Hungry Lawyer can’t explain the law-food link but said unlike Liaw and Winton Burn, she was happy pursuing her passion part-time with no plans to permanently swap her law books for cookbooks.

“I really like being a lawyer but it’s not necessarily a really creative job,” she said.

“It’s nice to have a balance some times, so I kind of use the blog as a bit of a creative outlet, which is pretty different from my day-to-day job.”

The blog was born last August as a way for the lawyer to keep in touch with her family in Queensland, especially a sister working as an apprentice chef.

“I’ve always been quite interested in food. My mum is Singaporean and we go over there pretty regularly and food’s a big part of Singaporean culture,” she said.

“It really started so [my sister and I] could share recipes and I could tell her what I was up to and she reads it, and my other two sisters and my mum were reading it just to see what I was up to.”

In five months, the blog has grown from a family food diary to a site featuring reviews, recipes and “random ramblings”, which is visited by about 100 people a day.

Some readers stumble on it while searching for recipes, others hear about it on the legal grapevine or through friends.

“It surprises me that week to week there’s extra people reading it and strangers commenting on it,” she said.

The blog was also a way for the Hungry Lawyer to take her culinary chat online after pleas from her husband, known as “The Brooding Architect” to her readers, to “stop talking about food”.

The Hungry Lawyer admits a low tolerance for technology but said once her husband set up the blog and registered its domain name (www.thehungrylawyer.com), she found updating the posts easy and spends about 30 minutes to an hour on each.

“We’ll go out and eat. I’ll take some pictures. I’ve got a little notebook and I’ll sometimes make little notes just about price and if there was anything stand out, or not that great, just so I have a trigger in my memory,” she said.

Surprisingly, she has never been quizzed about her peculiar dining habits, which can bring a blush to The Brooding Architect’s face.

“He’s been pretty patient. I think he’s actually been really surprised that other people are reading it and liking it,” she said.

“I think sometimes he pretends he doesn’t like it but secretly he sort of enjoys being a star.”

Remaining anonymous helps guard the couple’s privacy and distances her blog from her career, although her secretary is one of her biggest readers.

The Hungry Lawyer said she would feel compromised accepting free meals and without any income generated by the blog, writes purely for the love of it.

“I think you just have to do it about something you’re interested in and keep it enjoyable for you, otherwise you’re not going to be able to continue writing the content,” she said.

”Really, getting more content is the only way you’re going to get more readers interested in what you’re going to say.”

Hungry for more?

Here are some other lawyers blogging about their passion for food.

Claire Davie: www.melbournegastronome.com

Adam Liaw: http://adamliaw.com

JuliA Agostino: http://kitchenmade.blogspot.com

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