Food leader issue 72
A question of taste

The Skinny Food Survey 2011: A Question of Taste

Your magazine needs you. Our Food & Drink editor explains why, and how, you can have your say on the state of Scottish food.
Feature by Peter Simpson.
Published 29 August 2011

Hello again. I'm Peter, your friendly neighbourhood Food & Drink editor. You might remember me from an editorial a couple of months ago, with a picture of me gurning like I'd just stood on some Lego bricks. I hadn't, that's just my face, but thanks for the concern.

As almighty ruler of this page-and-a-bit of the magazine, you might expect me to have an encyclopedic bank of witty, well-considered, and authoritative views on the world of Scottish food. I don't. Sorry.

Don't get me wrong, I have my lists of favourite places and a decent knowledge of the culinary landscape, but I don't know everything. In fact, no-one knows everything. We all know a little, holding court in our own areas of expertise while trying to distract from our vast chasms of cultural amnesia and ignorance. Unless someone comes into endless reserves of cash and time they'll never manage to see everything, to go everywhere. I hate to be the one to say it, folks – we can't do it all on our own.

Lots of people, on the other hand, know a lot. Ask one person for directions to the shops, and you'll get one answer which might or might not be any good. Ask a hundred people, and you'll have plenty more to choose from. Maybe there is just one good shop that everyone agrees on, or maybe there are a few that people think are lovely. So, having established that large groups can bring a wealth of knowledge to a situation, what can this fair magazine do to harness the awesome power of these 'people' and their 'opinions'? What grand scheme can we put in place? What to do?

The Skinny Food & Drink Survey, that's what. Over the next few months you will have a low statistical chance of materially affecting our content by telling us about your favourite food & drink destinations across the country. Rich and poor, social hermits and waistcoated hipsters, everyone can stick their oar in. Using computers and mathematics, the group's opinions will then be compiled and the result will be a list of bars, cafes, restaurants and emporia picked by the most important people of all – the readers.

Besides all that noble quasi-democratic waffle, The Skinny Food & Drink Survey or 'tiss-fidds' for short, is going to be so much better than just relying on the likes of me to tell you where to go. This way there'll be no biases, no suspiciously high rankings or strange omissions, and no undue snobbery and pigheaded moaning. OK, less pigheaded moaning. Wherever you good people decide is best gets the kudos, and anyone who wants to can have their say. It's all very exciting.

I have no idea what you lot will end up recommending, but I'm more than happy to go along with it, and if you disagree with the eventual winners, you'll only have your fellow readers, and by extension yourselves, to blame. It's perfect. Who knows, if this goes well, the whole 'voting for your favourites' concept might catch on. I can see it now; “The Skinny, championing the concept of democracy since 2011."

FOOD SURVEY FAQS

OK, I'm sold on this idea. What should I do now?
Lovely to have you on board. Voting opens NOW. Go to bit.ly/skinnyfood and follow the instructions.

So I just go and write in whatever comes to mind?
Not quite. Our crack survey-writing team has developed a host of categories based around the food and drink we all love – so pints, pizza, and tasty, tasty cakes. Write in your choices for as many of the categories as you like, so if you don't like very much and just want to vote for a few places then that's fine too.

How do I pick between my favourite Edinburgh and Glasgow haunts? I JUST CAN'T DO IT. HELP ME!
Calm down, dear. The survey covers Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the rest of Scotland, and you can vote for your favourite in each category for each area.

When should I vote?
Now! This first phase of the survey will run for a few months, and we'll keep you all updated on the survey's progress. Later in the year we'll be back to whittle things down, but for now we just need your thoughts. And we need them NOW! GO! RUN!

I am a pub, restaurant, cafe or other such establishment. What should I do?
Make your customers nice things, treat them well, then gently suggest they send a vote your way. This will encourage them to tell their friends about your establishment, friends who will come to that establishment, and whom you can convince to vote for you. In short, be nice.

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