I have visited other cooking forums but have always found them to lack civility. There is always personal drama brewing and that drives me away. ChefTalk is the only site where one can express their opinion, deliberate over recipes, and even have disagreements without turning into personal attacks and misery. The moderators are fantastic and keep this board running very smoothly. Not so with other boards.
As one of the non-professionals here, I have to agree- even disagreements here are based on comparisons of knowledge, and the undercurrent seems to be one of helping each other learn, not proving who is right and who is wrong.
I joined here about 10 years ago. Before that I tried several others. Most were unmoderated or poorly moderated resulting in flaming, errors in recipes and/or technique, or stuffed full of cut-and-pasted recipes posted without permission or attribution. Chef Talk was the exception then, and still is IMHO.
I agree with the OPs...and civility is the perfect word to use. No agendas, only the pros and not so pros exchanging info on a level playing field...with mutual respect. When ya stop seeking educational opportunities, ya need to hang it up.
I got to chef talk completely by mistake - I was mainly using another forum and made a mistake typing in the name and got this one. The people there were (are) really nice too, and there is a good atmosphere. I am partial to it because they helped me with a big project i had and gave me lots of good advice. I know plenty of people here are also on it, some because they use the same screen name and some because they post the same post on both. (I have a different name).
Unfortunately, at a certain point they decided to "improve" it. The forum was off for i think about a month. That was plenty of time for everyone to go find other forums i guess, because though the new forum looked nicer, now there are far fewer posts. It can go days and days without a new post on some of the subforums, like baking. It's too bad, too, it was a nice forum. I wrote to the what do you call it, the manager, the originator, whatever, and said it was too bad there was much less activity after the "improvement" but he denied it.
It made me think of a story someone told me about a very popular restaurant that did so well at a certain point they decided to reinvest some of their earnings in renovating the restaurant. It was closed about a month or so, and when it opened it was much nicer, more comfortable, more pleasant, and empty. The old clients just didn't come back. (could be an urban legend, but no matter, i know this does happen). Anyway, the moral being, don't try to improve a good thing. So i just hope nobody here gets the idea to "improve" it.
Well I can tell you about one of the least-used food forums I know about - wasatchfoodies.com I set it up back it up in September thinking it would be nice to have something like ChefTalk that was local to Utah. I mean no offense, but how many of you know where to find salt packed anchovies in Salt Lake, or who in town has the best price on fresh pork belly?
The last post was made two months ago by my wife. When I told her I put the shrimp and sausage soup recipe, she took a look at the pictures, registered and posted a short note in the Slow Food forum. I've not spread the word about it too much yet, so I'm not really surprised no one knows about it.
I've tried other forums too before I came across ChefTalk - they just don't compare with what we have here. What I find here and enjoy is the sense of community, a group of individuals who come together in the interest of good food and intelligent and unbiased discussion. Nothing about- I'll call it what it is - bitching and villifying others. To be sure, there are some heated discussions, and as it should be, people are able to agree to disagree.
The moderation in this site makes it all the better - thank you moderators for making this a safe and sane (mostly , but it can be fun too when it ain't!) place to talk about things people have queries/ trouble with cooking, recipes, catering; how to handle a situation in a professional manner; enabling people to communicate the world over to discuss a whole variety of things; discover new information, and when the need arises, provide support for each other.
And also a big thankyou to the members here who have made this non(ex)-pro feel most welcome and shared their advice and opinions. I have nowhere near the amount of knowledge and experience of many here which through their posts often impresses and amazes me, and am more than grateful for their input.
Ok ok put the tissues away It's a second home away from home.
P.S. Siduri, hey, there have been improvements made here, e.g.
:mullet: Dunno what this one can be used for
:level: Can someone tel me what this means?
eace: This one rocks
:laser:....so does this
This l'il guy is a long time favourite
but as you imply, if it ain't broke - don't fix it.
I like this site, too. I visit a couple of others on occasion, more for the personal contacts I've made there rather than the cooking. At some point, all other cooking sites have morphed into friend boards where the only cooking discussion that goes on is what people are cooking for dinner. They often end up with people hating eachother, the boards split and a board war begins. Far too much drama when I really want is the food/restaurant/catering talk.
I used to lurk around egullet but didn't like how I couldn't make any posts. so then I think when I was searching for a recipe for black bean paste I found this forum.:bounce: I like this forum because there are a lot of professional cooks here that get into intense discussions then they make an essay long responses with lots of valuable info..
I was a member of another US food site. It became SO restrictive about what you could post - and personalities became more than cooking. I had a couple of close friends on there, but felt that, in the end, the moderators were king, and if you didn't agree with THEIR view of what was acceptable to post - well, here I am!
Although I like Cheftalk, I don't feel disloyal going elsewhere, unlike, say if I was cheating on my husband.....
Catersource is a good site for caterers. Chowhound is good for restaruant reviews and they have some great recipes. I love food blogs, but some of them are a little "touchy-feely" with pictures of their children, their homes, etc. Some of them are Smitten Kitchen, culinary concoctions by peabody, prairie woman cooks. Actually, smitten kitchen has a favorites column (most of them do) where she lists her favorite sites. The photography is beautiful on some of them!
I always poke around, but end up back here for the invaluable information from some very talented and experienced chefs.