David Lebovitz on the evolution of blogs

L'Appart by David LebovitzYou might call David Lebovitz the godfather of bloggers. He launched his website in 1999, years before Facebook or blogging platforms like WordPress even existed. Since then, the former pastry chef of Chez Panisse and Zuni Cafe has garnered a devoted following. Lebovitz has just released a cookbook/memoir titled L’Appart, in which he uses his experiences in purchasing and renovating his Paris apartment as a launching point for stories about French culture, food, and what it means to revamp one’s life. 

Lebovitz has been on a whirlwind tour promoting his new book, but took a few minutes to discuss a variety of topics with the website The Six Fifty. The chef talks about his early days in the bustling Chez Panisse kitchen, and what it was like to be at the forefront of a culinary movement. Not surprisingly, the discussion soon turned to the topic of blogging, which Lebovitz says has changed a lot since he began publishing close to 20 years ago. 

Back then, there were only a handful of people writing about food on the internet. Now, he thinks the field is a bit oversaturated. He believes that “it got a little bit out of hand in the last few years. People were so overly concerned with monetizing and getting search engine traffic, which is fine but that’s a different perspective. That’s not why I blog.”  It’s easy to see from reading Lebovitz’s work that he loves what he does. 

He encourages would-be bloggers to write about what they love, but not to give up their day jobs. It has become a lot more difficult to break out or make money writing about food, he says. Other advice he provides to aspiring writers is to write a lot, and expect to spend at least as much time editing as writing. Lebovitz also encourages writers to get to the point. You only have a few minutes to capture someone’s attention, and you don’t want to waste their time. “You want to make sure when they come to your site or reading your recipes or even a book, that you’ve got their interest, and that’s really hard to do,” he says. 

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