Updated: Thank you everyone for the support, and to Wendy (Xiaxue) for her defense.
I am aware of the articles that have been circulating in my absence, regarding an accusation that I visited a restaurant and asked for a waiver on their meals. I would like to make certain clarifications here.
1. The Basis of Food tasting events
Food tastings in the Singapore food scene are regularly organized and non-obligatory events. Any food blogger who has been invited to one to sample delicacies of the particular restaurant will agree that it is akin to inviting someone into their house. According to the dictionary, an invitation is, “The act of inviting; solicitation; the requesting of a person’s company”.
2. Invitation to the restaurant
Story: The articles seemed to suggest that I paid the restaurant a visit on my own accord, that I walked into the restaurant and announced myself as a food blogger.
Fact: This is not true. I was invited to a food tasting session by Melanie, PR Manager for the Restaurant. The first invite came June 2nd. I was unable to make it then and it was not until Friday, August 20th that I scheduled the Sunday brunch. In the invite, i was told to bring a guest.
Story: I had informed the restaurant that as food blogger, I assumed that the bill for all 4 of us would be waived
Fact: Following up on the food tasting email, I had duly informed that there would be 3 accompanying guests on that very day. There were no claims or requests made for “free food” since it was a direct invitation to sample the items on the new menu. It was an oversight to assume to that no acknowledgement from Melanie about my 3 accompanying guests would mean that their meals would be on the house too.
4. Asking for waiver for myself and my dining partner
Story: It was reported that the restaurant had decided to “waive the fee” for me and my dining partner out of goodwill
Fact: This was an invitation to a food-tasting session. There is no hard and fast rule stating a plus one for a food tasting. However having attended previous food tastings before, I assumed that the meal would be, at the very least, on the house for myself and one dining partner. I was not expected to be billed for and then “waived” off from what was disguised as a “food tasting session”. When questioned, Melanie then cited this to be in-line with ‘industry standards’ of food tasting sessions: that the restaurant would only pay for my +1.
5. Asking for waiver for myself and my other guests
Story: I had informed the restaurant that I was a food blogger, therefore assuming that the bill for all 4 of us would be waived.
Fact: In truth, I had asked for no waiver. I paid for my other two companions. The bill for 2, inclusive of sparkling wine, came to $260. Out of goodwill, they did decide to waive the wine and I eventually paid $160 for 2.
6. My attitude towards the staff
Story: It was reported that I had said: “I always get free food wherever I go“.
Fact: This was never said. Nevertheless, I must admit the hostility while paying (I had tossed my credit card on the table) was uncalled for and I sincerely apologise.
An eye for an eye makes the world go blind. I would like to not point fingers at anyone – it was simply a case of miscommunication. When I dine out, I pay for my food like any regular consumer. When I am invited for food tasting sessions, it is a mutual understanding between the inviter and myself, that I would be attending as the identity of media for a possible food review.
I would like to urge all parties to view this situation objectively. I hope this post clarifies any misunderstanding that this might have caused.