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South African born chef Duncan Welgemoed shut down a cooking show star and food blogger Andy Vignati for trying to nab a free meal at his Adelaide restaurant Africola in exchange for ‘social media exposure’, with rather amusing results.
The Adelaide Advertiser published email correspondence between the two, with Vignati writing: “I'd love to come and try some food.'
However, rather than pay for the meal, she suggested it be comped – “In exchange I can post food shots and stories on my Instagram page.”
Outspoken chef Welgemoed responded by posting the email on his Instagram page with the hashtags “#payforfood #payforstaff #f--kexposuredollars.”
The chef then posted Vignati’s response. “Based on your petty response I think it's clear you don't fully appreciate the power of social media,' she wrote. ”A simple no thanks would have sufficed,' she added. Vignati has around 9,000 followers on her Instagram.
Welgemoed , who is known for his wicked sense of humour, responded with “pay for her meal like everyone else”, and "If Katy Perry can pay for a meal in my restaurant so can you. Good luck with your depressing demo at Marion Shopping Centre.” (Ouch).
Chefs get these type of requests all the time and maybe in the beginning they were more likely than not to agree as the ‘influencer’ phenomenon promised real marketing value. Everyone is falling out of love with influencers these days and Welgemoed’s reaction is a sign that the restaurant industry has run out of patience with certain self-entitled figures.