Tourism Richmond has now narrowed down a 1,500-applicant search for a food blogger to an elite three - a Vancouverite, a Torontonian and an Ottawan. The successful applicant lands a job eating at, and writing about, one local restaurant a day for a year. Oh yes, they also get $50,000 and a membership for the Richmond Olympic Oval gym.
After calling for applications in March, a Tourism Richmond panel narrowed the list to 12 bloggers.
Of the 12, Lindsay Anderson of Vancouver caught the public's attention after voting was opened April 24 through the company's Facebook page. As the winner of the public vote, she received 3,366 hits out of more than 10,000, according to Tourism Richmond's director of communications Michelle Dunn. The win gained her an automatic place in the top three.
Ottawa's Kelly Brisson and Melanie Hillier of Toronto, selected by the panel, compete with Anderson for the top spot.
"All of the top 12 blew us away," said Dunn. "It was a very challenging, gutwrenching experience having to choose. We all came to know them well through the power and passion in their blogs and meeting them in person."
To help the process, the panel of judges stuck to a strict criteria, looking for a good communicator, great writer and photographer, as well as someone with a strong social media presence.
"It's also personality," said Dunn. "They have to resonate with the community and be engaging."
By telling a tale through their taste buds, Dunn said Tourism Richmond hopes the blogger will be able to expose the unique culture of Richmond and what it's like to live in the city. She speculates the contestant will become a bit of a celebrity throughout the year.
So far, the three have been bonding with the community and each other over Twitter and other social media, but the competition is sure to heat up in the coming weeks, as each contestant will be granted a face-to-face interview with a Tourism Richmond panel. The panel hopes to have a decision by the end of the month, according to the website.
The association's 365 Days of Dining campaign is part of a long-term strategy for tourism growth in Richmond, according to Tourism Richmond CEO Tracy Lakeman. Entrants applied from close to 30 different countries, including England and the United States.
THE TOP THREE:
- Lindsay Anderson, Vancouver
Blog: linds.eats - http: //www.lindseats.blogspot.ca/
Lindsay Anderson launched an online photo campaign where supporters from across the world championed her food blogging skills. She's worked as a film set caterer, served as the head cook for up to 120 tree planters and completed her Masters in Food Culture and Communications at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.
- Kelly Brisson, Ottawa
Blog: The Gouda Life - http: //thegoudalife.tumblr.com/
Kelly Brisson began her blog nearly five years ago. She's done cooking demonstrations on CTV's Ottawa Morning Live and contributions to Eat in Eat Out Magazine and Ottawa's community newspaper Centretown Buzz. She also served as the official blogger for Celebrity Chefs of Canada. Brisson loves creating recipes and scouring farmers' markets.
- Melanie Hillier, Toronto
Blog: Dulcet Devotion - http: //dulcetdevotion.com/
Melanie Hillier's passion for food and travel is conveyed through her explorations in Europe and Australia. With a degree in nutrition and food science, Hillier approaches cuisine with a fresh perspective. She was one of few candidates to provide a strategic plan for the role.