Last Wednesday (February 2), we ran a piece about a Chinese food tour of Flushing, Queens, hosted by chef Noel Cruz. It’s a great roundup with lots of juicy food porn shots and snappy copy from writer Meghann Foye. However, the problem is that the same basic tour (though not the text nor images) had appeared a couple days earlier (January 31) on FoodMayhem.com. What’s that about, one might deservedly ask?
The FoodMayhem tour was assembled and managed by site runner Jessica Lee Binder as well as Amy Cao (of AmyBlogsChow.com) and Liza de Guia (of FoodCurated.com). Cruz actually attended the food crawl, as you can see by his presence in the group photo at the top of the post.
Though the itineraries are almost identical, the BlackBook piece is different from the post on FoodMayhem; there are no similarities in the copy or images or menu selections (beyond obvious cases where little shops only serve a couple things). Even if not plagiarism per se it represents on the face a remarkably similar idea with a principal involved in both publications. So when Jessica Binder brought it to our attention, we asked Cruz and Foye for an explanation. To sum up, Cruz contends that he’s long known about these places generally, and Foye had no idea about the FoodMayhem gathering. Cruz states:
I wanted to clarify that in advance of my Flushing tour with BlackBook, I participated in a similarly themed food crawl hosted by Jessica Binder, Amy Cao, and Liza de Guia. Meghann Foye, who accompanied me to some of my long-time favorite food destinations in Flushing (14 overall) was unaware of the previous crawl. She independently and coincidentally selected some of the same places for her piece.
Foye adds, “To be clear, I chose my 10 from the 14 he showed me. I didn’t see their blog piece or any before or after going/writing.” After this issue was raised, Cruz added that when he went with the FoodMayhem group, he thought theirs was just a casual food crawl, not for the purposes of writing an online piece.
As far as we can ascertain, this was simply a case of misunderstanding, bad timing, and duplicate efforts of a good idea. However, Binder, Cao, and de Guia — and everyone else on their food crawl — absolutely deserve primacy of credit for publishing that idea. Please check out their post and the comments, as both are further enticement for checking out the grub in Flushing’s Chinatown.