The plot is straightforward. A bank decides a credit card needs marketing, and hires a creative agency. The creative agency insists on the goodness of social media and proceeds to create a ‘food blog.’ This food blog then requires one or more people to go out, eat at every concievable place in every possible cranny, and write up what they saw and heard. Of course, this isn’t the direct equivalent of being a food critic. I have the ninja skills required to burn even water on a slow flame, hence may not be the world’s most qualified person to critique the fluffiness of mash or the consistency of miso soup. But I can write about what I like and don’t; and hold forth on the gap between the chef’s incisors. The schedule is brilliantly insane – I and a fellow food explorer have to cover ninety restaurants within a month. This of course has resulted in my developing a #GourmetBelly (we have Mishaal Algergawi to thank for that epithet). However, not only is it a wonderful way of making others pay for your nosh, but has genuinely dragged me to places and deals I wouldn’t have bothered with in the normal course of affairs. I’m becoming, inadvertently, quite the authority on value deals at genuinely interesting places, and have been brilliantly surprised by a couple of food joints that lie outside my normal meanderings. My gourmand and gourmet experiences, replete with gluttony and indigestion, can be read at the UAE Food Explorer blog. Comment, crib and contribute if you get the chance.