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The Chef and Restaurant Database


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ChefDb is not a "wiki" site, individual records or entire bios can be submitted through the Add Record feature at http://www.chefdb.com. To do this users must register so that we can communicate with them to verify information.

Todd is correct his city (and others) are not represented as they should be. The best way to rectify this is for chefs or owners to submit their data. Currentlly my time is almost totally taken up with handling submissions from users, when this traffic lessens there is time for doing independent research for new entries. We have done a considerable amount of this but clearly we still (and always will) have a number of holes.

Edited by George W. (log)
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I'm not saying it's bad idea, but it highlights why anything on the internet should always be confirmed. Too many hobbyists with good ideas but without the resources or time to implement them well.

Edit: As I said below, apologies for harsh tone of the above comment. What I should have said is that there is difference between a great idea and great implementation.

The internet makes it relatively easy for a couple of guys to create a framework for information that spans the globe. It doesn't, however, make it all that much easier for two people to sift through a massive amount of information and verify that information.

For that reason, I'm more likely to trust a professionally published reference work, because I know that they have the resources, staff and procedures to check information.

On the other hand, a database of chefs might be too much of a niche publication to warrant a commercial reference work.

What's the solution? I don't know. Wiki puts the burden of collecting and verifying data on the users, which is one solution. Does it work? I'm still not sure if I trust wikipedia.

I wonder if some sort of private wiki wouldn't work better? What if the database were actually a wiki site, but open only to members of eGullet? That would screen slightly who was submitting information. Sure, there would still be some bad info, but it would be more likely that someone in the know would see the bad info and correct it.

Edited by TAPrice (log)

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I'm not saying it's bad idea, but it highlights why anything on the internet should always be confirmed. Too many hobbyists with good ideas but without the resources or time to implement them well.

How utterly rude of you! George not only tries to compile something that no-one else has tried in this form, but he's good enough to come to this thread to explain his (completely self-explanatory) site, and you demean his effort.

George, thanks for the site. If you need help with anyone in Niagara, let me know.

TAPrice, you should think before you post.

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I apologize for that. It came out harsher than I meant. I edited my comment above.

I still think anything on the internet should be double checked. Actually, anything anywhere should be double checked.

Edited by TAPrice (log)

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I'm not saying it's bad idea, but it highlights why anything on the internet should always be confirmed. Too many hobbyists with good ideas but without the resources or time to implement them well.

Edit: As I said below, apologies for harsh tone of the above comment. What I should have said is that there is difference between a great idea and great implementation.

The internet makes it relatively easy for a couple of guys to create a framework for information that spans the globe. It doesn't, however, make it all that much easier for two people to sift through a massive amount of information and verify that information.

For that reason, I'm more likely to trust a professionally published reference work, because I know that they have the resources, staff and procedures to check information.

On the other hand, a database of chefs might be too much of a niche publication to warrant a commercial reference work.

What's the solution? I don't know. Wiki puts the burden of collecting and verifying data on the users, which is one solution. Does it work? I'm still not sure if I trust wikipedia.

I wonder if some sort of private wiki wouldn't work better? What if the database were actually a wiki site, but open only to members of eGullet? That would screen slightly who was submitting information. Sure, there would still be some bad info, but it would be more likely that someone in the know would see the bad info and correct it.

I have hesitated to respond to Todd's thoughts but there are a couple of things I feel I must say. I certainly have no interest in getting into a debate about the merits of ChefDb, clearly Todd is entitled to his opinion and I would expect he would never again click on www.chefdb.com, after all whatever is created by a "couple of guys" can not possibly be any good.

The more serious issue is that Todd has implied there is no verification of the data. Where does he get this - he has never inquired (i..e., verified) if this is in fact the case. I spend considerable time checking the correctness of data that is sent in by registered users (usually chefs or owners). Many submissions have been questioned and a number have been rejected. I do not mean to suggest that somebody couldn't sneak through a completely spurious entry (like entering a dog in the race for mayor), of course they could but Chefdb is not unique in that regard.

For some reason Todd seems to prefer a "wiki" approach, I don't. I prefer to have each submission vetted for potential problems. We too rely on the peer influence to restrain an individual from claiming to be what they are not. To me a "wiki site available only to eGullet members" has not been thought through but I wish anyone who chooses to implement such an approach the best of luck.

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Again, George, sorry if I offended you. I really didn't mean to. Let me see if I can dig myself out of this hole.

You're right that I never asked whether you verified all the information. The FAQ says that you don't check most information, and I took that at face value.

Here is what you state on your FAQ:

We really don't have the time (or the ability) to verify every submission to the site, so for the most part we put our trust in those submitting the information that it is done with good intentions.  Including a source, if one is available, is always helpful.  If we have questions regarding submissions made to ChefDb, we will contact the submitter by email for clarification or verification.

Fact checking every piece of information would be a full time job, and I wouldn't expect a site without a full time staff to carry that out. That's fine.

I think it's a really cool site. I don't see this information available anywhere else. The interface is really well though out.

On the other, I would place more trust in a reference work produced by a professional company. There is no guarantee that they would check and verify information, but it would be more likely given industry standards.

Just because I might give more weight to a professional publication, however, doesn't mean that I might not find other resources useful. All reference works are tools, and all tools have limitations.

And if you sense some frustration from me throughout, it's because I teach undergrads. I'm afraid we're raising a generation that believes all information on the web is equally valid and is more likely to trust the most professional looking site.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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The purpose of that statement in our FAQs was to make sure no user was under the impression that every entry was correct - it tried to convey a lower limit. Considering the number and mobility of chefs I do not believe even a "professional" site could give a guarantee of perfection. In actual fact perhaps far more checking goes on than our statement might suggest. There are a number of sources with whom I have built up considerable positive experiences and I and I do not need to do a deep background check on most individuals they submit. For new chefs that come from sources I do not know (usually the chefs themselves) I would always attempt to verify the data through an Internet search - it is rare that this is not possible. For example last night Todd you submitted a modification for a New Orleans chef. I did not simply enter the information I verified it by finding an article in the Times-Picayune that confirmed your submission. At the same time I was able to determine further data about the chef's successor, again from more than one source. I have said before, we are not perfect and never claim to be perfect, users will have to recognize this and decide if this is enough of a problem to make them not want to use the site.

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