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All you can tweet 

Local chefs are utilizing social media to keep us salivating.

They say you are what you eat, although more and more these days it seems like the more appropriate saying is "you are what you tweet." But if you want to get really meta about it, the two are interchangeable. After all, half of the people using the internet these days tweet what they eat.

If Twitter is about anything, it's about consumption; it's the fast food of idea sharing. In the span of a few seconds, millions of customers are served up facts, jokes, rants and commentary hot off the grills of friends, family, celebrities, media and businesses. Not to mention the photos. More specifically, photos of food.

In early April, the New York Times published an article about the phenomenon of food photo journals and the almost pathological compulsion to share our meals online. But even without photos, Twitter gives restaurants and culinary businesses the chance for a more symbiotic relationship with not only the technology, but with the customers who they hope will eat what they tweet.

The relationship between Twitter and experimental food and restaurant trends that have come out of cities like New York and Los Angeles is a great example of how 140 characters a day can improve a restaurant's business model. Food trucks like Manhattan's Dessert Truck and LA's Kogi Korean barbecue taco truck, along with pop-up restaurants across North America---one of the biggest underground culinary trends in the past few years---have used Twitter to create ongoing dialogues with their customers to let them know when or where they will be around. It's like a delicious take on pirate radio.

And this is an idea that Susie's Shortbread seems to be running with in Halifax. Its @susieshalifax account leads the pack when it comes to Halifax tweaters.

More than perhaps any other restaurant or cafe in Halifax, Susie's has really embraced social media, regularly using Twitter to talk about what flavours are on sale, and even to discuss and take recommendations for new flavour concepts. The shop also holds just the right amount of contests to keep your index fingers pointed at the R and T buttons, heavy with the hope of a box of buttercream showing up on your doorstep. On top of all that---the icing on the cupcake---Susie's is also adding a mobile truck to its operation this summer. It will be interesting to see if Twitter will be as integral to its business as it has to other food trucks and trailers.

Two if By Sea Cafe (@Twoifbyseacafe), FID Resto (@FidKitchen) and RCR's new barbecue house, Q (@Q_BBQ) have also embraced Twitter. All have consistent and ongoing dialogues with customers, but avoid coming across as simple shills.

Offering a more personal connection is Five Fishermen's chef, Renee Lavalee (@FeistyChef), who has a love for food that makes her Twitter a real joy to follow. From tweets about her fondness for rhubarb to what's in the oven, Lavalee makes you interested in her as a person and a chef, and brings new dimension to the kitchen at Five Fishermen. Other local chefs, like Tempest's Michael Howell (@mhowellgtc), the Wooden Monkey's Adam Todd (@ChefAdamTodd) and Ray Bear (@chefraybear) also have accounts, but sadly don't keep subscribers as up-to-date on what's coming in and out of their kitchens on a regular basis.

Not everything is a give and take, though. If you want to stay on top of food news, it's made easy with Taste of Nova Scotia (@TasteofNS), practically the meta filter of Halifax food, retweeting news from organizations such as Slow Food Nova Scotia (@SlowfoodNS), Select Nova Scotia (@SelectNS) and Wines of Nova Scotia (@WinesofNS).

One thing is for sure, no matter where your interests lie in local food, you can tweat to your heart's content.

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