Tourism Richmond's Michelle Dunn fielded so many calls after her agency last week announced a global search for a resident food blogger - the year-long gig includes a $50,000 salary, an apartment, gym membership and daily eating stipend - that she lost her voice.
"The response has been quite phenomenal," she whispered on Mar. 1, the day the application period opened.
Quite a few of the calls came from envious working food writers, who were salivating over the job description.
"The first thing they say is 'How can I apply? I'm quitting my job'," Dunn says. "That tells us we've hit the mark."
Richmond may have already gotten its money's worth in publicity: News of the position was trending on Twitter across Canada last week, and media outlets from Calgary to San Francisco ran stories that Dunn characterizes as "so positive." While tropical islands and the Vancouver Airport have awarded blogger positions in contests, Dunn says no tourism board has ever hired a blogger to focus on food.
Richmond's blogger will be required to each day visit one of the city's 800 restaurants and write about the meal. But Dunn stresses that culinary knowledge and technical skills alone are unlikely to get applicants very far in the hiring process.
"The ideal blogger is somebody who's a great communicator, who's charismatic, who's going to have a wonderful presence and be open-minded, because they have to try lots of new things," Dunn says.
The blogger will serve as a community gadabout, making friends and talking to journalists when he or she isn't eating - or building up an appetite for tomorrow's assignment at the Richmond Olympic Oval -- Dunn says. "You can only eat so much in a day," she explains.
So long as applicants can get clearance to work in Canada for a year, they're eligible for the job. Dunn says previous blogging experience isn't a prerequisite, although "if they already have a blog, fabulous, that means they're already familiar with the work."
"It's a job," Dunn says. "It's a unique job, and I like to think a very exciting job, but it's a job nonetheless."
Applications will be accepted through Mar. 31. As of last week, Tourism Richmond had picked up 400 additional Facebook friends, which Dunn thinks is a good indication of the deluge of applications ahead.
"It's guesswork at this point, but I think we'll get thousands," she says.