The Thief Speaks, Still A Wanker

That thieving Voncigars came out to speak, quite a bit in fact, on a rambling email to me (two now in fact), a
comment on Chez Pim,
a comment on Food Blog S’cool, and an ‘editorial’
note appended to the post he stole from me on his blog –all of them
apologetic sounding, and quite indignant at that. Yet in none of them did he take responsibility or admit culpability for the theft he’d himself committed.

I mean, does this sound like a sincere apology to you?

"We have published a post (Paco Meralgo) using original
pictures/content from "Chez Pim" without properly crediting "Chez Pim"
for these. We do apologize for that to "Chez Pim" and its readers. We
have removed the pictures and added an adequate editors-comment to the
respective post. We hope that this matter can be concluded that way and
would ask everybody to abstain from leaving vulgar and obscene,
anonymous comments on our site. Again, we do apologize.

Daniel/editor VONCIGARS"

This is hardly a mea culpa. He made it sound as if this all happened inadvertently, and somehow not with a deliberate intent to steal. And what’s with the royal we anyway? Bullocks. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he’s not sorry about anything
but having been caught. Pathetic. Really.

It is even more outrageous when you look at the content of his post after he had edited it and removed my pictures.* Let me
show you two original passages from Chez Pim and two passages that are still on his blog after he had "immediately corrected
this situation."

First this one from Chez Pim..

"Paco Meralgo is a tapas bar in a town full of tapas bars, Barcelona. With a roster of names like Pinotxo and Quim in the Boqueria market and the world famous –you either love it or hate it- Cal Pep, just to name a few, it’s easy for yet another tapas bar to get lost in the fray. Paco Meralgo distinguish themselves with not only good tapas fares –easy enough to find in this town- but by opening every day of the week. Now that’s something you don’t find every day. Ha ha –I’m just so full of puns today. Even more amazing is that they somehow manage to have fresh seafoods even on Sundays and Mondays. Never mind what that Bourdain told you. It’s really quite safe to eat seafood at Paco Meralgo even on those days."

compare to this on the thief’s blog..

"The worlds capitol for Tapas (according to me!) is Barcelona. With a roster of iconic Tapas places in Barcelona, like Pinotxo and Quim in the Boqueria market and the world famous Cal Pep, just to name a few–it is hard for any Tapas bar to get above the radar. Paco Meralgo distinguish themselves with sensational Tapas fares and they are open every day of the week. That is almost unheard of in Spain. Even more amazing is that Paco Meralgo manages to offer fresh seafoods even on Sundays and Mondays. The quality at Paco Meralgo’s so superior that it is really safe to eat raw seafood at Paco Meralgo."

and another paragraph from Chez Pim..

"What did we eat there? Well, the thing not to miss is the salt cod salad Esqueixada, served in the simple and traditional manner, with chopped tomatoes, a few olives, and dressed with good olive oil. There was also the Pa amb Tomàquet, the ubiquitous Catalan bread rubbed with tomato, which was particularly good here. We also had plump oysters –yes, yes, on a Monday- and juicy Razor clams. Being a lover of all things fried, I really enjoyed the fried artichokes –trimmed, sliced crosswise to look something like vegan crabs and fried in olive oil- and the tempura fried Calçot (kal-sot), a milder, sweeter variety of spring onions. The fried Calçot was served with a great big bowl full of Romesco sauce. We also had some good Chipirones, little baby squids, and yummy Padron peppers."

compare that passage to this one from the thief’s blog..

"What to eat when there? Well, the thing not to miss is the salt cod salad Esqueixada, served with tomato, olives and olive oil. They also offer a delicious Pa amb Tomàquet–a Catalan bread rubbed with tomato. From their raw bar get plump oysters and the juiciest Razor clams you’ll ever have. For lovers of all things fried; go for the fried artichokes and the tempura-style fried Calçot, a milder, sweeter variety of spring onions. The fried Calçot is served with a nice bowl of Romanesco sauce. Also do not miss out on the Chipirones, little baby squids with delicious pardon peppers. There is simply too much good options to mention."

What say you?
What say me?
What a wanker!
And one who evidently doesn’t know a Romesco from a Romanesco.

Besides what he took from me, I’ve also told you about the photo he stole from Clement and the wine tasting note he took from Cellartracker. All that stuff is -amazingly enough- hardly the corpus of this whole affair. In fact, it’s merely the tip of the iceberg. In his single post on breakfast around the world which he claimed to have "made the effort to summarize the few great spots that [he has] found, whilst traveling around [the world]", he freely helped himself to the texts -in most cases verbatim- from Frommer’s, Fodor’s, AOL City Guides, The Independent (London), Carlson Travels, the Biltmore hotel’s site,,, and a site called The World’s Best Bars sponsored by a whisky company. I could go on to show you how he’s also stolen from the Robb Report or a wine seller’s site, or many others, but I just don’t have that kind of time.

Oh, yes, and as Carol of Paris Breakfasts pointed out, Voncigar’s May 10th post on WD50 contains photos he’s taken from me too. In fact, every single one of them is mine. Unbelievable.

The world of food blogging is a congenial one. We are friendly and mostly helpful to each other, and no one wants to disturb the peace. These thieves are taking advantage of that goodwill. They are counting on the fact that most bloggers -when discovering these hideous incidents- would just shake their head incredulously and perhaps fire off an indignant email to the offending party, then just leave it at that, feeling powerless to correct the situation, or too bashful to make a public stink, or perhaps not wanting to drive any traffic to the thieving blogs. That’s probably why these thieving bastards are getting away with it. I’m not going to let it happen here.

Clearly, stealing from me was hardly his first time; together we –that’s you and me, and you- might just make it his last. Check out his archives, and if you see that he’s stolen from you too, call him on it, shame him in public, and report his ass. Pardon my French.


* He removed the Paco Meralgo photos he stole from me off that post, and replaced them by freshly stolen photos from god knows where, since there is still no photo credit and seeing that his sorry behind has never seen the inside of that tapas bar, or even Barcelona, probably.

(Christine of Chez Christine identified one of the new photos as hers.)


Note to thief: You are still obviously unclear on the concept of fair use of other people’s contents or photographs. Let me try and clue you in; your edited post (get PDF here)
is still plagiarism whereas this post on Slash Food, referring to exactly the same Paco Meralgo post on Chez Pim, and even using a photo from that post, is an entirely fair use.

And, yes, my Creative Commons license allows people a certain liberty on the contents of Chez Pim -I believe in a sharing web- but the main key to that license is ATTRIBUTION, ATTRIBUTION, ATTRIBUTION. It’s all simple enough, really. Either you are pretending you didn’t get it or you are an imbecile. Either way it does not look good on you.


Here is another good post on what to do when someone steals your content by Cybele of Candy Blog.

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21 Responses to “The Thief Speaks, Still A Wanker

  • Suse said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 2:06pm

    Outrageous behaviour and well said.

  • Juliette said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 4:53pm

    argh, that just makes me FUME! us food bloggers are in it for the love and the fun of sharing good food, and to no small extent for the conviviality that springs out of this free, open forum of communication. way to call this jerk-off on his outrageous behavior! yeah, “apology” my ass. let’s get rid of him!

  • Chez Christine said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 6:17pm

    Turns out he stole one of the current Barcelona tapas photos from my site! Trying to get him to take it down now, thanks for the heads up!

  • foodette said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 7:21pm

    Unbelieveable! That fake apology is rediculous!

  • Jack (no help whatsoever) said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 7:21pm

    Off with his fingers and burn him at the stake I say!
    (Or if this is too messy, make him pay for your dinner at Bern’s Steak House!)

  • Laurent said:
    June 10th, 2007 at 9:03pm

    Hi Pim,
    I really love your blog and fully understand your reaction. Believe me: I would be angry too. However, I think that you should move on and focus on what you do best: write about food. That guy stealing your content is just the evidence of what we all know: you are great at what you do. So don’t waste that much time with the thieves (I think you already gave this guy too much publicity) and give us more exciting articles about your culinary experiences.

  • Maria Padron said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 12:57am

    It’s really interesting to compare the almost identical texts and see that he has made it so much worse with so little change.
    Your writing style is personal, funny and very well written: “I did this, I enjoyed that, what I liked most was this…”
    His is authoritarian, full of small errors (repetitions etc.) and depersonalized: “Do this, order that, this is the best…”
    The former makes us visit your blog week after week, the latter – besides being theft – is just plain boring.

  • Clement said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 4:06am

    Hi Pim, thanks for the heads up. I’m going to ask him to remove my photo asap. It’s ridiculous the extent to which he’s stealing other peoples’ work, and it’s obviously deliberate.

  • kayenne said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 9:32am

    hmm… this is probably extra work… but i’ve seen some bloggers(i think orangette used to do it?) “signing” their photos by adding their “name” or a logo (via photo editor?) somewhere in the picture. while it’s not an assurance, it may at least make it harder or more troublesome to steal.

  • Rose Kelley said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 12:40pm

    Have you read his profile? It is actually very funny and goes way beyond a simple spell-check. For someone educated in Switzerland (presumably at a top-notch boarding school), he should know the following:
    “I’m a 43 year old Caucasian male. I was born somewhere in the Middle East and later went to boarding school in Switzerland. I have traveled the world and I have lived in many places in Europe, Asia and in the US. I have made it once from rag to riches but due to my craziness lost it all. I’m now on my second turn ritches…”
    ~ That would be RICHES, not “ritches”
    “…with a very different set of perspectives on live, love, the world, being successful and above all how to live the good live.”
    ~ I believe he means “with a very different set of perspectives on LIFE, love, the world, being successful and — above all — how to live the good LIFE.”
    “Expect to get my latest perspective on what is happening in our world pared with even more important questions with regards to the good life.”
    ~ PAIRED – Not “pared”
    “Food, wine, cigars, sprits, libations and all other questions of diversions and pleasures are front and center here every day.”
    ~ SPIRITS – Not “sprits”
    “Sign up for my free e-mail subscription and you will receive my daily insides into the world of Diversions and Enlightment!”
    ~ ENLIGHTENMENT – Not “enlightment”

  • PNWCheese said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 1:34pm

    A cautionary tale: my blog was plagiarized by someone in a newspaper article – see link to my post on the issue below.
    Unfortunately I did not notice for about a year or so, making the issue tough to correct. While you can ask the publication to publish a retraction, once the article has been published there is not a whole lot else you can do. I’ve chosen to publicize the issue on my blog in the hopes that it follows this guy wherever he goes.

  • miyu said:
    June 11th, 2007 at 3:30pm

    As an English teacher, I just couldn’t resist delurking and posting a comment. He’s still at it. His most current post on Shirataki noodles has lifted a sentence from the lowcarbdiets guide at aboutDOTcom. Who knows where else the rest of his information is being stolen from?
    I share your sense of outrage Pim. Unfortunately though, plagiarism seems to be an accepted norm (or that’s what I’m seeing in my classes, anyway). *sigh* I don’t know which aggravates me more, the ease with which material can be copied from the internet or the stupidity of plagiarists who think that we won’t be able to trace their theft by using the same search engines they used to steal in the first place.

  • radish said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 4:08am

    this is horrible.. wow. and his site is under the creative common license as well – which, i would dare venture say, is a bit ironic… i just don’t understand why he plain out stole and didn’t give credit to you and to others… this kind of behavior is not tolerated in the blogging community where most of us pride ourselves on original content and giving credit where it’s due.

  • Mondira said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 8:25am

    Are you sure he is writing in English?
    “The second Pierre Hermé creation that you need to know about and taste is called the Ispahan. The macaroons for this piece are made with rose water and the cream between them is a combination rose pedal’s and lychee’s decorated with fresh raspberry’s.”

  • Sandy said:
    June 12th, 2007 at 12:39pm

    Plagiarism is rampant all over the internet, not just in blogs, I suspect, because of its relative anonymity.

  • The Bold Soul said:
    June 13th, 2007 at 10:59am

    If you can prove he stole portions of his copy from published works like Fodors, Biltmore et al, why not contact those authors/publishers and alert them to the plagiarism? They’re big corporations with high-priced lawyers who could shut him down right quick. And fine his sorry ass to boot. Hit him where it hurts… in the bank account.

  • Pim said:
    June 14th, 2007 at 8:13am

    @Suse & Juliette: Thank you. It is outrageous!
    @Christine: I’m glad you found your photo. We shouldn’t let him get away with it.
    @foodette: absolutely ridiculous, yes.
    @Jack: burning him might just be more stink than I could handle.
    @Laurent: I don’t plan on writing about this guy forever, no worries.
    @Maria: Thank you.
    @Clement: no worries. When I saw that picture I knew I’d seen it somewhere before.
    @kayenne: I’ve seen the watermark stuff too. I might have to do it.
    @Rose Kelley: Well, his profile might just be his best creative -and original- work, so far.
    @PNWcheese: That’s even more outrageous. Did you get any reply from his so called editors at all? What did they say?
    @miyu: I don’t know if he’ll ever stop. There is just something disturbingly and deeply wrong about this person. Having no sense of shame at all is one clear sign. Sad really.
    @radish: He should be ashamed of citing Creative Commons in support of his behavior. The use of the CC license should not just cover what *he* allows others to do with his content, but how he *himself* uses and respects the rights of the original creators as well. He’s clueless or shameless, either way it doesn’t look good.
    @Mondira: He’s a great writer for sure. Heh.
    @Sandy: Sad, isn’t it?
    @ The Bold Soul: That’s a good idea. I have a feeling he’s been stealing from those big sites way before he began stealing from me.

  • i hate thieves said:
    June 18th, 2007 at 1:36pm

    YOu can report him to:
    and his contact information is freely available on WHOIS. I won’t reprint it here, but you can get it. This is the time to send a registered letter demanding that he cease and desist to remove your content.
    For those who say she should move on, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – you can’t do that, because if you don’t, you lose protection later. What if someone comes along and steals EVERYTHING? And she tries to protect her work then? The thief could say, Well, she didn’t defend her content when a smaller person stole from her.
    I have been through this. I know.
    Protect your work and your copyright.

  • Figs Olives Wine said:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 10:18am

    I can’t believe I missed all this when it was happening. I am totally disgusted and just wrote him a strongly worded note. I am so glad you blew the whistle on this pig.

  • mocchiatta said:
    July 9th, 2007 at 1:41pm

    Man…that really sucks. I’m glad that you caught him in the act. These are your works and it’s just wrong for people to randomly plagiarize it. If the guy had used your work as reference for an original piece, that wouldn’t have been such a big deal. What he did was take your piece and claim it as your own. Dude…that’s STEALING! Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong! Ugh.
    Anywho, roll on with your blog ’cause it’s awesome!

  • HSawry said:
    February 5th, 2008 at 10:05am

    There really should be some kind of source for the “Internet’s Most Wanted”. A place to publish the thieves and bottom feeders of the WWW. Then again, as it has been repeatedly mentioned, that would only give the criminals more publicity….Damn them!

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