Can I use AI to write content instead of paying a professional writer?

I have played with ChatGPT and it’s impressive, but how does it perform in the real world? Could you save money by replacing a human creator with an artificial counterpart?

ChatGPT is a new AI technology designed to generate human-like responses to questions. It was launched to the public in November 2022 and quickly went viral as users shared examples of what it can write. From sonnets to screenplays, academic essays to advertising slogans, the potential is huge.

I have played with ChatGPT and it’s impressive, but how does it perform in the real world? Could it be used to write content for your website, blog or social media? Could you save money by replacing a human creator with an artificial counterpart? I decided to put these questions to the test.

We Make Media is the publisher of Taste Buds, the food and drink magazine for Devon. For my experiment, I asked ChatGPT to write a 1,000-word magazine article about Michelin-starred restaurants in Devon. 

There are four restaurants in Devon that hold a Michelin star: Gidleigh Park, Lympstone Manor, The Masons Arms and the Elephant Restaurant. With only four businesses to discover, I thought it would be a relatively easy task for ChatGPT to gather the correct information, but what about the finer details? Will the article pass the scrutiny of an expert with local knowledge?

Jennie Cooper, Editor of Taste Buds describes what she looks for in a well-written article. “Many writers believe they need to include a huge amount of vocabulary, sprinkling adjectives and adverbs and too many words throughout their copy. This makes for a complicated read, if not compiled by an experienced writer. Start with facts. Articles need to be factually correct and written clearly with the correct grammar and spelling. Understand what it is you are writing about - and get to the point. A general rule is to make one point per paragraph. Keep to your core message. Don’t take the reader on a journey somewhere else - it’s distracting and confusing.”

How does the article fare against the wrath of Jennie’s red pen?

Fact Check

ChatGPT included three businesses that do not have Michelin stars: The Coach House by Michael Caines, Thomas Carr @ The Olive Room and Riverford in Devon.

The Coach House by Michael Caines closed in February 2020. The restaurant has since reopened, but is no longer under the stewardship of Michael Caines. It has never held a Michelin star. Thomas Carr @ The Olive Room was awarded a Michelin star in 2017, but the restaurant announced its permanent closure in 2020. 

The standout error is the inclusion of Riverford in Devon. As well as naming the restaurant incorrectly (the restaurant is called Riverford Field Kitchen) the article names the Head Chef as Andy Tyrell, who is in fact the Head Chef at River Cottage in Axminster. Neither restaurant has ever held a Michelin star.

Of the four restaurants that were correctly listed, the facts are accurate with one exception. Gidleigh Park’s Executive Head Chef is Chris Eden, not Chris Simpson.

Editorial Style

Jennie’s appraisal: The basic layout of this ChatGPT article is sound. There’s an introduction, then each paragraph focuses on one restaurant. However, the article is far too heavy with its use of flowery language. How many times have you read copy that starts like this: “Devon, a county nestled in the heart of southwestern England, is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and charming coastal towns.” Choose other words than the over-used “nestled, picturesque, charming…” You wouldn’t speak like this, so simplify the language, before trying to add in any extras.

Say what you mean. I would write something like: “Devon, the largest county in the South West, is at the heart of the region’s food and drink scene. Farming, fishing and food production are internationally important, and our culinary expertise is recognised worldwide.” 

There will be times throughout a piece of writing where you can stretch the language an be little more playful or creative. But, not all time - less is more. 

Lastly, I don’t think there is a need for the final paragraph., It doesn’t add anything to the core message, rather summarises what you have read.


Can I use AI to write content instead of paying a professional writer? No

I remain excited about the prospect of AI. Already it is a helpful tool for generating ideas and in years to come its accuracy will improve. But capturing the desired tone or style for your businesses is a human trait. You are your business, you are unique, and AI can’t be trusted with something quite so important.

Jennie, your job is safe for another day!

Below is the unedited article generated by ChatGPT

Title: Culinary Gems: Exploring Michelin-Starred Restaurants in Devon

Devon, a county nestled in the heart of southwestern England, is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and charming coastal towns. However, it is also home to a flourishing culinary scene that has gained recognition on the international stage. Devon boasts a collection of esteemed Michelin-starred restaurants that showcase the region's exceptional produce, talented chefs, and commitment to gastronomic excellence. In this article, we embark on a delectable journey, exploring the exquisite dining experiences offered by Michelin-starred establishments across Devon.

Gidleigh Park - Unparalleled Elegance amidst Natural Beauty:

Nestled within the breathtaking Dartmoor National Park, Gidleigh Park stands as a beacon of culinary excellence. With its picturesque location, this country house hotel offers a sublime dining experience that complements the natural beauty of its surroundings. Under the guidance of Executive Chef Chris Simpson, Gidleigh Park crafts innovative and artfully presented dishes that celebrate locally sourced ingredients. From delicate seafood creations to succulent meats, each plate is a testament to the skill and creativity of the culinary team. 

The Elephant - A Sustainable Gastronomic Journey:

Located in the charming coastal town of Torquay, The Elephant has long been a staple of Devon's dining scene. Chef Simon Hulstone's passion for sustainable practices shines through in every aspect of the restaurant, from the sourcing of local, seasonal produce to the reduction of food waste. The Elephant's menu reflects a harmonious blend of classic and contemporary flavors, with dishes that highlight the region's abundant seafood offerings. With its commitment to sustainability and culinary excellence, The Elephant continues to impress both locals and visitors alike.

Riverford in Devon – An Epicurean Haven Rooted in Sustainability

Riverford's journey began in 1987 when Guy Watson, a visionary farmer, embarked on a quest to provide people with the freshest organic produce straight from the farm. This farm-to-table ethos sets Riverford apart, ensuring that ingredients are harvested at their peak freshness and bursting with flavor.

At the heart of Riverford's culinary philosophy lies a deep appreciation for simplicity, quality, and sustainability. The restaurant's team of talented chefs, led by Head Chef Andy Tyrell, create menus that celebrate the natural flavors of locally-sourced produce. Each dish is thoughtfully designed, with an emphasis on seasonality and showcasing the bountiful offerings of the Devonshire countryside. The Riverford dining experience is a harmonious fusion of innovation and tradition, where classic techniques are infused with a contemporary flair, resulting in dishes that both surprise and delight the palate.

The Masons Arms - A Hidden Gem in the Countryside:

Nestled in the rolling hills of Knowstone, The Masons Arms is a charming thatched-roof pub turned Michelin-starred restaurant. Chef Mark Dodson and his team offer a warm and inviting atmosphere that perfectly complements their outstanding culinary creations. The menu at The Masons Arms showcases the best of Devon's countryside, with dishes that highlight local game, foraged ingredients, and seasonal produce. From indulgent desserts to perfectly executed traditional fare, this hidden gem in the heart of Devon's countryside never fails to impress.

Lympstone Manor - A Gastronomic Paradise by the Exe Estuary:

Owned by renowned chef Michael Caines, Lympstone Manor is an opulent country house hotel and restaurant that offers an unforgettable dining experience. Perched on the banks of the Exe Estuary, the restaurant's location provides a stunning backdrop for the culinary delights created by Caines and his team. The menu at Lympstone Manor features a harmonious blend of classic French techniques and locally sourced ingredients, resulting in exquisite dishes that captivate the palate. With its elegant setting, sumptuous cuisine, and attentive service, Lympstone Manor is a must-visit for any food enthusiast.

Thomas Carr @ The Olive Room - A Taste of Coastal Perfection:

Situated in the charming seaside town of Ilfracombe, Thomas Carr @ The Olive Room offers a culinary journey inspired by the bountiful Devon coastline. Chef Thomas Carr's creative and innovative approach to seafood has earned him a Michelin star. With an ever-evolving menu that showcases the freshest catch of the day, The Olive Room delights diners with dishes that are both visually stunning and bursting with flavor. Impeccable service and a warm, relaxed ambiance complete the experience, making this restaurant a true coastal gem.

The Coach House by Michael Caines. 

Nestled within the beautiful grounds of Kentisbury Grange, The Coach House is another culinary gem by Chef Michael Caines. Awarded a Michelin star, the restaurant presents an exquisite blend of classic and contemporary cuisine, utilizing locally sourced ingredients to create dishes that reflect the region's character. The Coach House's warm and inviting atmosphere, combined with Caines' culinary finesse, guarantees an exceptional dining experience.

Devon's Michelin-starred restaurants exemplify the county's commitment to gastronomic excellence, showcasing a harmonious blend of innovative culinary techniques and locally sourced ingredients. From the elegant and refined settings of Gidleigh Park and Lympstone Manor to the cozy charm of The Masons Arms and The Elephant, each establishment offers a unique and unforgettable dining experience. With their collective dedication to showcasing Devon's culinary heritage, these Michelin-starred restaurants continue to solidify the county's place on the world gastronomic map. Whether you're a local or a visitor, a meal at one of these exceptional establishments is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you with cherished memories of Devon's culinary delights.

Jeff Cooper. 5 July 2023

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