A swell eatery crops up every other day in the city, people eat — but not before snapping it up for Instagram. It might also garner as many likes as perhaps, a minor celebrity’s selfie. But that might now be considered too passé. Foodgramming has taken a turn with city folk posting pictures of not just what they eat out, but what they cook!
It doesn’t come as a surprise that most foodie folk with flying blogs and thousands of followers grew up around food, like Richa Gupta whose family loved to cook and eat, for instance. “Cooking came easily to me. I knew I could simplify it for others too,” says the writer, photographer and recipe developer at My Food Story that has over 14,000 followers on Instagram following her tiramisu parfaits and comforting congee. Thanks to the adoration, this isn’t a mere ‘hobby’ anymore.
“I always liked watching cookery shows and would try my hand at making something every other day. But when I moved to London for a little bit, and could get a lot more gorgeous looking produce, I got hooked to posting on Instagram too,” says Madhuri Aggarwal of MADaboutkitchen, a food stylist who has over 4,000 people following her crispy stacked jalebis and bowls of quintessential pineapple kesari baath. “My husband travelled a lot and I decided to go with him. It’s when I realised that if you wanted good food, you should learn to cook it,” says Dr Neha Mathur of Whisk Affair. “I started posting on Instagram to drive people looking at those pictures to see my blog with recipes as well,” says the dental surgeon who is now a thriving, full-time blogger with over 17,000 followers.
As they tell us, it’s also a matter of convenience, “Especially for a photographer like me, it’s difficult to find subjects. But food is something that’s within our reach and you can build an entire story around your table,” says Parvathy Ranjive of A CupCake for Love who has over 5,000 followers loving her piquant peach and thyme ice creams to her mother and grandmother’s antique recipes.
Perks of the trade
Since they aren’t your typical restaurant reviewers, their perks are quite different. “Your work literally takes you places – I spend every Sunday at Foodhall getting excited by fresh, organic produce being unboxed, or picking unique props at local stores,” says Parvathy. For others, it’s a different journey. “I was always a fussy eater and don’t like eating much. But I’ve loved cooking and now I know what goes into it. Even when I’m shooting for a client, you get to know how the food’s history is different from house to house,” notes Madhuri. With Richa posting almost three times a week, she says that their palates are pampered, “We try a lot of new things, and rarely eat the same stuff twice.”
Tips from the pros
“Always shoot in natural light. Artificial lighting flattens the food, taking away it’s delectable texture,” suggests Madhuri. “Don’t just shoot for the sake of posting – make sure the food looks visually appealing first. For instance, you can’t get a picture of noodle soup without making a couple of tweaks to it, else, it’ll just look like a blob!” quips Neha. “The food should be fresh,” adds Parvathy. “For instance, if you don’t cook the burger all the way through, it’ll stand better. Also, always find a sprig of mint or something green to lift it all up,” she adds.