Julia Child has said, “People who love to eat are always the best people”. I remember this as I sit in an authentic Sushi restaurant in Japan, taking in the culture and ambience of a place so new, so unprecedented. An array of unique and scrumptious sushi on the table awaits as I click pictures to forever capture these incredible memories.
After spending the entire day marvelling at the beauty of Japan and its heritage, lifestyle and people; I was excited to finally meet my true love – food. With each leisurely sip of my Sake, I look back in time and wonder how I had reached this summit of success.
I began my Instagram food blogging journey in 2016, as an acne-prone 20-year-old guy, whose passion for food surpassed the love for video games and even, comics. I was in awe of the world, Instagram, and its endless possibilities. I am a die-hard foodie who used to spent most of his pocket-money on trying out everything at the college canteen and then, for some more.
I’ll be honest, the first year I was on Instagram, I didn’t really know what I was doing. There wasn’t a particular focus or a theme on my account. The posting schedule was a mess, and the visuals were basic at best. With only a couple of hundred friends as followers, the motivation to better myself and my posts was lacking.
Soon enough I dived into the deep end of the social media pool, and discovered the potential for food blogging. Food is a basic staple of every single human’s life. From Russia to India and China to the U.S., food connected us at a fundamental level.
I stepped up my research by following culinary shows and experts, chefs and cooks, and food bloggers who had already made a mark. With TV shows like MasterChef, Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, I broadened my knowledge about the intricacies involved in the art of cooking, plating, and so much more. I learnt that ‘food blog’ is an umbrella term, and cooking posts, restaurant reviews, niche blogs, and a lot more form the entirety of it.
I take a glimpse into my past to the day I declared that I wanted to be an Instagram food blogger. The reactions ranged from horror to shock to anger. My family tried to talk me out of it, claiming that I wouldn’t be able to make a decent earning. Friends were concerned about my mental state as no one they knew had ever attempted something so new and bizarre. There was a lot of pressure to give up and take up a traditional “normal” job that paid well. But I knew in my heart that I would never scale the mountain of happiness if I gave up on my dream.
And perseverance did pay well. The biggest moment of joy for me was when I received a direct message on Instagram from a guy in Germany. He was searching for authentic food reviews on Indian food from genuine, local people, and had found my account. With a trip to India planned for the next month, he struck up a conversation with me to better understand the Indian cuisine. That developed into a great friendship, and when Jared visited India, we met.
I took him to some great hidden cafes and amazing restaurants that served food unlike any other. He was glad he found someone with experience and thorough knowledge while I relished in the fact that my passion had given me a wider audience. As George Bernard Shaw had once said, “There is no sincerer love than the love of food”.
I truly fell head over heels in love with the art of food. The culinary science had captured my attention, and I was chasing a dream that most people had deemed it as foolishness. I remember the very first call I received from a popular website that home-delivered specific ingredients with recipes. The company needed someone with a good amount of reach to provide a review of products. It was this first paid gig that completely changed the game. With monetary compensation for my efforts, I chased away the remaining clouds of doubt. I invested in a great camera to boost the quality of my food photos.
And with that, I began climbing the ladder of Instagram success which needed only a few tools, but a lot of creativity and hard work. With over 3 million followers, my love for food was being shared all around the world. From chefs to amateur cooks, everyone wanted to know what I would be trying next, what sparked my interest, and what kind of food I craved. I started getting a lot more brand deals and review requests, and restaurants asking for a shoutout.
My lowest point as an Instagram blogger hit right as I gained four million followers. I had put up a review of a well-established eatery that had gained a bad reputation recently. Since the place belonged to a veteran actor, my reviews and posts exposing the low quality of food and disastrous service did not go well with a lot of followers. I received threats and a few fanatics reached my doorstep, ready to bash me up. I still shiver as I recall that frightful moment as I dialed the police. That incident set me back, and I stopped posting for a while.
It was a new experience that had left me lost and bewildered. There were times when I thought about giving it up for good. Soon after the incident as I was sitting on the couch at 2 am, my father walked in and sat beside me. In a pure moment of his fatherly love, he gave me hug and said, “I know you are scared and it’s completely okay. But remember that criticism, trolls, and even, threats cannot keep you away from your passion. You were born to show the world how food can transform your life, and you will continue to do it. I stand with you”.
My father’s words gave me strength, and I decided that my journey as a food blogger was not over, rather was just getting started. There were so many cuisines to try and places to explore, all for the love for food, that needed to be highlighted to the world. And I kept going. As the Instagram food blogging community grew, I connected with food lovers around the globe. We shared ideas, gave tips, and invited each other to taste world cuisines.
Today as I sit in a small cafe in Tel Aviv, Israel; gorging the delicious and mouth-watering food and clicking away pictures after pictures, I feel happy. The path from a food enthusiast to a food blogger was a tough, but needless to say, an exciting adventure.
The feeling is surreal, and my joy truly knows no bounds as I post yet another piece of food art, ‘Bread, Butter and Instagram’.
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