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Food porn alert: Meet some of India’s most popular food bloggers

Food critics be damned! Nothing gets the digestive juices flowing more readily than the food porn dished out by these new-age digital connoisseurs

brunch Updated: Apr 01, 2018 08:37 IST
food porn,food,food bloggers
These food bloggers are taking Instagram by the minute!

For so many of us, food is an almost sacrosanct feature of living well. Which is why food blogs and vlogs are so popular on social media. There are all kinds of food blogs – some focus on health, others on tradition, still others on quick recipes. Some are the manifestation of a hobby, some are meant for business. But each kind has a hardcore band of followers. Meet some of India’s most popular purveyors of food porn.

“I critiqued restaurants so harshly that my wife named my blog ‘Finely Chopped’”: Kalyan Karmakar (@finelychopped: 30.3k followers)

Kalyan Karmakar began food blogging in 2007

For Kalyan Karmakar, food blogging began in 2007. Often he critiqued restaurants so harshly that his wife decided to name the blog ‘Finely Chopped’.

Kalyan believes there is never a bad time for people to start food blogging, and there is no particular style necessary. “There is always place for a distinct, passionate voice to be heard,” he asserts.

However, you have to work at it. “Most blogs wither away after a post or two,” he points out. “Sustainability is the key. The best part about my blog is the access it has given me to chefs and writers.”

“Someone called me a fairy on Instagram!”: Nandita Iyer
(@saffrontrail: 39.6k followers)

Nandita Iyer says everything is SEO-driven now

While blogging about food is enjoyable, it can also be annoying. “Everything is SEO-driven now,” laments Nandita Iyer. “It means I must compartmentalise my thoughts to optimise hits on my blog. And it is important to develop a niche early on, or you’re just writing for yourself.”

Nandita started blogging in 2006 on a whim. By now, she says, the process of food blogging has become labour-intensive. “You have to research the key words, photograph the food, and then edit it. It becomes tiresome,” she says.

But a loyal readership developed over the years is highly gratifying, she reasons.

“We don’t review upon invitation”: Alison & Sumanto Ray
(@twomouthsfull: 5.3k followers)

Sumanto and his wife Allison began reviewing restaurants a few months ago.

Sumanto and his wife Allison make it a point to go on two holidays every year, love to cook, and throw memorable parties. New kids on the blogging block, they began reviewing restaurants and food a few months ago.

“Everyone has always sought out restaurants based on our recommendations and told us that they agreed with our experiences,” says Sumanto.

Restaurateurs and event managers often invite him to review their food, but he almost never accepts invitations. “They’d expect me to write something nice,” Sumanto explains. “I prefer going a few days later, tasting the food and giving honest reviews.”

“I got trolled for using cheese in avial!”: Monika Manchanda
(@monikamanchanda :12.3k followers)

Monika Manchanda resorts to seasonal cooking sometimes

Monika Manchanda’s impeccably indexed blog began as a diary, but changed over the years to something structured for an audience. “For example, I resort to seasonal cooking. Or there is a different theme every month,” she says.

Monika does two to three blog posts every week, and each entails six to seven hours of work: cooking, plating, photographing, editing, posting on various platforms, and audience engagement. The latter, she says, is the most humbling part of blogging. She remembers posting a recipe for peanut chutney, something she learnt from her mother-in-law, and hundreds of people recreated the recipe, making her thrilled.

“Pongal photographs badly, but tastes great”: Uma Raghuraman
(@masterchefmom: 60.1k followers)

Uma Raghuraman now has 900 online recipes

Uma Raghuraman proudly says she comes from ‘a foodie family that especially loves homemade food’. Cooking three meals a day for the 21 years of her marriage, plus tweaking her style according to her children’s wants, she acquired such a huge store of recipes that her kids suggested she start a blog.

She now has 900 online recipes. And she also joined Instagram.

Uma is sustained by the comments left by her followers, and the awards she’s received, such as the Saveur Blog Award for Best Food Instagram 2017. “When people recreate your recipe, it is the ultimate validation,” says Uma.

“Big boo boo? i edited out adding salt in my dum aloo video!”: Archana Hebbar
(@hebbars.kitchen: 274k followers)

Archana started blogging as a hobby and it became a passion-cum-profession

Archana Hebbar’s Hebbar’s Kitchen, a blog plus YouTube channel, started as a hobby but is now “a passion-cum-profession”. “After I got married and moved to Australia, I wanted to continue in software, but couldn’t get a job without local experience,” says Archana. “To kill time, I started my blog.”

Archana keeps videos short, shares step-by-step photo recipes, adds notes for every recipe on her website, and answers queries online. Her only challenge, she says, is developing recipes in response to reader requests.

On the plus side, everything she cooks for the blog winds up on her dinner table!

“I made a tart from Nagpur oranges, but captioned it ‘Nasik’ oranges!”: Ankiet Gulabani
(@ankietgulabani: 28.4k followers)

Ankiet Gulabani had to force himself to be disciplined

Two successive setbacks in 27-year-old Ankiet Gulabani’s professional life drove him to set up his own blog in late 2016: the shutting down of the Indian edition of the BBC Good Food magazine and the closure of the food and drink website The Eat Post, both places where he worked.

“I decided to fall back on myself,” says Ankiet, hoping to make a living from his blog. Since he had already been testing recipes at home, his main investment was ingredients.

“I had to force myself to be disciplined,” he says. “And I didn’t give income much thought initially. What I knew very clearly was that to make this work, I had to deliver quality content for my readers. I created around 20-25 recipes and put them up. Soon people and brands came to me.”

(Join the conversation on twitter using #BestFoodBlogs )

From HT Brunch, April 1, 2018

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First Published: Mar 31, 2018 21:51 IST