Since I have entered into the crazy and fun world of food blogging, I have learned something.
I have learned that I have found the perfect job for me, being able to do three things that make me happy: cook, practice photography, and write.
I have also learned that food blogging can be quite a solitary activity. For the most part, food bloggers do everything themselves. From the recipe developing to the cooking to the photo editing to the writing and publishing, it is usually a one-person show.
And I think there are many food bloggers who prefer to keep it that way, staying hidden behind the scenes.
I, on the other hand, am excited about getting to meet others who share the same interests and passions. There is still so much for me to learn about being a food blogger, and while there is a wealth of information on the web that is informative and enlightening, it can, simultaneously, be confusing, overwhelming, and frustrating.
Suffice it to say, being able to meet face-to-face with others is so much more appealing. I can ask questions and also learn about someone's personal stories and inspirations, which only give depth to the content they post. There is also the personal connection that you can't get through a computer.
Did you know that food blogging has grown to be such a huge industry that there are actually food blogging conferences and conventions held in various parts of the world? These conferences provide the setting for people to do just what I have mentioned...to meet face to face and network, to learn from asking questions, and to make personal connections.
Unfortunately, there haven't been any food blogger conferences set in Asia...yet! So at the moment, it's not feasible for me to be flying to the US or Europe from Hong Kong for a long weekend to be able to participate in these sorts of events.
What's a Hong Kong food blogger like me to do?
I decided to take it upon myself to create my own networking by reaching out to food bloggers myself!
I started locally in Hong Kong, and then I decided to reach out to food bloggers during our recent summer trip to the US and Canada. I didn't always get responses to my messages...but that's okay! The good news is that there were a few who DID respond and agreed to meet with me!
So this past summer, over a simple cup of coffee or quick meal, I got to meet each of the wonderful food bloggers I've listed below. They all have different stories, different philosophies, and different inspirations, and they share their culinary ideas in different ways.
But they all share a core passion for food and cooking. And eating. 🙂
I took away something from every conversation and each person inspired me in different ways, leaving me feeling only energized and excited about what I was doing. It was MUCH better than just looking up things on the web! I absolutely enjoyed every meet-up and look forward to keeping in touch with them. I also can't wait to meet more food bloggers!
Please be sure to check out their blogs in the links below to read about them and to see what amazing things they're cooking up!
Mia and Zoe from Unconventional Cooks
Mia and Zoe are twin sisters behind Unconventional Cooks. They were born and raised in Hong Kong, and are currently attending university in the US. I was already following them on Instagram and reached out to them via a personal message, asking if they'd be willing to meet up. Luckily for me, they replied and were going to be back home in Hong Kong for the summer, providing me with the perfect chance to meet up with them. Over poke bowls for lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, the three of us talked for well over an hour about each of our inspirations, struggles, and aspirations for our blogs.
Besides being twins, these two young ladies share a unwavering passion for food and cooking, focusing primarily on dishes that are gluten-, sugar-, and dairy-free. They stumbled upon this route when health issues threw a wrench into their love of food, but it has all worked out in their favor as is evident on their blog. They are constantly and tirelessly working on new dishes that fit into their dietary restrictions, but that also look and taste delicious. How they keep it up with their studies, I have no idea, but it's really inspiring!
Visit Mia and Zoe's blog at https://unconventionalcooks.com/.
Denise from Urb'n'Spice
I decided that I would try to meet food bloggers while my family and I were on summer vacation in Canada. Why only limit it to only where I live??
While in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, I got to meet Denise of Urb'n'Spice. We met one morning at the ever popular Marmalade Cat Cafe, and over cups of tea and coffee, I learned about how this grandmother (she doesn't look like a grandmother, by the way) earned her degree in culinary school and how she loves focusing on local ingredients and cooking for her grandchildren. She's all about bringing that love of food and home to her blog.
She hadn't started out on a culinary path originally, but as she and I had discussed, there's nothing wrong with changing directions in life and it's never too late to dive into something you discover you love to do. In many cases, it's the best thing that can happen to you!
Visit Denise's blog at https://urbnspice.com/.
Sean from Diversivore
In Vancouver, Sean from Diversivore agreed to meet up with me, not only to have a chat over coffee, but also to give me a tour of a local favorite produce market! Wandering markets is one of my favorite things to do, and the Richmond Country Farms did not disappoint! Besides the fact that all the beautiful fruits and vegetables were a feast for the eyes, Sean also spent time explaining what certain items were, their origins, and what dishes they suited. This meet-up turned out to be educational as well as social!
Upon learning that Sean's training is in teaching and science, it made it all the more interesting that he dived head-first into the world of food blogging. With such a background, his recipes, of course, come with a twist. He likes to focus on the ingredients, some of them less well-known (or completely unknown in some cases), and writes about their origins, cooking qualities, and what you can do with them. He brings his teaching and science knowledge to the world of food, not only writing about dish itself but the where's, what's, how's, and why's about it.
Visit Sean's blog at https://www.diversivore.com/.
Lisa from Volpe
Also while in Vancouver, I had the joy of meeting Lisa from Volpe Artisan Baker! Lisa and met over coffee and ended up chatting for 2 hours! (We probably could have gone on for longer if I didn't have somewhere else to be!)
Lisa's brand Volpe (it means "fox" in Italian!) is centered around the amazing baked goods she creates and sells at local farmer's markets. Her beautiful creations are inspired by her Italian family and heritage, but she is also inspired by the diverse culture-rich city in which she lives. She, too, had started in a non-food related vocation, but as I was finding with just about everyone I met, she found her passion in food and changed paths. Now she's sharing that passion with anyone who wants to enjoy her artisan baked goods! (And I, for one, cannot wait until next summer when I can meet up with her again and try some myself! They look amazing!)
If you are a Vancouver local, check her schedule to see when she'll be at a Farmer's Market near you and stop by!
Visit Lisa's blog at https://www.lisaposatska.com/.
Mandy from Lady and Pups
This is Mandy from Lady and Pups, and imagine my surprise when I found out that she lives right here in my hood, in Hong Kong! I had already been following her on Instagram for a while and was always in awe of her stunning photos, honest writing, and unique style. So to find out she was literally right here...how could I not reach out to her??
Luckily for me, she responded to my message and we met for coffee! We chatted for nearly 4 hours (!!!), talking about everything from family, life, our stories...oh, and food blogging, too! Her recipes can be considered adventurous, but they are fascinating nonetheless. And the photos, for me, are mesmerizing and make me totally want to dive in and try what she's making, no matter what it is! She is a self-proclaimed cynic and unapologetically honest. I came away feeling like she is an example of a food blogger who really isn't afraid to tell it like it is, and while I was already familiar with these qualities in her posts, it was refreshing and delightful to experience it in person.
And if you're wondering, yes, she does have pups, and she posts about them often on Instagram. 🙂
Visit Mandy's blog at http://ladyandpups.com/.