For many, food blogging might seem like an easy breezy task but it’s actually not as simple as just taking a shot and then relishing the food served on your table to write a short review. Choosing your food, getting your content ready, styling it all right, making sure the light is perfect are a few among the million things that need be taken into consideration when you are a food blogger.
Speaking to a few food bloggers around town made us aware of that fact and we also realized (once again) that there are no shortcuts to success. And especially since blogging today is such a competitive space, you have to up your game if you want to make an impact. Here, three food bloggers who are doing just that share their inspiring stories.
This page on Instagram was initially named siddharth.food. For Siddharth Ghimire, it was like a diary full of fond food memories. After all, according to Ghimire, food is everything. But he quickly realized that the page was becoming big and more and more people were going through his posts when he started getting a lot of messages and comments. Some asked for food menus and others for restaurant reviews.
Today Nepal.food has around 114k followers and Ghimire claims he gets offers for restaurant and food reviews every single day. From five star hotels and food festivals to coffee joints and local eateries, everyone wants to gets get featured on the Nepal.food Instagram page.
“I started doing reviews just for myself and for fun. I guess my followers took me too seriously,” says Gimire who is currently studying filmmaking. He claims that clicking good pictures and making food videos come naturally to him. “I enjoy taking photos and making videos. But what I struggle with is writing the description of the restaurants and reviewing the food. But I have tried to improve my reviews over the span of two years,” says Ghimire.
Whenever restaurants call him for a food review, he warns them beforehand that his reviews are always honest. “I don’t want to sugarcoat my reviews because I feel I have a responsibility towards my followers,” says Ghimire adding that he knows a lot about different types of cuisines because his father is a chef and he has learnt a lot from him.
However, he does not enjoy local food. “I lived in a hostel for almost all my school life. That is why I am not attached to local food and my followers know that,” says Ghimire.
He has also started his own YouTube channel now. Through the channel, he intends to portray stories of different restaurants. “I want to get into filmmaking in the future. Making food videos at different places is helping me practice storytelling and filmmaking,” says Ghimire adding that he wants his food vlogs (video blogs) to be a little different than the conventional ones.
His parents, however, do not know that he is one of the most sought after food bloggers in town. “I had a job and my parents still think I hold that job. They have no idea about my Instagram page. Whenever I tell my mother about my food reviews, she refuses to believe me,” he says.
But there he is. And now, he has even started getting invitations from different parts of Nepal. “People from all over the country want me to taste their food. So I guess I will be expanding Nepal.food and exploring cuisines outside the valley too,” concludes Ghimire.
Ruchika Shakya, Meena Dolma, Priyanka Shakya, and Sabrina Bajracharya are four sisters who started their food page almost a year and half ago. They changed one of their private accounts into a food blog, which is now known as Foodiesistersnepal. “It was just a crazy idea we had during a sleepover that made us start this blog,” says Bajracharya .
“While other sisters go to watch movies or go shopping when they meet up, all we did was hopped from one restaurant to another every time we met,” says Dolma adding that all of them are food lovers who would, at the blink of an eye, choose food over anything else that is offered to them.
The best thing about food blogging for them is getting the chance to explore new restaurants and trying out new food from different places. In the one and half years of food blogging, they have had countless interactions with many food lovers and passionate owners of so many restaurants.
“One of the best feelings about blogging is when our followers ask us for recommendations to celebrate their big days. It really makes us feel like we were a part of their celebrations,” says Shakya.
They also like reading comments and messages on their page. “I remember one of our followers told us we should be called Laphing sisters rather than Foodiesisters because we used to post pictures of Laphing almost every day. I found that really funny,” says Bajracharya.
But according to them, food blogging is not as easy as it seems. “Running a food blog is a very expensive hobby. The page requires a lot of time and effort and it is very hard to maintain consistency during our exams since we are all students,” says Shakya.
They also have a YouTube channel and in the future they intend to turn their Foodiesisters brand into a food network where they can not only share their own recipes but review different places all over the world as well.
Hidden behind the username Flavours.nepal on Instragram is Tilak Bhurtel, a medical student at Kathmandu Medical College. Bhurtel claims that he has been a food lover ever since he can remember. “I used to be tall and petit. Yet I ate the most in my family. Even today, a huge plate has been reserved for my meals at home. A small plate with little food can never serve my appetite,” says Bhurtel.
Bhurtel and his friend used to love going to different restaurants around town. He had more food pictures than his own photos saved in his phone gallery. One day when his phone storage was running out of space, he decided to upload the photos on Instagram instead of deleting them.
“I was shocked by the amount of followers I got in a span of one year,” says Bhurtel who believes one of the reasons for his success is because many can relate to him. He doesn’t always go to fancy restaurants and upload photos of expensive dishes. And that’s what people like about him.
Bhurtel is all set to become a doctor soon. Yet he believes that he will continue with his passion of food blogging. “I do not intend to leave Kathmandu so Flavours.nepal will always be an integral part of my life. I won’t stop posting on that page,” says Bhurtel. His food stories are famous not only on Instagram but also among his neighbors and relatives. “My neighbors often take advice from me when they are looking for a good place to eat. I also feel very happy when I get messages and comments asking for suggestions,” says Bhurtel.
Restaurant reviews and food reviews don’t always go as planned for Bhurtel. He remembers a time when he had gone to a restaurant with his friends. The ambience, food and drinks of that place were outstanding. He had a lot of fun with his friends but was unable to put up a good blog post in that chaos.
Sometimes, if he has to do two or three restaurant reviews in a day, he does get slightly overwhelmed. “We all go through those days when we do not feel like having all our meals from restaurants and crave a home cooked meal. I guess it is normal,” says Bhurtel whose favorite dish is Crispy Chicken.
But he also loves experimenting with different cuisines whenever he gets the time to do so. He believes he is the perfect fit for a food blogger because he likes all aspects of food – from scouring for ingredients and cooking to tasting and reviewing.