Inspire each other
An IT professional as well as a food blogger Pallab De, enjoys experimenting with his food, trying new places and seeking new experiences. “Foodaholix by Sabyasachi Ray Choudhuri was the first food blog in Hyderabad and my inspiration. It made me realize the value of having your own space to share your own findings and opinions with other foodies, ”says De.
For Shagun Segan, who is a sales manager by profession, it was his constant travel and “exposure to a lot of great food” that inspired him to start his blog. “It all started five years ago, when I didn’t even know anything about food bloggers; I had only watched Rocky and Mayur on TV. But after moving to Hyderabad two years ago, I came across the local blogs of Vishal, Sabyasachi and Pallab. I loved reading what these guys had to say about the various restaurants in town. Until then, I would only click photos of the food I ate and post them online with lengthy descriptions. A friend suggested that I start a blog. And that’s how “Eat, Travel, Click” was born, he says. For Paromita Biswas, engineer, food blogs bring together her two passions: cooking and writing. “What drove me to create my blog is my desire to ensure that everyone can experience the best of Hyderabad’s culinary delights,” she adds.
A blogger is a one man army
While bloggers agree that they are lucky that they can do something they really enjoy, few credit them for all the hard work it takes to keep a blog successful. “A food blogger is a one-man army. We have to do our own photography, content writing, editing and publishing. Behind every blog are hours of hard work, ”says De. There’s another big challenge food bloggers face: staying fit no matter what you eat! “Obesity is a real danger that almost all food bloggers face,” he adds.
Shagun agrees. “Eating is the easiest part. But after that comes the long hours of image sorting, writing, editing, and layout. Our readers hardly know the hard work that goes into an article, ”he says.
The hardest part is maintaining your health, he says. “I try to limit myself to eating out five times a week and I can never afford to skip my daily workout,” Shagun adds. Besides keeping up to date with all the emerging social media trends, Paromita believes that managing arrogant restaurateurs who don’t appreciate negative reviews is the real struggle. “People who invite you to eat always expect positive feedback because all they want is to promote their point of sale. But this is where the blogger has to strike the right balance. You have to stay loyal to your readers; this is the priority.
The trick is to come up with something new every season
A food blogger needs to be on guard at all times. Changing seasons, global food trends, local ingredients – a blogger needs to keep tabs on everything. Pointing out how many blogs currently revolve around mangoes, Pallab says, “The seasons play a huge role in what we choose to write. In summer, I focus on mango dishes. From traditional dishes such as aamras and poori to unconventional mango and ground risotto, a lot of my articles feature the king of fruits during summers, ”he adds.
Shagun agrees that mango is the buzzword in summer, and therefore also on his blog. “Right now I’m focusing on a few places that have a mango-themed food festival. Plus, I try to blog about the best ice cream combos available in town, ”he adds.
So, is food blogging a good career option?
According to Pallab, a food blog is difficult to monetize directly, but can serve as a launching pad for other food-related career options, such as becoming a food consultant or a cooking show host. “For me, blogging is a creative outlet. Something that fascinates me. But I think it will always be a hobby, ”he says.
Shagun agrees that food blogging is a competitive field and it is very difficult to survive just by blogging. “But given how we interact with so many restaurateurs, chefs, media staff and PR firms, we can use that to broaden the scope of our work,” he said. For this to become a career option, the term “food blogger” needs to encompass many other pursuits as well. “In addition to writing about food, if we can do food photography, browse menus, meet clients and chefs, organize experiences for hotels and their clients, then this will become a viable career option,” adds Shagun.