Girls on Food

#girlsonfood Interviews

#girlsonfood Insta-Interview With @waystomyheart

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 15K uses on Instagram!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created this column, where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages. Many of the people that I will interview have exceptional Instagram followings that are making me a tad jealous!

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Laura Doerr of @waystomyheart, a Minnesota-based food blogger who’s serving up some delish bites out of her own kitchen.

Picture courtesy of @waystomyheart
  • What is the recipe creation process like for you?
    • I get a lot of inspiration from dining out in restaurants and watching a lot of cooking shows! If I love something I order at a restaurant I make a note of what I think the ingredients are and try and recreate it at home. I have a growing list, or you could say an electronic notepad of recipe or meal ideas that randomly come to mind. I always try and make a quick note when things come to mind before I forget! The creation process for me is really trial and error, which is kind of how my blog started. I would always be posting on social media, a dish that I created for dinner, and friends and family would ask for the recipe…well my response would be I don’t have one! So I would attempt to just tell them what was in it until I actually started writing down measurements and creating recipes. I am all about just trying different seasonings, tasting, and then adjusting until I love it!
  • What was your favorite childhood meal that your mom would make?
    • Having a favorite of anything is so hard for me! I would have to say anything “hotdish” related. I was born and raised in Minnesota so any kind of chicken and rice, tator-tot hotdish, or pasta casserole was always my favorite. Anything comfort-food related! Oh…and meatloaf…LOVE a good meatloaf.
Picture courtesy of @waystomyheart
  • Can you tell me one kitchen tool you think is underrated and deserves more love?
    • I absolutely love my garlic press! It’s quick and easy, and I just love the semi-mashed juicy garlic you get from it vs. knife minced garlic. It’s probably my most used tool aside from the trusty cutting board and knife!
  • Do you create recipes with your Instagram audience in mind, or is it all based around what you want out there? 
    • I cook what I love to eat. I try and create a wide variety of foods to appeal to a wide audience, but that is also how I like to eat, variety! I certainly can’t eat pasta every day (although I wish I could) so I try and balance comfort foods with healthy options just as often. I also try and make detailed recipe notes within my recipes for alternative ingredients to adapt to various tastes. A lot of my meals use interchangeable ingredients in order to use up different veggies and proteins that you have on hand.
  • Is there one food item on Instagram you’d like to see less of?
    • No, bring on all the good eats! Avocado toast will never get old, yum!
  • How active are you in the Twin Cities foodie community? Are there meet ups or do you tend to shy away from the scene?
    • I’d consider myself a Twin Cities foodie. Dining out and trying new restaurants is a passion and hobby, just as much as cooking. I am often a go-to person for friends, family, and co-workers when someone is looking for a great recommendation. I’ve been taking food pictures since maybe middle school. I have old school scrapbooks of food pictures from various travels, I like to consider it my original Instagram account. I’ve gotten a little more involved over the last year, and have met a great bunch of other local Twin Cities food bloggers. I am actually quite shy when meeting new people so attending various events is sometimes out of my comfort zone. I’m always VERY glad that I attended after the fact though. I wouldn’t have met any of the other local foodies had I not pushed myself…to go by myself…to some of these events. Friday night date night is our (me and my husband Erik) weekly tradition, and try to visit new restaurants as much as possible, although its so hard not to go back to old favorites!
  • When I think of Twin Cities, I think of the Juicy Lucy, have you ever attempted to recreate it?  
    • Of course! I don’t have a burger version on the blog…however I did turn a version of my meatloaf into Juicy Lucy style mini-meatloaf muffins, yum!
  • You’ve mentioned you cook a lot for husband, which I think is very sweet (I could be better about that myself!) Is he a picky eater?  
    • I would actually consider my husband Erik to be one of the least picky eaters when it comes to my cooking. He is always willing to eat ANYTHING I make, and he only recalls not caring for maybe one or two things…and neither of us can even remember what they were! The only thing I cannot get him on board with is brussels sprouts…like even really really good brussels sprouts…not deep fried…not with bacon…nothing! Although I give him credit for still trying them any time I make or order them just in case something has changed. He’s just not a seafood guy so that is one thing I do not cook often, but again he is always willing to try it! I absolutely love cooking for Erik and am grateful that he is not a picky eater, that would be challenging!
Picture courtesy of @waystomyheart

Be sure to follow @waystomyheart, @girlsonfoodblog and be sure to use that hashtag #girlsonfood to possibly be featured someday!

#girlsonfood Insta-Interview With @trishglasser_

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 13.2K uses on Instagram! 

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created a column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Trish Glasser of @trishglasser_, an OC-local home loan diva by day and wine tour hostess by night. I get to know Trish a little bit better in the interview below.  

Trish Glasser

GOF: Where in OC do you live?

TG: I live in the unincorporated area of Trabuco Canyon, California. It is a very unique area for Orange County. Having grown up in the Midwest, it’s the best of both worlds – country living and the city is right around the corner.

GOF: When you did first fall in love with wine?

TG: When I came to California in 1986 from Kansas and began drinking buttery Chardonnay. Having grown up in the Midwest, I can certainly appreciate the farming process in making wine. I even help some of my local winemaking friends bottle their wine on occasion which has definitely given me a hands-on appreciation for the hard work and craftsmanship that goes into making even a single bottle. With the accessibility of wine (particularly here in California), my taste buds have expanded significantly through the years to include all sorts of sparkling, whites, roses and reds. Since all of my wine education has been self-taught up until now, I’m currently working on obtaining my Level 1 Sommelier designation which I should have by the end of this year.

GOF: How do you conduct your wine tours?

TG: Right now, all of my wine tours are virtual via Instagram and Facebook from personal experiences in checking out wineries and making suggestions. This serves as a launch pad for my next dream and vision of in-person tours beginning here in Orange County and in other areas too such as Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and Napa Valley. Stay tuned for information on my inaugural in-person Orange County tour coming up in January. The Orange County wine tours will start at my home/private wine cellar in Trabuco Canyon. They’ll be comprised of food and wine pairings with hand selected bottles from my private cellar. Then, we will proceed to 3-4 local Orange County wineries. Since I’ve made friends with most of the winemakers here, they’ll be notified of the schedules in advance so tourists will have the opportunity to meet and chat with owners/winemakers.

GOF: Favorite wine valley?

TG: That’s a tough question. There are so many. In California I’d have to say Paso Robles followed by Napa Valley. In Europe, I’m very fond of the Alsatian region of France.

GOF: Any favorite under $15 you can tell us about?

TG: I have a few that I recommend!

  • Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava Sparkling (Spain): $9.00
  • Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand): $12.00
  • Louis Jadot Rose (Burgundy, France): $14.00
  • Fess Parker Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County, California): $13.00
  • Poppy Pinot Noir (Monterey County, CA): $13.00
  • Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles, CA): $13.00

GOF: Favorite Instagram pages to follow?

TG: Another tough question – in general, local restaurants, chefs and wineries along with:

  • @DonatellaArpaia
  • @guarnaschelli
  • @cheftoddenglish
  • @chef_morimoto
  • @bobbyflay
  • @foodandwine
  • @foodnetwork
  • @thecheesestoreofbeverlyhills
  • @ocwinetrail
  • @pasorobleswineries
  • And of course, @girlsonfoodblog

GOF: Favorite SoCal winery?

TG: With the resurgence of wine here in Orange County over the past 10 years, there are about a dozen options here ranging from actual winery venues in the Orange County Santiago Canyon area to tasting rooms located in the different local cities.

  • Favorite Winery Venue: Giracci Vineyards and Farms and Cowboy Canyon Winery which are both located on the same property in the Santiago Canyon area: beautiful grounds and a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. You’re allowed to bring your own picnic to pair with your Giracci/Cowboy Canyon Wine.
  • Favorite Tasting Room: Frisby Cellars located in Lake Forest. The tasting room has a cool, urban vibe and the staff is always very friendly and knowledgeable about the wines. The winemaker, Josh Frisby turns out a consistent, good quality product for a reasonable price. And of course, all of his grapes are sourced from Paso Robles.

Be sure to follow @trishglasser_, and contact her directly about her wine tours. Also follow @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday! 

#girlsonfood Insta-Interview With @bethaneclair

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has nearly 13K uses on Instagram!

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created a column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages. Many of the people that I will interview have exceptional instagram followings that are making me a tad jealous! I may need to use an insta bot to replicate their figures.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Bethany Richardson Webb of @bethaneclair, a St. Paul-based food scientist, world traveler and dog-mom to a beautiful golden retriever named Herby. I get to know Bethany a little bit better in the interview below.

GOF: Please tell me about being a food scientist! What is you day-by-day like?

BRW: Since finishing school I’ve had a few different positions- previously I worked at a food ingredient company developing custom color solutions for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. I now work in food safety & quality at a large CPG company. My main role is in labeling regulatory compliance- using my regulatory expertise to create ingredient declarations, nutrition facts panels, and claims that end up on packages. Additionally, I’m doing a stretch role into a food safety & quality product manager position where I influence to ensure that food safety requirements are taken into account, that quality is designed into a product, and that our manufacturing plants can meet that quality on a consistent basis. I love what I do- it allows me to use my technical expertise and problem-solving skills and what I am doing helps bring products into our consumers homes to feed their families

GOF: What kind of degrees/certifications do you have?

BRW: I received my BS in Food Science from Clemson University and my MS in Food Science from University of Illinois where my research focused on flavor chemistry of beets

GOF: What drew you to the science of food?

BRW: I’ve always loved food. When I was younger, I actually considered going to culinary school. However, I found food science through watching Unwrapped on the Food Network. I loved seeing all the science and processing that went into getting food onto our grocery store shelves. Even after having been to many food production facilities, I still find manufacturing so fascinating. It’s an incredible feeling seeing products you were part of on grocery store shelves. Eating is a very intimate experience, but most people likely don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the risks of what they might be eating and how to mitigate them.

GOF: Is there one food fact that you’re shocked more people don’t take into consideration before they bite into it?

BRW: Probably food safety? Eating is a very intimate experience, but most people likely don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the risks of what they might be eating and how to mitigate them. In full disclosure, I will on occasion eat raw cookie dough but will never touch raw milk.

GOF: I noticed you have a hashtag of your own going, #bethanys30by30. What does this hashtag mean to you?

BRW: Last December I turned 29- in the months before, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I really wanted to accomplish prior to turning 30 and this list of 30 was the output of that. Some of the goals are relatively minor, like learning how to do crow pose in yoga, while others are pretty big, like buying a house. Obviously there were some food-related items like cooking with a new ingredient monthly and learning to make bagels. I was a little nervous to post on social media about it, but I’ve actually found there’s been a lot of positivity that’s come from sharing. Several people have joined me on my goals and it’s even inspired some of my mentors at work to create 40 by 40 or 50 by 50 lists! The real purpose behind it was to be intentional with my goals and really to push myself to grow and progress, even if that didn’t necessarily mean accomplishing every last one of them.

Chèvre agnolotti with sweet corn, bacon, and peas.

GOF: When it comes to Instagram, would you say you post food for your following or for yourself?

BRW: I would say mostly for myself- I love sharing what I eat and took photos of food in the years prior to Instagram; however, I do love partnering with local businesses (we’re blessed with a wonderful food scene & community in the Twin Cities) so the intention behind some of what I post is to let others in the Twin Cities know about certain restaurants or products. At the end of the day, I want my Instagram account to be a reflection of me personally. I have intentionally chosen to only have one Instagram account, and while you’ll see a lot of food (because I love eating and am passionate about it!) there’s also more personal content like outdoor adventures and dog photos.

GOF: Let’s talk dog food – do you make your own or do you have a preferred brand?

BRW: Sometimes I do make homemade dog treats or cupcakes on birthdays! Herby also really likes fresh fruit and veggies so sometimes I’ll give him a bite when I’m in the kitchen. I recently switched to Hill’s Science Diet Senior per our vet’s recommendation.

GOF: Any food items you want to see less of on Instagram?

BRW: Foods that only look good but that only taste mediocre. There’s nothing more disappointing than visiting a place that’s been highly Instagrammed about and the food itself doesn’t live up to the pictures. I’d rather eat something that’s plain-looking but delicious. Also, “yolk porn”. I really don’t like eggs already, and these videos just gross me out.

GOF: Favorite St. Paul restaurants?

BRW: Mucci’s Italian- their food is delicious and the atmosphere feels like being at home. Plus they have excellent donuts on the weekends. I’m also happy to see that some of my favorite Minneapolis spots like Parlour and Revival have opened St. Paul locations. Stewart’s and the original Punch Pizza are both excellent and walkable from our place. In my opinion, the best Juicy Lucy in the Twin Cities is at The Nook in St. Paul- I take everyone who comes in to visit from out of town here.

Be sure to follow @bethandeclair, @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday!

#girlsonfood Interviews Morgan Riddle of @thehungrybroker

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 12.3K uses on Instagram! 

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created a column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Morgan Riddle of @thehungrybroker. What struck me the most about her Instagram feed is all the drool-worthy pics of food and NYC images that also capture the city! Below, we talk about making the move to the Big Apple, working in real estate and more!

GOF: What prompted the move from Minneapolis to NYC?

MR: I actually moved to New York for college. Minneapolis is a big city but after living there for 18 years it started to feel a bit small and NYC had been a dream of mine since I was a little girl!

GOF: I see you’re a coffee addict! What’s your favorite kind of coffee beverage and any favorite cafes in the city?

MR: Total coffee addict. I’ve actually tried to quit a few times but grabbing an iced coffee in the morning on the way to work is just such a ritual into my daily routine now that my whole day feels off if I don’t stop for a cup! And if I’m running late or something my office has nitro cold brew on tap which is too hard to pass up. My favorite coffee shops I’ve discovered are Irving Farm in Greenwich Village or Puerto Rico Importing Co who wholesales to a ton of places in the city, but they also have a cute little coffee bar at the back of the shop!

Morgan Riddle

GOF: Do you have any favorite foodie discoveries from working as an NYC Real Estate Agent?

MR: I’m always grabbing food on the go while running to showings or going to meet clients. My exclusive listings are primarily in Soho and Nolita, so I have my go-to’s there. Salud on Thompson St in Soho is an adorable little latin smoothie and salad shop that I go to at least once a week!

GOF: Sweets or savories?

MR: Savory all the way! I’ve never had a huge sweet tooth and always find my biggest cravings to be carbs like pizza or bagels (good thing I live in NYC). I live a block away from an Artichoke Pizza and Space Market which has some of the best bagels in the city.

GOF: What has been your favorite NYC museum exhibit so far?

MR: “The Dinner Party” at the Brooklyn Museum! The Brooklyn Museum hosts the only feminist art exhibit in the nation. This piece by Judy Chicago is a massive ceremonial dinner set up with 31 plates, each one representing a different woman in history. All of the plates are individually designed to represent each woman. There are also a lot of small fantastically thought out details in the exhibit (such as the table placement is in a triangle to represent equality).

GOF: Was being a “foodie” always a part of your life or did it come later?

MR: Food has always has been a part of my life. My mom hates cooking, she has one meal she makes where she basically takes whatever vegetables are in the fridge, throws it in a pot and calls it “chili.” I’d say we ate out 5-6 times/ week growing up when I was with her and luckily Minneapolis has an AMAZING food scene. On the other hand, my dad is an incredible cook and has an entire bookshelf in the kitchen of cookbooks and Alton Brown on the TV 24/7 so I learned a lot about tasting from him.

French Toast from Daisy Green

GOF: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to make the leap to NYC?  

MR: Network! Success in this city is so much about who you know which is why it’s hard sometimes for people coming from out of town. The plus side of the city is its SO easy to meet people if you get yourself out there, the amount of free events in the city where you can network and make friends is endless.

GOF: Any advice for readers that might be looking for properties in NYC?

MR: Do your research and work with someone who is reliable. The market in NYC maneuvers in very different ways than other places and for those who are renting I know the idea of finding your “first NYC apartment” is totally terrifying! Work with someone who you trust knows the neighborhoods and market well.

GOF: If there’s one thing a client can do to make you very happy as a real estate agent, what would that be?

MR: Be communicative about what you want! It definitely makes it hard for me to find something perfect for someone if they’re still unsure about their priorities when finding a place. Last week I had a client send me a bullet pointed list of exactly what she NEEDED in an apartment and was like “everything else I don’t care about I just need these things” and I was like… amazing. I love you.

Be sure to follow @thehungrybroker and @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday! 

GOF Interview: Diane Tchen of Kream Kong Ice Cream

Kream Kong Ice Cream, owned by wife/husband team Stephen and Diane Tchen, started driving their truck around OC and LA this summer and got a little extra heat from the 626 Market. I had a chance to sit with owner Diane, to talk about starting a new business, her favorite Hacienda Heights spots and the challenges of owning an ice cream truck.

GOF: What were your favorite ice cream brands and flavors growing up?   

DT: I will have to say Dreyer’s Rocky Road! I also add my own little twist with topping it off with Hot Cheetos. Yes! Hot Cheetos! It is so yummy together! It’s a must try! Another one was sweet cream with extra Oreos from Cold Stone. That was my to go ice cream spot whenever I was out and wanted dessert.

Stephen and Diane Tchen

GOF: What is your background in the restaurant industry?

DT: I have worked as a server and remember that I just enjoyed being around and meeting all kinds of different people. To be honest, I would love to own my own bar/restaurant one day. If things go really great with Kream Kong, opening up a bar restaurant is next on our list! As of right now, I am still working another job while balancing business with Kream Kong. One of us needs to have the financial stability for our family. I do plan to leave my work one day and work side by side with my husband.

GOF: What is the ice cream and/or cookie recipe creation process like for you?

DT: We’ve put in a lot of work prior to getting our truck so it’s been a rough few years.  We’ve probably made dozens of gallons of ice cream before we really felt confident enough in our flavors. I feel bad for all of our family and friends who tested our ice cream in the beginning stages… haha. For the cookies, it was pretty simple. Baking cookies definitely isn’t as challenging as making ice cream. Even though we are up and going, we still test out ice cream and cookies flavors everyday to keep our menu fresh.

GOF: What are some of the challenges of working with as ice cream truck opposed to having a store front?

DT: Being in a very tight and hot space. Even though we’re serving ice cream, it gets very hot in the truck. Another huge challenge is finding the right location. Since we are new to the food truck scene, it’s been tough trying to find locations and parking lots since a most of the locations have permanent residencies. However, I am confident in our concept that once they try it, they’ll have no problem having us back again and again. 

GOF: What are some of your favorite higher end and lower end restaurants in Hacienda Heights?

DT: Hacienda Heights is a very tiny city. My favorite higher end restaurant is called YakiYan. It is like a Gyu-Kaku but with higher quality meat. My lower end restaurants would be any Pho spots or Jazz Cat. I think I can eat pho or hot pot all day everyday!

GOF: Can you tell me one kitchen tool you think is underrated and deserves more love?

DT: This may sound silly but it is the apron! This is our first experience in a fast paced kitchen, let alone the whole food industry so we definitely took a lot of things for granted. We’ve experienced so much during this whole process and still have a lot more to learn. When we first started, our shirts and pants would get so dirty after an event and we now know why everybody wears an apron. It may not be the most fashionable thing but it saves us a lot of laundry loads!

GOF: Is there one food item on Instagram you’d like to see less of?

DT: I would like to see less of the unicorn/rainbow foods. It has kind of died down now but it was all over my feed a few months ago! It was cool when it first came out, I think the first one I ever saw was the Starbucks unicorn drink. Now everybody is trying to do their own take on it and I just feel like “oh… another one..”.

GOF: Since you’re originally from Hacienda Heights and your truck serves the area, is it important for you to give back community?

DT: Now that we have that opportunity, we are very blessed we can give back to our community. We are in talks with the local little leagues to become one of their sponsors and we hope to get the ball rolling on that soon. We are also going to get in touch with the local children’s hospital. We have a 2 year old son and if you haven’t noticed, we love kids.

GOF: Have any of your friends from childhood surprised you at the truck?

DT: Yes! We are very fortunate that we get so much love and support from all of our family and friends. Even though we get busy, it’s always nice to see a familiar face coming by our truck to show their support. When times get tough, it is times like these that really give us the drive to keep going.

Kream Kong Ice Cream will be driving around LA & Orange County this Fall. To keep with their schedule, follow their Instagram page here.

#girlsonfood Interviews Kat Peterson of @kmlpeterson

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 12K uses on Instagram! 

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created a column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Kat Peterson of @kmlpeterson. With her incredible photography skills and impeccable taste in food, I had to pick her brain on food photography! I have a feeling we’re going to see more of her images on more professional sites soon. 

GOF: When did you start your Instagram page?

KP: I first started Instagram back in June of 2015 when I got my first smartphone. I was really late to the technology game!

GOF: Why food + craft beer?

KP: Around the same time (2015), I went to my first taproom and feel in love with the craft beer culture. While I don’t post as many photos of beer as I once did, it’s still something I really enjoy. As far as food goes, it became a way for me to connect with other people when I was going through a difficult time in my life and in a sense, reinventing myself. Having group dinners with friends and exploring new restaurants was my way of practicing connection, relationship, and friendships.

GOF: What camera do you usually shoot on?

KP: I use a Canon 6D. I started with a borrowed Nikon about two years ago and then switched to a borrowed Canon Rebel before finally purchasing my own camera back in December. It’s been a big learning curve with the new camera and sometimes I feel like I haven’t even tapped into half of what it’s capable of. So LOTS of practice!

Fried Potato Hash from Hai Hai

GOF: What do you think separates the Minneapolis food scene from others?

KP: I don’t have any personal knowledge on other cities around the US but as far as the Twin Cities go, I see a lot of connection and collaboration between restaurants and people. The chefs are approachable and responsive to curiosity about the industry and although we have chefs that are probably considered local celebrities, they are still down to earth and seem to love interacting with guests in their restaurants.

GOF: Are there any St Paul/Minneapolis feuds?

KP: Ha, definitely! Until a few years ago, Minneapolis was the hot spot for dining and there weren’t a ton of great places in St Paul. The St Paul dining scene has since exploded and there are now so many restaurants worth crossing the river for.

GOF: Was being a “foodie” always a part of your life or did it come later?

KP: I’ve always had a love for food and remember trying to cook my way through my Mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook one summer. But I didn’t realize how crucial food had become or how pivotal Instagram has been in changing my life until this past summer.

GOF: Is there one item of food you’d like to see less of on Instagram?

KP: Not really. Even though “food porn” isn’t my style of photography…the drippy, gooey, 5,000 calorie meals… I still like to look at it! A photography trend that I’d love to see end is the over saturation and sharpening of images. If it doesn’t look like food anymore, I don’t want to eat it.

GOF: Do you prefer cocktails, craft beer or wine with a meal?

KP: That depends on the meal! In general I’d say that I prefer beer but I’ve had a lot of fun trying new wines. I’ve discovered that I’m definitely a fan of Cabernet . I’ve also been practicing cocktail photography, which is probably the most challenging thing for me to photograph.

GOF: Do you give restaurants a heads up you’re coming in or do you prefer anonymity?

KP: I get this question a lot and it bothers me to think that there are actually people that inform a restaurant that they are coming in. I’m not a celebrity or a food critic and I don’t want a dish that isn’t available to the general public so there’s no reason for me to contact them. With the exception of events, all the food on my feed is available at the restaurant for anyone to enjoy and I want to showcase the same dish that they would be served.

GOF: What’s one of the coolest experiences that’s come from your food photography?

KP: Last Fall the Arizona office of tourism invited me out and took me around the state to various restaurants, farms, and breweries. It was so awesome! I learned so much about agritourism, met some amazing people, and of course, ate a lot of food! This has led to other opportunities and I just recently shared this experience on Ready & Roam.

Be sure to follow @kmlpeterson and @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday! 

#girlsonfood Interviews Stephanie Chen of @sugarbearbakes

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 11.9K uses on Instagram! 

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created a new column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Stephanie Chen of @sugarbearbakes. I was in awe of how visually delightful her bakes are! I was also blown away by her level of accomplishments:

I decided we needed to get to know her a little better, since she’s the ultimate Girl on Food! 

GOF: What was the casting process like for GABS?

SC: The casting process was very exciting and an illuminating process! I’ve watched my share of Great British Bake Off and Top Chef and I remember always thinking, there’s NO WAY I could ever get on one of those shows. Haha. It was really fun to see how everything worked and I felt honored to be selected from thousands and thousands of applicants!

The process itself happened over a month or two and involved lots of rounds including a lengthy application, phone interviews, Skype interviews, in-person taste tests of your best sweet, savory and bread recipes. There was even a mini timed baking challenge where we had to bake in a kitchen and talk to cameras to see how we would fair under pressure. It was a demanding process but I’m so glad I did it!

GOF: Did you have any big learning experiences or epiphanies during the filming?

SC: Going on The Great American Baking Show was one of my best decisions in my life. It was also the most stressful and challenging thing I’ve ever done. It’s rare that people get the opportunity to challenge themselves in a way where you are 100% reliant on your personal performance and intuition. No one is telling you when to take something out of the oven. You can’t just go online and google “how to fix meringue”. On the show, all the bakers are dealing with ovens, ingredients and an environment that is completely new and unknown and under extreme time constraints and an audience of producers and camera men. Imagine someone standing next to you documenting all of your mistakes! I learned that I’m more capable than I ever thought and really tested my ability to manage my stress in a whole new way.

Before I went on the show, baking was a hobby. Something I did late at night to relive stress and an outlet to allow me to make something special for people I cared about.  When I made it all the way to the finals, I realized that this is more than a hobby and I might actually want to do this for REAL. Since the show ended, I haven’t gone back to my full-time corporate job and have started my own cake & pastry business popping up in cafes across LA, teach cake decorating classes privately and at local cooking schools and found part-time work with pastry teams in Santa Monica bakeries that I’ve admired for years. The show gave me the confidence to propel me into a whole new career that I would not have had the confidence to pursue without it.

GOF: What is the recipe creation process like for you?

SC: My recipe creation process is driven by seasonality and what I’m in the mood to eat! Sounds simple but my cravings are often so specific, it’s easy to hone and be creative when it’s something I love to eat.

Growing up in Southern California, I’ve been fortunate to have fresh produce and farmer’s markets within a stone throw. I love roaming the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmer’s market, talking to farmers to see what they’re excited about and letting that influence my palate. I also pull from my Chinese heritage and the melting pot of flavors in LA that I grew up eating so my pantry is a mixed bag. It’s not rare that I’ll just go around my kitchen and just start pulling different spices and ingredients, smelling them together to see if I can create something new and delicious.

GOF: What was your favorite childhood meal?

SC: Wow. I don’t know if I could only pick one! My mom was a really great cook and would always make delicious Chinese food every night growing up. My maternal Grandmother opened a Chinese restaurant in New Jersey when she first immigrated to the US in the 70’s. My mom helped her run the restaurant so we always had really good Chinese food at home. If I had to narrow it down, I’d pick her Zha Jiang Mian. (Soybean paste noodles with fresh sliced cucumbers.) Yummm. Now I’m craving it!

GOF: What advice do you have for anyone who may be considering leaving their day job to pursue a job in the culinary arts?

SC: My advice to someone who wants to pursue a career in food, is to go and talk to as many people in the industry as possible! I met with all sorts of friends, acquaintances and even strangers when I first flirted with the idea—A gal who owned a wholesale online cookie business, coffee shop owners, a multi-restaurant/bakery owner, pastry chefs, etc. Listen to their stories, how they got started and what to watch out for. This can also help you figure out what path you want to take. Working in food is not for everyone.. but, I can’t begin to describe how rewarding my journey has been and it continues to fill my heart in ways I never knew “my job” could. If you can, try to stage at a local bakery/restaurant you admire. Baking at home for loved ones vs. baking in a high functioning kitchen is completely different. I’ve gathered some of the most valuable training and learnings from my time working with the pastry teams at Huckleberry and Milo & Olive.

GOF: Do you have one kitchen tool you think is underrated and deserves more love?

SC: The one kitchen tool I cannot live without is my mandolin slicer! I don’t have a fancy knife skills so my mandolin has come in and saved me on many occasions when I’m baking or just cooking dinner! It’s an easy way to make your dish look elevated with perfectly sliced pieces.

GOF: Favorite LA high end spot and favorite lower end spot?

SC: My favorite high-end spots in are Bavel in DTLA and Felix in Venice. You seriously can’t go wrong with anything on the menu in both places. For lower end, I love Ma’s Chinese Islamic Restaurant in Anaheim. I grew up eating here and they have really great Beef Noodle Soup and scallion pancakes!

GOF: What is it like to organize your time between Huckleberry, M&O, pop-ups and trying to maintain a personal life?

SC: It definitely keeps me on my toes and I would die without my calendar! I’m always bouncing around all over the city and love that I’m always learning and challenging myself in different ways depending on what I’m doing. I love being at Huck & Milo because it keeps me sharp, fast and love all the people I bake with. Pop-ups are a lot of work but I feel so much joy in feeding people and it helps me test what Sugarbear Bakes can become. I love teaching classes because I’m helping people learn something new and giving them an avenue to explore their creativity! Sometimes my personal life does suffer (especially my sleep!) but it’s a small price to pay for really loving what I do. I’m also blessed to have a very supportive and loving husband who helps me keep my sanity.

GOF: What’s the most ambitious/interesting cake you’ve ever baked? Any crazy themes or challenging décor?

SC: One of the most fun and tedious cakes I’ve been asked to make was a pancake cake made completely out of buttercream! Every layer of “pancake” was piped (over 25 layers!) and then I went through and painted every single layer to give it the effect of pancakes. Then it was topped with caramel and a fondant butter slab. It was a smash cake so it was fun to see the photos of the baby smashing into despite all the hours it took to make it. Haha.

The Pancake Cake – Image via Stephanie Chen

Be sure to follow @sugarbearbakes and @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday! 

#girlsonfood Interviews Jeanne of @jeanne.eatsworld

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 11.7K uses on Instagram! 

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created a new column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Jeanne of @jeanne.eatsworld. Jeanne was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia and moved to Minneapolis at the age of 15 years ago. She works a 9-5 desk job at American Express Global Business Travel and based off her Instagram feed, she savors every minute of her travels. Whether it’s a shot of cup of coffee to go or a shot of her traveling, the world through her eyes looks pretty incredible!

GOF: When did you start your Instagram page?
JH: I started my IG page about 4 years ago mixing between my love for food, for travel and just life in general in Minneapolis. I started to focus on food around 2016. I still post about travel but mostly food.

Jeanne

GOF: Favorite food city, outside of Minneapolis?
JH: My fave food cities are New York and Seoul. I travel to NYC about 1 or 2 times a year to eat. They have so many options that I am not able to find in Minneapolis.

GOF: What’s tougher to get in Minneapolis?
JH: I love Oysters but they are pretty expensive here. Between $3-4.50 each so whenever I can find $1 oysters I am there! At The Mermaid Inn in NYC they offer $1 oysters for Happy Hour.

Happy Hour oysters from The Mermaid Inn photo by @Jeanne.eatsworld

GOF: Was being a “foodie” always a part of your life or did it come later?
JH: I always love to eat and even before IG I was already taking pictures of my food- especially when on vacation. Being raised in Indonesia, I was exposed to many different varieties of food. I’d eat anything from street food, like frog legs, all the way to finer Michelin Star restaurants. So I guess it is always been a part of me and now thanks to Instagram I am able to showcase that.

GOF: I notice a lot of espresso and teas on your feed, what’s your all time favorite caffeinated beverage?
JH: My fave caffeinated beverage will be any kind of latte but I do love a good Matcha latte.

GOF: Do you give restaurants a heads up you’re coming in or do you prefer anonymity?
JH: No. I don’t give them a heads up. I usually just come and eat anonymously and review it based on my personal experience.

GOF: What’s one of the coolest experiences that’s come from your food photography?
JH: I love meeting other foodies who have had the same passion for food and photography but most importantly become real life friends with them. I also do get invited to some restaurant openings and events.

GOF: What’s the furthest you’ve traveled for food?
JH: I did travel to Singapore earlier this year because I want to try the best durian and my friends called me crazy!

Be sure to follow @jeanne.eatsworld and @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday! 

#girlsonfood Interviews Kyley McGeeney of Mission Michelin

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 11.6K uses on Instagram! 

First off, thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

Second, I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many  bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So I created a new column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the hashtag, I found Kyley McGeeney (@missionmichelin), who runs her own blog, Mission Michelin. I checked out her project and was excited for the premise behind it – she ate her way through the entire D.C. Michelin Guide and blogged all about it. Kyley and I discuss the world of blogging and fine dining below.

GOF: How long did it take you to eat through every Michelin Star/Bib Gourmand/Michelin Plate restaurant in DC?  How did you prioritize what restaurants you dine at? 

MM: A little over a year and a half. I started in December of 2016 and completed my mission in July of 2018. I started with ones I was most excited about (e.g. Rose’s Luxury, Tail Up Goat) as well as radiating out in concentric circles from my office especially for lunch.

Kyley McGeeney

GOF: Do you give the restaurants a heads up you’re coming in as a blogger, or do you prefer enominity?

MM: I used to not tell them but eventually starting giving them a heads up. It made it easier to get my chef picture and have them sign my Michelin Guide!

GOF: How do these restaurants/chefs/servers react to you photographing the experience? 

MM: Sometimes they’re really supportive: they offer to take pictures of me and my dining companions or I can tell they’ve purposely seated me by a window to have good light for the pics. The only times I’ve ever been told “no” were two different chefs/owners who said food was fair game but they didn’t want to be photographed. Also at Komi, where you can’t photograph the food.

Jamón Ibérico from Del Mar

GOF: What DC Michelin spots are in your top 3?

MM: This is tough! minibar is my number one and I always joke there are about 17 places tied for second. I really like Rose’s Luxury, Pineapple & Pearls, Himitsu, Thip Khao–there are so many more! Two that are too new to be in the guide but I really love are Del Mar and Bresca.

GOF: Was fine dining a part of your up-bringing or did it come to you later in life? 

MM: Part of my upbringing. We went out to dinner about six nights a week growing up and for my 10th birthday I asked to have a ladies luncheon. In Ithaca, where I’m from, the fine dining options are more limited but in NYC for college our go-to was The Four Seasons.

GOF: Was it tough to budget this project out? 

MM: Honestly budgeting my time was a much bigger issue than money. I’m married with two little kids so it wasn’t an option to go out spontaneously or too many nights a week. Everything was planned weeks in advance. I also mainly eat dinner at 5:30pm to be home for bedtime!

@missionmichelin in Portugal with Chef Jose Avillez

GOF: When are you coming to LA to see if we’re Michelin-worthy?

MM: I’ve actually been to LA in the past year! I LOVE Night + Market Song (haven’t been to the other two yet). Thai cuisine is one of my favorites. Gjusta for breakfast is also my go-to. Cassia and Bestia were also great and I am dying to try Somni!

GOF: Now that you’ve reached your goal, what’s up next for you? Any other new projects?

MM: I’m still continuing with food but without necessarily a list to check off. The point of all of this was ultimately to re-acquaint myself with the DC food scene after moving to the suburbs. Just because I’ve eaten at all the restaurants in the Guide doesn’t mean there aren’t new ones, ones not in the Guide, and repeat visits!

Be sure to follow @missionmichelin and @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday!