Foodstagrammers You Need To Know
From Cheetos smothered in Gouda to sweet buns with fried eggs, let these dishes (and their creators) inspire you to new heights of like-ability in 2015
This time last year Mr Michael Zee was just a normal guy who liked to make breakfast. Little did he know that 11 months later 111,000 people (and counting) would be joining him around the table each morning. Or that his culinary creations would be spread across the pages of The Guardian and Telegraph Magazine. But that is what happened thanks to @symmetrybreakfast, an Instagram feed which documents the daily dishes he cooks and symmetrically arranges for himself and his boyfriend Mark. He’s a new breed of culinary rockstar. And he’s not the only one. Following in the footsteps of cute puppies, men showing off their six-packs and daredevil sports enthusiasts flipping off mountains, foodgrammers are currently tearing up Instagram.
The proliferation of gastronomical “grammers”, (see for yourself – there are more than 12 million posts under #foodie alone), has allowed different food cults and trends to flourish, from vegan pastry chefs such as @milkingalmonds to endless morning inspiration from @utosh. Instagram has left the world with no excuse to avoid the kitchen – people are creating and documenting photos of their food and they’re telling you how to do it and all for free.
Granted, the appeal does not end with the recipes themselves. Whether the shot was taken from above, in a bright minimalistic setting, or on a rustic picnic table, it’s safe to say that a new art form has emerged – food made and styled specifically for Instagram. The common denominator between these accounts lies in the use of natural light and the seemingly simple way the food is curated.
As you undoubtedly slip into a mild hallucinatory state from day three of your annual juice cleanse/ sober-for-January double whammy, we’ve compiled eight of our favourite accounts, just to tease you. Virtual forks at the ready – we’ve got some serious food porn to get you through the dark days.
1. The Hangover Remedy
During the day Mr Michael Zee, 29, runs the schools programme at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, but each morning works as a curator of identical and symmetrical breakfasts. From their flat in Hackney, he and his boyfriend Mr Mark van Beek serve up a daily dose of morning munchies that explore different cultures, nationalities, tableware and flavours. Mr Zee learnt to cook watching his father, who was a chef, show his mother, who was an “appalling” cook, how to get by in the kitchen. (Before the intervention, she “famously made roast potatoes by putting a whole spud in a deep fryer”.) Nowadays, Mr Zee swears by trial and error when it comes to getting the perfect Instagram image. “Something so ordinary can produce extraordinary results,” he says. Check out their feed @symmetrybreakfast for morning indulgences such as eggs in purgatory with merguez sausage and rainbow-chard frittatas.
Follows: @gloverall – Gloverall design director Mr Mark van Beek’s blog is part of the inspiration behind the pictures.
Favourite dining spot: The Ivy, London.
January dish of choice: Chicken katsu curry from the Japan Centre, London.
2. Miss Seasonality
Ms Karen Mordechai, 36, photographer and food stylist, founded supper club and associated blog, Sunday Suppers, from her loft in Brooklyn, New York. Originally from Israel, Ms Mordechai injects her seasonally focused foods with a taste of home. Her dishes range from homemade bagels with tea, and ginger-cured seabass and cauliflower soup with beet oil, to pickled pears and crispy bacon – and all focus on quality ingredients and innovative flavorings. She stresses the importance of natural light in her Instagram images, in particular the “playful” effects it creates. Follow @sundaysuppers for comfort food designed for sharing with a Mediterranean twist and rustic styling.
Follows: @cannellevanille – she lives between Seattle and Basque Country, and “does such inspiring things with food”.
Favourite dining spot: Marlow & Sons, New York.
January dish of choice: Artichoke soup with crispy salami and lemon parsley quinoa, found on her blog.
3. The Scandi Health Guru
Stockholm-based cookbook author and photographer Mr David Frenkiel uses Instagram and the blog he co-writes with his girlfriend Ms Luise Vindahl, Green Kitchen Stories, to share his love of colourful, healthy vegetarian food. He feels these are “dishes that look beautiful, taste great and give your body energy”. Mr Frenkiel’s meals focus on whole foods and organic produce, resulting in dishes such as savoury tomato and parmesan crumble and rye sandwich waffle with pickled cucumber, kale and cheese. Mr Frenkiel’s top Instagram tip is to “keep it simple and experiment with composition and empty space”. Look to his feed @gkstories for images of organic new Nordic dishes and locally sourced ingredients.
Follows: @whatforbreakfast – she takes “fantastic food shots”.
Favourite dining spot: The Butcher’s Daughter, New York.
January dish of choice: Gluten-free turmeric breakfast muffins, which can be found on his blog.
4. The Tablescape Master
Hailing from the Philippines but now residing in Kuwait with her family, biologist Ms Jaclyn Garcia, 36, has taken up Instagram as a means to connect to her homeland by sharing Filipino cuisine with the world. Ms Garcia is something of an abstract expressionist, specialising in deliberate disorder when it comes to arranging her dishes and ingredients. Whether it’s siopao asado (a popular Filipino dim sum), ice buko (coconut popsicles with red mung beans) or images of family meals with plates spread all over the table, each post bursts with flavour and colour. She suggests “trying to think of the props and themes before shooting” and usually takes photos near a big window, shooting early in the morning or late afternoon. Follow @tenthousandthspoon for busy tablescapes and traditional Filipino fare.
Follows: @valentinahortus – “her moody lighting and composition is impeccable”.
Favourite dining spot: Antonio’s restaurants, Tagaytay, Philippines.
January dish of choice: Champorado, Filipino chocolate rice porridge, which can be found on her blog.
5. The Vegan Baking Goddess
Vegan food blogger and sociology student Ms Trine Rask, 25, curates her stylishly washed-out feed @milkingalmonds from her enviably minimal home in Copenhagen. She specialises in “plant-based” comfort food, tackling everything from Mexican black-bean burgers with plantain chips to cast-iron cinnamon rolls with vanilla glaze. Ms Rask implores wannabe foodgrammers “not to limit themselves based on equipment. An expensive camera is secondary”. A quick glance at her feed should be more than enough to convince you to follow – with its unique, milk-hued aesthetic and impeccably styled dishes, it’s one of the most visually impressive profiles on the platform.
Follows: @linda lomelino – her simple food styling and baking skills are incredible.
Favourite dining spot: Botaniq, Copenhagen.
January dish of choice: Portobello mushroom pie from her blog.
6. The French Feaster
Ms Mimi Thorisson, 40, is one heck of a multi-tasker. Based in the Médoc countryside in south-west France, in addition to appearing in a video manual for MR PORTER, she is a cookbook author, founder of blog Manger, cookery show host, owner of 14 dogs, a mother to seven and a wife to one. Growing up between Hong Kong and Paris allowed Ms Thorisson to open up her tastebuds to a variety of flavours, cuisines and culinary experiences from ramen and dim sum to potato gratin, French onion soup and other Gallic bistro fare. Her feed features recipes made in her enviably stylish country house using local ingredients inspired by her French-Asian background, and photographed by her talented husband Mr Oddur Thorisson. Examples of her dishes are oyster fritters with wasabi cream, pork-cheek ravioli and salted-cod fish pie. She advises gastronomical ‘grammer wannabes to “shoot fast so you can eat the food”, adding that “good props” which she buys from antique shops in nearby villages “always help”. Follow @mimithor and take a peek into her irresistibly stylish take on country life, featuring foraged ingredients and hearty cooking pulled off with a truly innate flair.
Follows: @cntraveler – “it provides me with inspiring glimpses of the world”.
Favourite dining spot: L’Ami Jean, Paris.
January dish of choice: Hearty garbure des Pyrénées from her blog.
7. The Solitary Indulger
Ms Mandy Lee, 34, a self-described “unemployed married female” and food blogger is a New York transplant based in Beijing. Ms Lee began with a food blog, Lady and Pups, and expanded her culinary influence to Instagram in November 2012. She is a firm believer in the try-until-it’s-right method for food photography. Ms Lee continuously serves up enticing comfort foods such as flaming hot crunchy Cheetos with arugula and Gouda grilled cheese, or caramel soy-sauce sticky ribs. To replicate her imagery, she recommends, “taking lots and lots of pictures, and eventually a ‘style’ or ‘voice’ will emerge from the ashes”. Landing on her feed, @ladyandpups, expect appearances by her furry canine companions Jiao-Zi the Maltese dog and Xia-Mi the mutt, better known as Dumpling and Shrimpie, and masculine, robust photos of savoury delights.
Follows: @mrpaddingtonbear – inspiration for extremely clean aerial shots of food and lifestyle objects.
Favourite dining spot: Sushi Hiro, Hong Kong.
January dish of choice: Sichuan ma-la hotpot from her blog.
8. The Japanese Joe
Based in Shibuya, Tokyo, graphic designer Mr Toshihiro Ueki, 33, is your Everyman kind of cook. He loves simple, easy-to-make food and is happy to simply pop a frozen pizza in the oven when he’s famished. But where his talents really lie is in his styling and food photography – he accompanies every dish he shoots with a steaming cup of black coffee, and he makes even the most obvious food choices look like art. In his quest to find the union between European and Asian cuisine (think Japanese sweet buns with fried eggs, baked beans and kaki), Mr Ueki produces images of meals that are familiar and accessible all at once. He advises that aspiring food photographers “open the curtains and keep your food on the plate simple. Don’t overfill the plate”. Follow his feed @utosh and you’ll never fail to find the perfect partner for your cup of joe.
Follows: @weekendbreakfast – “very simple but fantastic. I like finding something different in their photographs every day”.
Favourite dining spot: Life Son, Tokyo.
January dish of choice: Oshiruko (red bean soup), from the Japan Centre’s website.