WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A FOOD BLOGGER WITH SIDDHARTH GHIMIRE
People share a deep personal relationship with food. In this digital age, our eating behavior has changed and so has our interactions with food. In this digital landscape, blogs have emerged as a strong contender for businesses to reach their end users. Yes, the websites, for all food connoisseurs has surely influenced our eating and food-purchasing decisions. But the bloggers, who are increasingly turning into influencers, are also ruling the eating behavior of the consumers. One such person is Siddharth Ghimire who handles the Instagram page nepal.food. He brings dishes of all types to his Instagram audience of 121,000 followers (as of the writing of this article, we imagine it will go up even more in the coming days). We interviewed the food blogger to learn about how he turned his love for food into a career on social media, and to get an inside look into his creative process and the forthcoming projects.
WERE YOU ALWAYS A FOODIE?
I was always a foodie, long before I can even remember. I think it stemmed from the fact my Dad is a chef. I have been in hostels for the most part of my school life and after I completed my 10th grade, I had this new-found freedom to go and explore and try the food which we’re totally different from what I had eating.
HOW DID YOU END UP BECOMING THE FIRST INSTAGRAM FOOD BLOGGER OF NEPAL?
I used to take lots of pictures, and all those pictures were stored in my phone. And I would show it to my friends. I must confess, I had nothing but food photos in my gallery. And since I have a lot of friends from the hotel management field, all we ever talked about was food. Eventually, one of my friends was really fed up about it and she told me just open up a blog or at least post it in my social media account. So, I thought Instagram was the platform if my whole focus was on photos. That is why I started there. But when I did start, it was just an outlet to post those picture. Nothing serious. Even my user name was just siddharth. food. I wasn’t expecting it to have so many followers, especially when you consider that my early posts have no captions, or any reviews. But, I was the first one to start this here in Nepal, so it got really big. I was gaining more and more followers every day, people started asking me where the restaurants were,or what I thought of the food. Then, I decided to stay anonymous and changed my handle to nepal.food, deciding to do it for all my followers and started reviews and ratings. Once my follower count reached fifty thousand, however, I did a reveal because people were curious as to who I was; they would DM me just for my name!
As I started to take this seriously, people started noticing. When they found out who I was, I started getting calls from restaurants to review their food. All the restaurants right now are really aware of food bloggers coming to review their food. But since they know me, some places make my food a bit more ‘extra special’ when I go to their place. So, that is an added benefit.
DO YOU DO THIS FULL TIME?
I don’t do this full time. It was just a hobby that got big without any expectations of being this huge. But, I feel very lucky and grateful to say that my hobby has changed into a profession as well. Then again, I am still not sure about it really being professional or not. But yes, I love what I do and that’s what makes it all exciting and less like a job for me.
THE THING ABOUT FOOD IS LESS ABOUT THE FOOD ITSELF AND MORE ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING TOGETHER. FOOD IS JUST THERE TO MAKE THE EXPERIENCE A BIT MORE BETTER.
WHAT’S THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE LIKE?
The thing about food is less about the food itself and more about the people who are coming together. Food is just there to make the experience a bit more better. It is a conversation starter and it brings people closer. I have no preferences as to what I like in terms of taste, I just love food and new cuisines. I’d say that people find my blog inspiring – whether it’s because of the photography and styling, or my enthusiasm and attitude towards food and life. Honestly, I can’t eat alone actually. People think that I go out so much and eat, I go alone. But that is one big myth. Like I said, I have a lot of friends from the hotel management industry and sometimes they recommend a restaurant, or vice versa, and we all hang out and eat.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF INSTAGRAM FOR FOOD BLOGGERS?
Eating food is an experience. We eat with many senses and the visuals are very important. Instagram has had an enormous impact on the food industry. It’s also been a great tool to entice people to try new cuisines, to become adventurous with their taste buds, to inform people and educate them about the enormous variety of food available around their locality. The social media handles of the influencers help brands to become the talk of the town.
WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE, WILL WE SEE MORE REVIEWS AND PHOTOS OF DISHES THAT WE CAN DROOL OVER?
The thing is, I don’t really have any plans. I don’t usually do the planning ahead about what I want to eat, it’s all spontaneous. But I do have to go abroad for my studies, so that might help me explore more food from other parts of the world. And also, I feel like I have done enough in Kathmandu. Although, I have been out of valley to try the food but it is not always possible to travel as frequently as I would like. Blogging is such a personal thing to me – I think people become loyal followers partly because they want to learn something new and be inspired, but also because they like you as a person and want to find out what you’re up to. As, long as my followers want to know what I am up to, I will do what I love doing.
WORDS: SHREEYA SANGROULA | PHOTO: GAURAV XHOMPATE SUNUWAR