London’s most influential food bloggers on reopening the restaurant industry
July 3, 2020
Every key ingredient that makes up the hospitality industry – from restaurants to waiters and chefs – has seen its future in jeopardy under the relentless repercussions of Covid-19. But at times like these, it’s important to remember that it’s not just those in the kitchen who are the recipe for success in the industry: from fast food restaurants and markets to casual, gourmet restaurants. We spoke to some of London’s top bloggers to talk about the crisis; how they reacted to their new circumstances; how they decided to manage their blogs and their feeds; and the future of the industry from their perspective.
@KS_ate_here is one of London’s first and most influential food bloggers. “I was sad – really sad – about the restaurant closings, but we all had to sacrifice the things and freedoms we love to try to get this under control.” Originally from New Zealand, KS tells us about the effect that confinement has had on his personal life and his blogging activity: “I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this confinement […] recreate dishes from some of my favorite restaurants […] Lord knows that I really am not [good at cooking], so luckily, I was lucky to have received kits at home ”.
Claire Every, who you may know as an Instagram sensation @thelittlelondonvegan, also spent more time in his kitchen: “I reacted to the lockdown by adjusting my content to include more vegan recipes that people could prepare at home.” On top of that, she became a small business ambassador: “I knew it would be a time when some wouldn’t survive. To support as many businesses as possible, I have compiled a few posts and articles […] including continuous updates on vegan businesses in London ”.
Former Lithuanian supermodel and global food ambassador Aiste Miseviciute, alias @luxeat, also recognizes the wider global impact of the pandemic: “Of course, it has affected the whole world, not just food bloggers. But when you write about restaurants and you’re used to traveling a lot like me, it’s definitely a big change in your life ”. The blogger, whose intercultural platform has given her an international reputation, explains that she works closer to home: “I started to focus on my local suppliers. […] Richard, 104, cooked a lot and I helped him with lots of ideas. I made this tomato pie and it became a bestseller ”.
Likewise, for the promising London duo Victoria and Merissah, @mvlondonreviews, losing restaurants and bars was “difficult to adapt”. But the couple’s creativity in engaging their followers in new ways gave them ideas they’d like to push forward. “We decided to share what we eat at home and post some homemade dishes and recipes to inspire others to recreate them, which has helped us stay in touch with our followers. This is something we would like to continue even after containment. “
Nicola King, who blogs as @eastlondongirlblog since 2016, took advantage of the time to give back to healthcare and hotel workers: “I decided to rotate my Instagram and blog to raise awareness of London businesses supporting the NHS and those in need during the crisis ”. She spent a few weeks creating NHS care packages and working with companies to provide frontline staff with skin care products and food and drink. “It was amazing to see so many people ready to help. Most recently my thread has focused on home deliveries and pastries! “.
@eatnlondon started her blog five years ago after moving to London without a job, and since then she has grown enough followers to make exploring the food scene her profession. As a blogger, she focuses more on the photo side of things: “My reaction was an urgent instinct to help restaurants, post stories and order food from home,” she tells us.
As we approach the reopening this weekend, we ask bloggers about their enthusiasm and if they are going to eat out right away. Although the anticipation is obvious, they are all playing their cards close to their chest: reservations have been made but we will have to wait for their stories to see where. @eatnlondon admits to us her dismay that she can no longer see us eating at a restaurant like we did before, but while @eastlondongirlblog admits that she too doesn’t know how things are going to turn out, she still plans to do her part for the neighborhood: “That won’t stop me from supporting local businesses in East London as I can some cheeky deliveries ! Although delighted with the news, @thelittlelondonvegan recognizes the role of influencers by stressing that safety comes first: “I am also very aware of having to be responsible and to promote responsible behavior on my page”.
Although TikTok is trying to establish itself as the go-to social media of the new decade (and @thelittlelondonvegan feel very old), food bloggers agree that – for now – Instagram is still the king of social food. Perhaps the Facebook-owned platform still has a trump card up its sleeve: “IGTV [Instagram’s long video platform] could become the main platform ”, @mvlondonreviews tell us. After all, like @KS_ate_here notes (and as the pandemic made it all too obvious), “nothing lasts forever”. Whatever the future holds – @luxeat hopes for more ‘slow content’ like the food media used to be, with an emphasis on ‘the stories and the people behind the restaurant photos’ – if you want to stay on top of food trends, surely the influencers are that are worth adding to your feed.
Here are their valuable tips:
@KS_ate_here: “My only advice would be that you have to want to do it for yourself, because if you’re doing it for likes and followers it’s a long road, especially now that the field is so saturated. You really have to enjoy it and have fun with it; if not, it just becomes a chore and it shows on your feed ”.
Camera or smartphone? “I am a 100% phone”.
Lux eat: “Be honest, first of all. I think it’s a lot better when people see you are genuine. Don’t compromise too much. If you really have a passion for food, it will be seen by others. And think about the stories of the people who created this food. A word of advice for Instagram photography: light is everything – and videos are important too ”.
Camera or smartphone? “I use both. Since I started blogging over 10 years ago I have been using the Leica camera, but now I shoot more with my iPhone 11 because it is more convenient ”.
East London Girls Blog: “One piece of advice ?! It’s difficult. I guess it would be to be really passionate about your topic ”.
Camera or smartphone? “I use both a camera and a smartphone. The quality of my smartphone (I use an iPhone X) is excellent. I then edit my photos with Lightroom ”.
Little vegan London: “My best advice to anyone new to getting started is to make sure your love for food shines through in your captions. The food world of Instagram is a very crowded place, but there is always room for people who are really passionate about their food! “
Camera or smartphone? “As far as my feed goes, I’m definitely more of a photographer, although I still use my phone occasionally.”
EatNLondon: “Be consistent, take amazing photos and always be kind.”
Camera or smartphone? “I am a cameraman. I also post iPhone photos, although I don’t necessarily prefer them. The image quality is much better with a good camera so I like to mix the two ”.
@mvlondonreviews: “The only advice we would give is to start and not worry about buying a high tech camera or trying to get things perfect, because that’s when it stays an idea.” in your head. We started by taking pictures every time we went out to eat and we just posted them. If you scroll through the first few steps on our page, you’ll see how basic the photos are, but we’ve learned and grown as we go.
Camera or smartphone? “We currently use our smartphones because they are easy to get out and take pictures, but we could eventually buy a camera.”