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By Ashley Brozic | June 10, 2016 | People
If Instagram is the new business card, then it’s safe to say that these photo happy foodies have the most delicious ones. They’re not chefs, nor bartenders; they aren’t necessarily in hospitality, and they may have never had any formal training. Instead, these are a few essential Miamians to follow on the ‘gram who will make you hungry with just a few scrolls.
Since 2011, Chat Chow TV has been walking us through the inner workings of Miami’s hottest restaurants, allowing us to meet the chefs behind these eateries through its video Podcast series. Likewise, Chat Chow’s Instagram is a high quality pictorial sampler platter of Miami’s dining scene curated by its founder, Giovanny Gutierrez.
A photo posted by Miami Food Blog, Pics & Videos (@chatchowtv) on
From 9-to-5, he's the director of interactive at Tinsley Advertising. At night, he moonlights as executive producer for Chat Chow and is a rum specialist for Facundo, Bacardi’s rarest luxury blend. This probably explains why his go-to drink in Miami would be a Facundo Neo Classic Daiquiri, finished off with croquetas and fritas from his favorite local haunts, Islas Canarias and El Rey de las Fritas. His tips for the best food photography? "Don’t use the flash, use natural light. Balance your colors, never use filters, and set the stage."
You may not know it, but the man behind The Food-e is Nick Peña, better known as Y100’s very own Nick on the Radio. His blog puts Miami’s hottest new eateries on blast, whether he’s reviewing a brand spankin’ new dim sum restaurant in South Beach or updating us on Miami’s very first mezcaleria.
"The Food-e started while I was on a work trip in LA and a friend of mine said, 'You really love food. You should start a food blog,'" he says. "On Instagram, you could find anything and everything: burgers, dessert, fancy dishes. You name it, we got it." At times, he even taps in food bloggers from other cities to show us their dining scenes. His favorite local haunts revolve around new and old Miami staples, from Joe’s Stone Crab to Pincho Factory, and Zak the Baker to Eating House Miami, but there’s one thing he’s not too keen on one thing about Miami’s dining scene. "You can't find good light at a lot of restaurants in Miami. Don't be afraid to ask a friend to pull out their phone and shine some light on the dish."
"I began photographing food and restaurants about 25 years ago during my early travels with my grandfather, who was a definite foodie," says Felipe Cuevas, the talent behind every magazine-quality photo on his food-centric Instagram @CulinaryLense. Each dish shot is worthy of a spread and with reason, too. His work has been published in multiple outlets, including Ocean Drive.
A photo posted by Felipe Cuevas (@culinarylense) on
His Instagram began as a way to share his experiences with family and friends, who were always asking him for restaurant recommendations. "I’ve been told that what makes my Culinary Lense account unique is that you can tell by the photos how much I enjoy interacting with food and the people who prepare it," he says. And of course, as a photographer, he has the best foodie photo advice. "One piece of advice I give to capture a mouth-watering image is to let the dish do its thing. Don’t overthink it. Drips and bubbles are good; so are textures like crumbs for a crunchy feel," he advises.
Who says you have to go out for a photogenic meal? Some of your best (and most photo-worthy) dishes can come right out of your own kitchen. Plus, they can be plant-based and kid friendly, too. As is the case of Jackie Ader, a stay-at-home mom with a knack for creating healthy meals in her kitchen (with her 3-year-old daughter Zoe as sous-chef), she teaches us how to conquer all, from blueberry vegan cookies to avocado toast.
Peanut Butter never gets old.. @foodforlifebaking English Muffin topped with @ginnybakes Dreamy Vegan Delight cookies, blueberries, coconut flakes, @salbachia seeds and a drizzle of @wild_friends chocolate coconut peanut butter #peanutbutter #toast #toasttuesday #chocolate #chia #chiaseeds #coconut #cookies #breakfast #brunchallday #brunch #brunchallday #sweettooth #sweettoast #allthecarbs #getinmybelly #feedfeed #foodporn #vegan #eeeeeats #noms #twohands #breakfastofchamps #foodie #gimmemore #blueberries #eatfortheplanet #morning #vibes #theminniechef
A photo posted by The Minnie Chef Ⓥ (@the_minnie_chef) on
"When my daughter was born and I began breastfeeding her, it became really important to me to have healthier eating habits," she says. "Since then I've only become more passionate about continuing to live a healthy lifestyle and making healthy, plant-based food taste good." It’s her way of teaching her daughter healthy eating habits, only she’s taking us locals along for the ride, too.
The Miami Menu will make you want to get out of your kitchen and start experiencing Miami’s food scene stat. "My cousin and I started The Miami Menu for fun because we loved taking pictures of all our food and wanted a different Instagram account to post them," says Alexandra Mesa. With a blog on the way, she and her cousin Ryan Heisler are busy documenting some of the city’s best dishes. If you’re lucky, your foodie photos can be featured on their account.
A photo posted by THE MIAMI MENU (@themiamimenu) on
But to run a successful foodie Instagram account takes much more TLC than using your iPhone as a point and shoot. "Invest in a good camera and you’ll never have to edit your pictures again," Alexandra tells us. "We used to take all of our pictures on an iPhone, and we thought they were decent until we bought a professional camera." Another tip she can give us all? "Take a video of your food from different angles and then capture a picture from that video. This gives you the option to either find the perfect photo or even use the video for social media purposes."
When a health coach and a sommelier come together, beautiful things happen. Case in point: Grape + Juice, a picture perfect Instagram account and blog run by Canadian transplants Cheryl Wiwat and Nicole Brandt. "Grapejuice was launched in early 2016 as a platform to tell the story of our shared love for food, wine, and family, all set in the stunning backdrop of the city of Miami," they said. "We are both originally from Canada, and draw constant inspiration from the palm trees, sunshine, and multicoloured art spaces that lend our Instagram feed it’s bright and colourful aesthetic."
My morning fuel to take on the day with a toddler and a newborn! Green #smoothiebowl w/ strawberries, kiwi, puffed quinoa and homemade granola (which you can find the recipe for at grapejuiceblog.com ) #riseandshine 〰 n.
A photo posted by G R A P E + J U I C E (@grapeandjuice) on
It’s true. Scrolling through their feed will show you two lives filled with plenty of color, prints, palms, kid moments, local organic eats, and plenty of merlot. Their blog provides plenty of recipes and oenophile tips, like what to pair with your rosé or how to properly attend a wine tasting. When it comes to their photos, they like to keep it simple. "Bright, natural sunlight always creates the most appetizing-looking food shots. I also personally believe that the 'perfectly imperfect' or messy-kitchen look is more visually striking. I like a little chaos," advises Cheryl. "And for a little boost, try using a large piece of white paper to reflect some of that beautiful light onto your subject," says Nicole.