The Saigon Kitchen: an All About The Cooks success story

The Saigon Kitchen: an All About The Cooks success story

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From local fixer to home-cook

Back in 2019 when we started our search for the home-cooking heroes of Bristol, we discovered Trung Trinh on Instagram and asked if he fancied selling his Vietnamese food on our platform. He quickly said yes, and a very exciting journey began.

Living in North Bristol with his wife and son, Trung has spent most of his working life in television production – a career inherently inspired by his deep-rooted passion for Vietnamese food. Born after the Vietnamese war in a very small town by the sea in the North of Vietnam called Bai Tu Long Bay, Trung started cooking from a very young age.

“Growing up in a poor area, there were no restaurants or fancy food, except some carts that served simple street food, which meant that family mealtimes were very important. My mum taught me other skills too like how to use a knife, work an open fire, along with ways to identify and pick out the best ingredients and how to combine them to make well-balanced dishes. To make it simple, but also enjoyable. She told me cooking is one of life’s survival skills. It is very important and will stay with you all your life – the same as swimming. I’d like to introduce all Bristolians to what it is to eat fresh authentic Vietnamese foods. To taste the real Vietnam.”

And that he did...

When we launched late in 2020 Trung quickly become one of the most popular and best-selling cooks on the platform. His Friday afternoons were now spent in his home-kitchen in Horfield ahead of all his All About The Cooks collections later that evening. Taking home £4.5k+ in his first year of selling locally on the platform gave Trung the confidence that not only did people really love his food, but also that this could be more than a ‘side-hustle’.

All About The Cooks has always been about empowering talented home-cooks to earn money doing something they’re good at. But back in 2020 when our founder Claire suggested how brilliant it would be if one of our cooks set up something successful on their own in the future, we hadn’t anticipated that less than a year and a half later, Trung would be achieving his life-long dream of opening his first restaurant. The Saigon Kitchen finally opened its doors to the public this February, and Trung is now navigating a new role as a full-time restaurant owner, chef, and Dad! 

Despite now serving his food in a sit-down setting in this buzzy Zetland Road hot-spot, Trung is keen to point out that this this is still, and always will be, authentic Vietnamese home-cooking. He has great respect for his culture and the recipes which have been passed through his community, which he now has the chance to share with the hundreds of people that will walk through his restaurant door.

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“We want to give people the moral support to do their own thing. All About The Cooks is about empowering people. And, even if someone ends up being a huge success on the platform and ends up moving on to set up something on their own, I would think that was massive success for us – it would be brilliant to see that happen.”

Claire Ladkin, Founder - Nov 2020

The All About The Cooks team finally had the chance to pay The Saigon Kitchen a long-awaited visit last week, and were quickly reminded of Trung’s immense pride and passion for the Vietnamese food he prepares as soon as we arrived. As we tucked into our hanoi style spring rolls and sweet and sour ‘Bun Cha’, Trung caught us up on the long but rewarding journey so far, and together we reflected on how much he had achieved in such a short space of time.

We feel hugely proud to have played a small part in helping Trung achieve his life-long food ambition of opening his own restaurant, and we want to help may more talented cooks reach their goals. There is no limit to what our home-cooks can achieve, and that is really exciting.

If you’re disappointed that you can’t order Trung’s food on our website – fear not. Trung plans to take pre-orders for his food with us again very soon, for people to collect from The Saigon Kitchen to enjoy to eat at home. Keep your eyes peeled and you can enjoy that home-cooked Vietnamese taste with us again soon.

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Did you know that we’re crowdfunding?

Sharing is at the heart of everything we do at All About The Cooks, and we’d love you to share in our journey too. Now you can have your piece of the pie by becoming a shareholder of the business. 

We want to revolutionise the way we eat at home, and we’d love you to join us on the journey. If you’re keen to get involved, have a read of our pitch on Crowdcube…

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Make some extra dough

Make some extra dough

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In this current cost of living crisis, we've found a way for you to make some extra dough.

Cost of living crisis

 There’s no hiding from the staggering rise in the cost of living that is impacting millions across the nation, seeing the UK’s inflation rate rise at its fastest rate in 30 years. Unfortunately, the reality for many is that wage growth isn’t keeping up with these rising prices. The Office for National Statistics have reported that whilst wages rose between November and January, pay has still shown a 1% fall when accounting for rising costs. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has also driven costs even higher – with wholesale gas more than doubling. 

With record-breaking petrol prices, rapidly rising energy bills and our food and household goods all adding up, lots of us are left with the same question on our mind…

"How can I earn some extra money?"

Thought about pursuing a side hustle?

This rising cost of living is leaving many seeking opportunities to earn a bit of extra money on the side, now that the day job is no longer cutting it. Side hustles are becoming increasingly popular as additional work outside of the 9 to 5, allowing people to make money whilst pursuing a talent or hobby. 

Taking up a second job from your own home may be the game-changer you need to take the pressure off. The best part of pursuing a side hustle is that is can be entirely moulded around your lifestyle. Imagine doing something you love, where you choose your own hours, and you get paid – bonus! It gives you the flexibility of being your own boss, with all the perks, without the commitment of making it your full-time gig.

Pre-pandemic, the side hustle community was rocketing, having grown 32% in the past decade. For some people, this gave them a holiday fund or paid for the nice-to-haves. For others this money has become as essential way of covering the growing costs of living. 

All About The Cooks has found the solution to starting your own side hustle

Living amongst us, talented people are making extraordinary food in their own homes, wanting to share it to people in their community and earn a bit of money doing so. And we know people are always interested to find new, delicious things to eat on their doorstep. Up until now, there has been so safe or trusted route to market for home-cooks wanting to sell their food to local people, and this is where All About The Cooks has come in, to help those who are unsure where to begin. Perhaps you love cooking (and people love eating your food!), but you’re not sure how to set up a small business, with all that it entails.

Connecting talented home-cooks to busy customers, our easy-to-use online platform takes away all the stress in between, providing delicious, authentic meals to people all over Bristol. The best part? We are enabling money to change hands within communities, empowering  talented local people to make money doing something they really love – so far we’ve put over £28k in the pockets of our cooks.  

There aren’t only financial rewards to this side-gig, as already our cooks are connecting with new people all over the city to share their love for cooking and sharing stories about themselves and their food, all while putting a smile on people’s faces.

Etsy is the perfect example of a thriving platform, paving the way for businesses in the sharing economy. The idea of independent sellers shipping handcrafted, vintage and craft supply items to people around the world is not one that that sounds feasible, but their glaring success proved otherwise, providing thousands of crafters and creatives with a sweet monthly bonus. 

"Since launching in Bristol, we've recruited more than 60 cooks. They've taken more than 800 orders and earned themselves £28,000 between them. That's the thing I'm proudest of." - Claire Ladkin, founder

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Tomer, Bishopton

Tomer, based in Bishopston, is one of our talented cooks who spends his week preparing authentic Middle-Eastern food at home, inspired by his upbringing in Tel-Aviv. Having moved to Bristol for a more relaxed pace of life, Tomer found himself furloughed in the first lockdown, and following a neighbour’s plea to cook for them as they were tired of producing so many of their own meals, the idea for ‘Tavlin Kitchen’ was born.

"All About The Cooks gives me the opportunity to sell my Middle-Eastern food, as well as the ability to make money on my terms. Since I signed up with All About The Cooks, I've made £1500 cooking food for people around Bristol."

Since joining us at All About The Cooks, Tomer has been one of our best-selling cooks and now spends his spare time preparing Middle-Eastern feasts for many local, regular customers. 

"Tomer is a lovely guy, who went out of his way to make this meal really special. His food is amazing, with intense flavours, perfect execution and lots of interesting touches -- a tangy lemon salsa for example -- that take it to a completely different level! This was my first dining experience with All About the Cooks... and Tomer has set the bar very high!" - James (customer)

Check out Tomer’s ‘authentic and flavoursome’ Middle-Eastern inspired dishes here. If you, like Tomer, think you fancy yourself making some extra money from your home kitchen, start by reading more about how it all works today!

We have some very exciting news to share…we’re crowdfunding! 

Sharing is at the heart of everything we do at All About The Cooks, and we’d love you to share in our journey too. Now you can have your piece of the pie by becoming a shareholder of the business. 

We want to revolutionise the way we eat at home, and we’d love you to join us on the journey. If you’re keen to get involved, you can find our video pitch, our mission and team on our Crowdcube.

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All About The Cooks is Crowdfunding

All About The Cooks is Crowdfunding

We're excited to share that we are raising investment on Crowdcube, and you have the opportunity to become a shareholder in All About The Cooks...

Why are we Crowdfunding?

We chose to do a Crowdfund because sharing and community is at the heart of everything we do, so, we want to give everyone the opportunity to own a part of All About The Cooks. Whether you’re a loyal customer, a serial investor or someone who believes in us as much as we believe in ourselves – anyone can join our mission and help All About The Cooks grow, and in turn help local people generate an income, whilst making home-cooked food accessible to more and more hungry locals.

At All About The Cooks we are driven by the vision of a future where it is easy to eat real food made by real people, wherever you are. It’s a vision which has community at its heart. Food is the catalyst which brings people together, to share, to celebrate, to show you care…

We all love home-cooked food but it’s not always easy to make that happen. So we created All About The Cooks, an online marketplace to buy and sell home-cooked food, locally. The best part? You can have a piece of the pie for yourself when investing in us through our Crowdfund, check it out below!

"Our Bristol pilot has shown that we are really onto something, so we are now ready to start to take All About The Cooks to other cities too…. and that requires some investment. Since community is at the heart of everything we do, equity crowdfunding is the perfect way to that. People who like our vision can back us by investing from as little as £20 to own a piece of our future, and share in our ambitious plans for our community too."

This investment will enable us to recruit more talented people and improve our technology so that, in the next year, we will be able to make delicious home-cooked food available in 6 more cities and recruit 250 more cooks.  

And we will continue to enable more and more cooks to sell their wonderful food to local people, throughout the UK. 

Milestones so far

  1. Proof of Concept – 60 cooks recruited, 800 orders & £30k paid to cooks
  2. Round lead by Cookpad – Japan’s leading recipe platform (100mn users, 70 countries)
  3. Massive social impact – money changes hands within communities
  4. No logistics, highly scalable, UK market £4billion+
  5. 100% 5 star reviews

" We will become the go-to place to buy and sell home-cooked food, like Etsy for food”

This is where you come in...

We plan to revolutionise the way we eat at home… And we’d like you to join us.

Find out about our mission, our team, and the investment opportunity on our Crowdcube page.

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2021 Christmas Gift Guide

2021 Christmas Gift Guide

It's time to ditch those last-minute, mindless purchases this Christmas. Forget all the rushed online orders for risky gifts and endless excess packaging. Giving the gift of home-cooked food is one of the most thoughtful (and satisfying!) presents to receive at Christmas time, but we don't all have the to get creative in the kitchen. Luckily our talented team of cooks have you got you covered for all your food gifts this year.

Everything you need to build your own house, including delicious homemade gingerbread cookies, an assortment of sprinkles and sweeties, and a bag of ready made royal icing. A great gift for creative kids (and adults!)

A traditional Chilean style fruit cake scented with cinnamon, clove, ginger and coffee and loaded with raisins, candied fruits and assorted nuts.
This pan de pascua would make a gorgeous gift with a bottle of Baileys.

A traditional Chilean style fruit cake scented with cinnamon, clove, ginger and coffee, loaded with raisins, candied fruits and assorted nuts.
Makes a gorgeous gift with a bottle of Baileys.

Elin’s ‘just add’ gift bags are a fun present for people of all ages. Choose from Kladdkaka (Swedish chocolate cake), or Franska Pepparkkor (Swedish spiced biscuits) and you can try baking something new at home.

Give the gift of festive family fun with one of Laura’s Christmas pizza kits which includes slow proved dough balls, semolina, San Marzano tomato sauce, Fior di Latte mozzarella, parmesan, Italian fennel sausage, pancetta, caramelised red onion, chestnuts, and fresh sage. 

Rita’s traditional biscuit gift bags bring the taste of Sicily to Bristol.  The almond piparelli make the perfect accompaniment to Sicilian sweet wine, and the croccantini are delicious with a cup of tea.

Rhiannon’s slow cooked ham finished with a festive sweet glaze and accompanied by a jar of spiced pear chutney full of Christmas flavours makes the perfect gift for busy friends this year. A great staple to keep in the fridge and enjoy during the countdown to Christmas.

Home-made stollen beats its shop-bought rival every time. Priscilla’s traditional German recipe includes nuts, spices, candied fruits and is covered in powdered sugar and marzipan,  finished in a lovely gift wrap.

Home-baker Anne makes old-fashioned crumbly fudge using a family recipe, as well as a delicious take on sourdough brownies. Beautifully wrapped in compostable cellophane, they both make great gifts for those with a sweet-tooth.

Let them choose what’s on the menu with an All About The Cooks gift voucher. Simply enter an amount, the recipients name and email along with the date you’d like them to receive the digital voucher and they can enjoy whatever they want, whenever they want it.

Merry Christmas from the team at All About The Cooks!

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10 Reasons to buy or sell through All About The Cooks

10 Reasons to buy or sell through All About The Cooks

We want authentic home-cooked food made by locals to be easy to buy wherever you are. Here are 10 reasons why you could benefit from buying or selling with All About The Cooks.
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Why should I buy food from All About The Cooks?

1. For an authentic food experience

These are diverse dishes being cooked in home-cooked kitchens using family recipes that have been passed down for generations. We are not Deliveroo – we are about real food, conscious choices and authentic eating experiences.

2. Food safety

Your food is always safe – our cooks are registered with the council and have passed all necessary food safety and hygiene tests. We expect a 4 or 5 star rating.

3. Save time

We lead busy lives and shopping and cooking can be a hassle. What if you could still provide home-cooked food without doing either? 

4. Feel good

You can feel great knowing you’re still feeding yourself and your loved ones great home-cooked food made in kitchens, not factories.

5. Connect with your community

We’re building a community of home cooks who want to bring their neighbourhoods together by sharing food. Buying food from local cooks helps build these communities, and gives you the opportunity to meet new and interesting people.

6. Be a trailblazer

We’re still relatively fresh in the Bristol food scene, so why not be a part of the story and spread the word? You could be one of the people that knew us before we were ‘cool’. 

7. It's easy and hassle free

See something that takes your fancy on our Instagram page and have it in your basket in just a few seconds – it couldn’t be easier.

8. You can trust us

We are a cashless business, and all your details are kept safe. Better yet, any food you buy through All About The Cooks is protected by our Product Liability Insurance.

9. Discover new food

If you’re a curious eater, All About The Cooks gives you the opportunity to discover cuisines that you might not otherwise have tried before.

10. Confidence in our cooks and their food

We get to know our cooks on a personal level, so you can take our word for it. You can also see reviews from other customers, so you can be assured you’re buying from a reputable home cook who makes delicious food.

Haven’t ordered with us before? Get 20% off your first order with the code: SAVE20 at checkout.

Why should I sell my food through All About The Cooks?

1. Feel empowered and enabled

People will finally be able to discover you and your food, which is fully paid for before you get the order – which means no more no shows!

2. Make money doing something you love

Start that side hustle you never thought was possible and make that home-cooking dream a reality.

3. Be your own boss

You cook what you like, charge what you like and work when you like. How’s that for flexibility?

4. Share your culture

Diversity is vital in building communities where everyone can feel they belong. By sharing your love of food, you’re also sharing part of your culture with the people around you.

5. Join the community of cooks

We want you to feel like you’re part of your own community of cooks. You’ll be added to a Facebook group where you can share tips, tricks and menu ideas with other like-minded individuals, and make friends too. 

6. We give you a platform

There’s no need for your own website (which can be tricky and costly), and you benefit from all our marketing resources. We want to give you a platform to help people find your delicious food. 

7. We're always here to help

We can give you confidence around food safety and creating a menu you’re proud of, and are always on call to help.

8. Work with food, without the pressure

You don’t need to work weekends / evenings if you don’t want to, which is unusual in the food industry. You can use the platform to develop new recipes and skills as a cook, without the pressure.

9. Have a role within your community

There’s no better feeling than putting smiles on the faces of your neighbours by sharing your food with them. Delicious meals make people happy!

10. Be part of the home-cooking revolution

We are offering an authentic and unique experience for people and you can be one of the first people to be a part of it.

Want to become a cook? Let’s chat.

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We’ve all gone bananas for banana bread: how lockdown reunited us with home-cooking

We’ve all gone bananas for banana bread: how lockdown reunited us with home-cooking

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The pandemic got lots of people heading into the kitchen for the first time..and helped us discover great home-cooking talent.

It comes as no great surprise that as a nation, we’ve been cooking less and less. As life moves at a faster pace and home-cooked dinner is traded off for the convenience of a takeaway in just a few clicks, there continues to be a noticeable shift in the way we are eating at home. The important cultural practice of home-cooking is beginning to get lost amongst the noise of everyday life.  

Ordinary people have started making extraordinary food in their own homes

Then suddenly the pandemic caused a huge shift in our daily lives, and for most, our cooking practices. Not only did lockdowns see a surge in ‘stock pilling’, leaving many reliant on Jamie Olivers’ guidance to ‘keep cooking and carry on’- many of us were forced to return to very trusty home-cooking habits. Using the tins at the back of the cupboard and old pasta shapes, replacing one vegetable with another and hoping for the best… the list goes on. More than anything, the pandemic gave a huge number of people the time and freedom to turn their attention to cooking for the first time. For some, this meant returning to a previously neglected hobby, and for others it sparked a completely new passion for experimenting in the kitchen.

Our social media feeds were certainly not short of cooking inspiration and amongst the reels and recipes we saw national food trends emerge. For the first few isolating months the labour of love for the humble sourdough loaf attracted the masses, including one of our home-cooks, Anne, who was drawn to the logistical challenge of getting her sourdough bread just perfect. 

Then we went bananas for banana bread and mad for fermenting and pickling things – kimchi, kefir..even alcohol! People were making new and exciting food in their own homes, and with the help of zoom classes, Instagram lives and cook-book borrowing, new home-cooking talent was starting to emerge.

“A friend and neighbour handed me a jar of what looked like slime encouraged me to get baking with it... I've been practicing and discovering ever since"

Bristol is one such example of a city brimming with post-lockdown cooking talents waiting to share their lockdown creations with neighbours and friends. Giuseppe lives in South Bristol and was left without work during the first lockdown, so decided to turn his downtime into productive time and pursue something he had always dreamt of- selling his own home-cooked food. Lockdown gave Giuseppe the opportunity to get busy making his favourite Neapolitan style pizzas, and he started sharing them with neighbours which helped bring his community together during a difficult time.

“Giving a pizza is like giving a smile, and people needed that during the lockdown. This is besides crucial, but an important point to me, because I do think that cooking has a social role to play, bringing happiness and connecting people"

Once he was completely happy that he had perfected his pizzas, he began asking his neighbours to give him feedback and was overwhelmed with how much they loved them. Giuseppe’s pizzas were getting rave reviews, from the delicious tomato sauce to the quality of the crusts and freshness of the organic toppings. Since the launch of All About The Cooks, he has started selling his pizzas to the people of Bristol- taking his lockdown hobby and turning it into a full-time side-hustle. 

When the world started to crumble, having fun in the kitchen offered calm and control to a great number of people during a very tricky year. It may be difficult to see any silver linings from this pandemic, but we have seen many positive food-related changes, particularly in the big rise in home-cooking and confidence with cooking skills. 

Home-cooking is creatively fulfilling, empowering and brings communities together – definitely a lockdown habit that we hope sticks around for good.

If you are interested in learning more about kimchi, kefir, sourdough or any other fizzy fermented business why not visit our friends at Every Good Thing in the Cargo shipping containers in Bristol.

We’ve teamed up with them to bring you an exciting giveaway. For a chance to win their Gut Booster Bundle, pop us a line at info@allaboutthecooks.co.uk with the subject ‘Every Good Thing’ and tell us what your favourite fermented food is. Make sure to include your name and a contact number. Good Luck!

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Feed your ambition: the era of the side hustle

Feed your ambition: the era of the side hustle

A side hustle is any additional work on top of your usual 9 to 5. Always wanted to dip your toes into a passion project? Then a side hustle is for you.

Life is too short not to be doing the things you love, but imagine if your passions could help pay the bills too. Your day job may be just cutting it, but everyone knows a little extra in the bank can go a long way.

It comes as no shock that 70% of young Brits are embracing the world of the side hustle; pursuing a second job from your own home may be the game-changer you need that not only makes your pocket happy but also gives you the financial freedom you’ve always wanted.

But what exactly is side hustle?

The best part of pursuing a side hustle is that is can be entirely moulded around your lifestyle. Imagine doing something you love, where you choose your own hours, and you get paid – bonus! It gives you the flexibility of being your own boss, with all the perks, without the commitment of making it your full-time gig.

Pre-pandemic, the side hustle community was rocketing, having grown 32% in the past decade. Covid-19 dramatically shook up the British economy, with almost 10 million people on a furlough scheme by December 2020, and UK unemployment predicted to reach 2.6 million by the middle of 2021, leaving even more people turning to see what they can do from home to pass the time and make a bit of extra cash. It’s no surprise that Google Trends data shows that searches for the terms ‘productivity’ and ‘time-management hit a five-year high in 2020, with the number of searches for ‘how to make more money growing year-on-year.

Whether you’re saving up for a house, wanting to explore your creative side or acquire a new skill, the benefits of taking on a side hustle are immense.

Airbnb is the perfect example of a thriving platform, paving the way for businesses in the sharing economy. The idea of offering a room in your home to a stranger is not one we ever thought would make a dent in the holiday rental market, but their glaring success proved otherwise, providing thousands of homeowners with a sweet monthly bonus. Imagine if selling your favourite home-cooked dishes to your local community could do the same. After all, sharing is caring.

"All About The Cooks has found the solution to starting your own side hustle"

All About The Cooks has found the solution to starting your own side hustle, while also being a part of the home-cooking revolution, even for those who are unsure where to begin. Maybe you are not sure how to locate a customer base, advertise your food or ensure your kitchen is food hygiene safe.

Connecting talented home-cooks to busy customers, our easy-to-use online platform takes away all the stress in between, providing delicious, authentic meals to people all over Bristol.

Food is about bringing people together, which has become particularly important in the past year. So, whether you are a trained chef wanting to try out your own menu, or the holder of a secret family recipe you cannot wait to share, we are here to help. Have your meals paid for in advance, connect with new people all over the city and share your love for cooking, all while putting a smile on people’s faces, as many of our current cooks can testify.

Nikos, City Centre

Nikos is one of our city-centre cooks, specialising in Greek, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean delights. He works his passion for cooking around his day job as a duty manager in a hotel.

When asked what he thought the biggest benefits were from pursuing a side gig from the comfort of his own kitchen, he said ‘I get to do what I really love in my own free time, make a bit of money on the side and make other people happy with my food – I think that’s a triple win scenario!’.

His advice for anyone wanting to start their own side hustle is to ‘organise your free time correctly, start small and make sure you know your customers’. Most importantly, he says, ‘you have to enjoy yourself when cooking’. He admits that it can sometimes be a challenge, ‘but a happy customer is definitely a good pay off!’.

Nikos recommends his Spinach and Feta pie – ‘the epitome of perfection in simplicity!’. Check out Nikos’ page and his other mouth-watering dishes here.

Mrunal, Patchway

Mrunal, based in Patchway, is another one of our cooks who dedicates her Fridays and Saturdays to sharing her take on Indian street food with the local community. She balances this with her primary job as an aerospace engineer during the week.

She found the biggest gain from pursuing her own side hustle through All About The Cooks was ‘meeting lots of like-minded people’. Also, she says, ’you get instant gratification, and the expressions on people’s faces are very rewarding’.

Her advice for prospective side hustlers is to ‘keep your food as authentic as possible’, and ‘do your research!’. She is thankful for our platform, saying ‘it’s good for cooks wanting to start their own business’.

Check out Mrunal’s ‘vibrant and yummy’ Mumbai-inspired dishes here.

If, like Nikos and Mrunal, you think you fancy yourself a little kitchen side hustle, start by reading more about how it all works today!

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We eat with our eyes…

We eat with our eyes…

Meet talented food photographer, Mireya.

We spoke to award-winning photographer, Mireya Gonzalez about her passion for taking pictures and what it's been like meeting some of Bristol's incredible home-cooks.

There’s no doubt about it, there’s nothing that’s going to get your taste buds tingling like a lovely photograph of something delicious. People who buy through All About The Cooks will want to see great photos of the food they are buying. But we also recognised that the person who is creating the food is just as important – after all, it is All About The Cooks.

Choosing the right person to take pictures of our cooks and their food was really important to us at All About The Cooks. We set out to find a talented photographer who was as comfortable taking portraits of cooks at home in their own kitchens, as well as their incredible creations to ensure their pages looked wonderful on the website. We wanted someone who could teach our cooks how to take the best pictures they could themselves, and give them the confidence to experiment with their own photography in future. 

Mireya’s top 5 tips for photographing your own food delights...

 1. LIGHT

Find a nice source of diffused light that’s not too harsh.  A natural lights source works best so close to a window usually works. But make sure you don’t have direct sunlight shining on to your plate!

2. COLOUR

Play with colours, but always consider the colour of the food first. For example, if you have a plate of food with turmeric in it, play with blues and oranges, maybe green (but not all three at once!) Remember, simplicity is key.

3. FOCUS ON THE FOOD

It might sound obvious, but make the food stand out. The food is the focus here, so even if you make your plate or backdrop look great, the food is the most important part of the image.

4. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS

Always come back to your routes. Trusting your own instinct and adding personal flair to your images makes your work truly authentic.

5. HAVE FUN

Just do it and have fun with it! Keep taking lots of photos. Ask family members what they think, compare photos and enjoy taking pictures.

It was a tough ask, but we feel confident that we found the perfect person for this in Mireya Gonzalez. Mireya’s genuine passion for food combined with our mission to make it easy for people to eat home-cooked food created the perfect match. Her gentle way puts our cooks at ease and has resulted in outstanding photography for our website and beyond.  We have even been featured, along with Mireya’s incredible photography in the Sunday Telegraph.

Not only has Mireya been getting to know our cooks well from behind her camera lens, she has also been lucky enough to try some of the food from each of the cooks she has met and photographed (we’re not jealous or anything). After her home visits, we catch up about the pictures taken and conversations had, and how much we can learn about other people’s cultures and identities from the food they cook. Mireya has shared some great tips on how we can all get involved and take that insta-worthy food snap by just using a smartphone!

To see more of Mireya's Photography head over to her Instagram @foodphoto.bristol

What was it like photographing the cooks? Any best bits?

I really enjoyed it; it was a lot more enjoyable than I ever expected it to be. I think it’s so different when you actually go to someone else’s house, just the personal experience of them opening up their home and welcoming you in is so warming. I was overwhelmed with how accommodating they all were, and so happy to share their food with me which was lovely. I’d sent them all a list of things they should prepare before I came, and I was hugely impressed with how well prepared they all were. It shows that they all taking it seriously and are a lovely bunch of trustworthy cooks.

In terms of what I liked the most, All About The Cooks itself looks great and I can already see how people are going to be able to explore their origins and love for food through the dishes they cook. As soon as each cook started talking about their food, it was clear to see how passionate they are and how much they enjoy explaining the intricacies of their dishes and the ingredients they used. I found it contagious, and I went home after each visit feeling inspired and keen to cook something different and exciting. I’m from Chile but lived in Brazil for most of my life, and love cooking from these cuisines, as well as Indian and Mediterranean. The cooks I’ve met have inspired me to take flavours and spices from these different cuisines and integrate them into my own unique recipes.

Did you find they were all confident in presenting and photographing their own food in a way that will appeal to customers?

 

It helped that I visited their homes because I could tell they felt comfortable in their own environment doing what they love doing, it automatically gives them more confidence. They obviously all had different personalities; some were extremely open from the beginning and others less so, but at the end of the day we all really enjoyed ourselves having a bit of an experiment! Some of them were very confident in plating the food and some had a really good knowledge of how to photograph it too, it was really clear when they knew what they wanted to show through the photos. Other cooks had never thought specifically about shapes, reflections, light and shadows, but were still creating lovely looking dishes. I told each cook to plate their food the way they would normally, and then I would interfere in small ways, maybe tweak a few bits, choose a different bowl for example. As they will be taking their own pictures in the future to update their own pages on the website, I wanted them to take the lead from the beginning so I could see what ideas they had in mind.

Did they pick up your advice quickly, and do you think they would be able to confidently recreate your advice in their own homes?

Absolutely! I don’t like to complicate things, especially if they have to do it by themselves. They all learnt how to take simple and basic photographs that still look impressive and show off the best parts of their favourite dishes.

Where do you get the inspiration for your food photography?

I follow a lot of people on Instagram and love engaging with other people’s ideas but ultimately. I always trust my own eye. I’ve had a lot of experience with colours and light and shadow when working as an illustrator, and that’s what got me into photography in the first place. Most importantly, I always come back to my routes when I try to create something. There’s so much great stuff on the internet, and it’s easy to find inspiration, but I think it’s often all similar. If you want to create something that’s truly authentic, you have to always look inside your routes. Look at your personal background and what it is that makes your food unique and try and highlight those things.

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