Who doesn’t love food? After meeting Emily Fedner in a class in LA, I devoured her mega popular food instagram account @FoodLoversDiary. The mouth-watering photos of all kinds of cuisine is enough to grab your attention, but it is her distinctive voice as a ‘foodstagrammer’ that keeps you coming back for seconds and thirds. Her clever ‘stream of consciousness’ type captions read exactly how she actually speaks! Adding to her foodie domination is her full-time role working in public relations catered towards what else…food! Take a bite out of Emily’s delicious journey.
Vivian: How did you start ‘@FoodLoversDiary’?
Emily: I started @foodloversdiary in college with my roommate, Nina. We were both constantly talking about food, eating food, or doing both at the same time so we decided to create an Instagram account dedicated to it! That, and the fact that my friends were getting really annoyed with me because of the amount of food pics I was posting on my personal account. And thus, @foodloversdiary was born.
V: What makes your Instagram account different than others?
I think @foodloversdiary is unique because it is actually a diary of the food I eat, which encompasses a huge range of cuisines and dishes (I don’t discriminate). From dumplings to pasta to cheeseburgers, I eat (and post) about it all, so @foodloversdiary represents my tastes, cravings, and sense of foodie adventure.
V: What opportunities have opened up for you since it began?
It first took off when I moved to LA and became a catalyst for connecting with other food-loving peeps (in fact, I met my best friends through foodstagramming). It also gave me the chance to become familiar with my new city because I was constantly exploring. And most importantly, @foodloversdiary has allowed me to to exercise my greatest passion: sharing and connecting with others over meals and exploring culture/history through the lens of food. Oh, and eating because I f*cking love eating.
V: Your captions have so much personality! How did you hone your voice so well?
Why, thank you! I wish I had a better answer for you but the truth is, I don’t agonize over my captions. I say whatever I’m thinking and that’s why it always sounds like me.
V: What’s your process for each post? How do you decide where to eat and what to get?
I definitely have an inclination towards Asian food so that’s always my first choice when deciding where to eat. I’ll eat at super famous/trendy spots but I actually prefer hole-in-the-wall restaurants with either a really great vibe or the lack of a vibe, which is a vibe in itself (ugh, I just said vibe so many times).
There are a few foods I’m always inclined to order. For instance, I basically have tunnel vision when it comes to menus that have a “noodle” or “pasta” section – always my first choice. I’m also really into seafood, especially shrimp, so that’s up there. BUT my favorite way to choose what I’m eating is not to choose at all: I often let my server take it away (if he or she seems knowledgeable) or I ask thechef to send out dishes. After all, these people work at the restaurant so they KNOW what’s good.
V: Your photos are so vivid! Do you shoot them yourself?
I do shoot my photos myself using only my iPhone 6 camera!
V: Just moved from LA to NY! What’s the difference for you socially, professionally, and foodie wise?
Moving is a challenging and exciting experience. I’ll preface the below by saying I truly can’t pick a favorite and hope to be bicoastal sometime soon.
Socially, both LA and NYC have a lot to offer. Something I love about New York is that you can find a bar or restaurant to fit any vibe–want to go to a retro 70s dive bar? Check. Want to go to a new orleans style restaurant patio? You got it. For me, that’s really exciting because I’m a sucker for ambience and love being able to choose a place based on my mood/desires at the moment. The best part about LA is all that the physical location itself has to offer: oceans, mountains, gorgeous weather – it’s unlike any place I’ve ever lived/spent time in and I love it. I also think LA doesn’t get enough credit for being the historic, nostalgia-laden place it is – I mean, it’s Hollywood! Amazing.
Professionally, NYC is really fast-paced and that’s something I love because I feel that it pushes me to be the best I can be and work as hard as I can…no half-assing allowed! 🙂
Food-wise: Oh boy, the age-old question of LA vs. NYC. They both have their strong-suits as foodie cities. LA has K-town: a totally epic mecca for Korean food, shops and life. I’m obsessed with it. LA also has amazing Asian food – Thai, Szechwan, Chinese… and that primarily has to do with the fact that the backbone of Los Angeles was built by Asian immigrants rather than European immigrants, like a lot of other major cities. However, NYC is food mecca, period. It’s where the action happens (in my opinion) and it’s where everything major and food-related goes down. Ok, not everything, but a lot of things. LA may have the SGV but NYC has Queens, etc. My penchant for ethnic foods is satisfied in both cities, and I love them both.
V: How has Food Lover’s Diary impacted your career in PR and vice versa?
My career in PR has taught me so much about the food industry I would have otherwise not known. To me, the greatest part of food PR is that it gives you an inside look at all sides and aspects of the industry. You meet media, chefs and restauranteurs. You get to witness the process of opening a place. You get to meet so many amazing, creative and talented individuals from all backgrounds who LOVE food and can geek out talking about food for hours – now THAT is amazing.
V: Do you cook or bake as well? How did you get such a specific taste for food?
I do cook! I’m obsessed with finding/making different pasta recipes. I “bake” but I use the term loosely because I’m talking, like, chocolate chip cookies (I don’t really have a sweet tooth).
I grew to love food because of how important it is to my family. We eat A LOT. Like, if you come to my house you will be force-fed by my mother and don’t even try to resist because it’s completely useless. Food differentiated our family and our culture, and while at one time I longed for my mom to pack me peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches rather than leftover Kakleti (russian pan-seared meatballs), I grew an appreciation for food as it relates to culture simply by witnessing the differences every day.
That said, food has always been a personal passion of mine – something deep within me that, while shaped and developed by my environment, will always be very internal. Even as a small child, I dictated which restaurants my family would go to on vacation and threw ridiculous tantrums if I wasn’t eating every hour (side note: not much has changed. NO ONE wants to be around me when I’m hungry – just ask my sisters.) It’s not just that food “tastes good” because, well, obviously. It’s that food, to me, is a way of getting to know somebody: who they are, what they like, where they’re from. Food is the common denominator as much as it’s the differentiator. There is absolutely nothing I love more than eating amazing food, drinking amazing wine and getting to know the person sitting across from me.
V: How do you connect with other social foodies?
I know this sounds kind of lame, but the first thing I did when I moved to LA was connect with a couple foodies via Instagram message and it worked! I met my closest friends in LA that way as well as an entire community of foodies that really made my time in LA magical.
V: What advice do you have for others trying to build their brand on Instagram?
Advice: ok I’m gonna get really corny here but BE YOURSELF. Find what you love and show the world. Ialways say that anyone can instagram their food–you have a camera-phone? Ok, you’re just as equipped to take food pics as I am. The difference is voice: no one’s account can be just like mine because my account represents ME: the foods I like eating, the way I like taking photos of them, the way I talk, etc. It’s not forced and it’s not phony, and I think that’s the most important piece of advice I can give.