by Jason Bourgoin | GM
b i t e new york
The 7 best follows on instagram.
There was a time when I took my cooking advice from early 90's episodes of The Mickey Mouse Club.
They had weekly segments where 'Kteers from the show would teach you how to make something savagely simple, mostly mixing fridge door liquids and creams with anything that could be chewed.
The recipe I remember the most was a show-stopping pasta course; a bowl of swollen spaghetti, sauced with equal parts KC Masterpiece and Hidden Valley Ranch. Justin Timberlake and Keri Russell’s private little wink-wink, probably; two of Disney’s untouchables laughing hysterically at the thought of America's youth feeding liquid-smoke flavored corn syrup with salty herbal mayonnaise to their helpless, trough-tethered parents.
When I grew to be a little older, my dad’s French roommate (ok, so he was Québécoise) taught me the romantic and time honored traditions of Poulet á la Rouge - a poem cloaked in tin-foil. I f’ing loved this meal. It was laser focused and stunningly elegant gliding over the dance floors of my 9 year old palate. Chicken legs and cubed russet potatoes braised in (yet again) a simmering hot spring of KC Masterpiece. Sometimes the budget was tight – my dad just getting back on his feet from an ill-planned deportation – so we’d use grocery brand President’s Choice BBQ sauce. It was then, also, that I first learned the importance of ingredient focused cooking.
Soon, though, I’d become addicted to the upstart TV Food Network. Most of this post has been a little tongue and cheek up to this point, but I’m serious when I say that 1994-1997 TVFN was some really great stuff.
…an all but unknown Mario Batalli getting out his pointing stick and showing you where, on the boot, his rustic recipes hailed from on Molto Mario. I remember running to the kitchen to make my maiden well of flower and eggs after I saw him make fresh pasta for the first time.
Michael Lamonaco had Michael’s Place, where he seemed and sounded plucked straight out of Beastie Boys Brooklyn. I had no idea who he was or of his insane pedigree at the time (Le Cirque, 21 Club, Alain Sailhac, Daniel Boulud) when I was a kid, but I do know that he taught me how to conserve my salted pasta water and to use a ripping hot pan when needed.
My favorite show of this early era Food Network hay-day was Taste with David Rosengarten. He’d take a dish - usually widely known and simple - breaking down all the errors of common man and how the dish was often misrepresented. Then, with his ginger brush back cheveux and full length pin-striped apron - he’d show you how to do the damn thing right. David, with his wide, laser patterned silk ties (tiny, tiny little knot), was amazing. LINK HERE. Check him out on YouTube.
In our age of social media and 20 second attentions, most of what seems to be left breathing in the television arena are food battles or the Guy Fieri eats playdough show. Now, when I'm in need of a food fix, a little imagination or edible inspiration...
I turn to instagram.
There’s a deep and stirring ocean of foodie photogs out there and – I loathe a couple's 6 week anniversary food selfie as much as the next – but… great, innovative, entertaining and even inspiring food follows do exist out there on the high seas; you just have to do a little sailing to find them.
So here, in no particular order, are my favorite food follows of @instagram:
Imbibe Magazine is an incredible source for cocktail knowledge and cocktail culture. Their website is a reference tool for drink recipes, spirits (old and new) and trends for all things liquid. The magazine is beautifully curated and smartly focuses on seasonal moods and innovations from around the country.
The Feed: It’s all about having their fingers on the pulse of the relevant cocktail and bar scene. Most of what they post are cocktail successes from different creative types within’ the cocktail community. Of course, they post their own pics and recipes too, but the feed feels more about imbibe being acting as connective tissue rather than the solid bone and muscle. Their dedication to sharing is what I truly love about this feed. Oh, yeah… the pics are often pretty stellar, too.
If you live in NYC, you can’t help but already know about Big Gay Ice Cream, their truck, and how damn good their soft serve is. With menu items like “The Salty Pimp”, “The Bea Arthur” and “The Monday Sunday”, it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that their instagram skews towards hilarious.
The Feed: Laugh out loud funny and soulfully bizarre would be how I’d describe @biggayicecream’s insta-game. There was a text conversation posted about a month back having to do with Carvel’s “Cookiepuss” ice-cream cake that had me cramping – slurping for oxygen – from my own giggle fit. He (I believe it’s owner Doug Quint running the thing) posts with a guerilla style flare for photography, so don’t come looking for early sunlit waffle cones and gritty black and white “Salty Pimps”. In part, it’s his garage gangster style that helps set up the jokes.
…and it helps to remind you to get that Biscoff spread inside your cone when you finally do go pay these guys a visit.
Coming from a Husband and Wife Photography duo out of LA, Dylan + Jeni is maybe, deep down, the follow I envy the most. I think I’m crazy about every picture that they’ve posted. The pair work as freelance photographers for a lot of heavy hitters like the aforementioned Imbibe Magazine, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, The Standard Hollywood and the list truly does go on. Check them out at dylanandjeni.com to read and see more.
The Feed: It's gorgeous. Their picks and their edits have such style and taste. Their food pics look beautiful and delicious, their portraits feel close and alive and their landscape stuff sneaks in there and makes you roll your eyes with jealousy.
Truly a couple of PROS.
Let me start off by saying, I live in NYC and these guys are from LA. I don’t know them and I don’t know how I came to follow them on instagram - but I’m glad I did. From what I can tell, they’re 2 bartenders and 1 Hospitality specialist working together to throw private cocktail parties for LA’s most able and inclined and to consult on new restaurants and other service opportunities.
The Feed: What I do know is that their stuff looks amazing. Their photography is spot on and the drinks that they post look so tight and finished. They gracious enough to give recipes for some cocktails and selfish enough to let you plead for others. Really great follow if you’re interested in the cocktail scene.
Brittany Wright is a food photographer (and possible amateur cook?) out of Seattle, WA. Her feed is photographic food porn of the soft-focus and artsy variety. Her work has been featured on buzzfeed, the kitchn, bustle, the today show, and yahoo food to name a few. Check out her site to read more.
Story: About two weeks ago, I was up early to the Union Square Green Market before I embarked on a company retreat. Embarassingly, it'd been a while since I'd visited the stalls early enough to really appreciate how incredible it can be. With the sun at the perfect and and all of each farm's best produce on the tables, I had a moment where it all paused, stepped back, and took a conscious moment to recognize how beatuiful and amazing our natural food can be. Pathmark doesn't get you there -
The Feed: Her pics tend to be mostly produce and produce organized into some kind of colorful gradient. It’s not acorn from a tree, but doesn’t feel fake or forced either. I’d describe her aesthetic as digestible architecture (I dunno, would I?) – lots of grid shapes, gradients and geometric tendencies. If you’re looking for forrest floor, this isn’t it - but I think it’s beautiful just the same.
Adam Goldberg is a travel photographer, general wanderer and Editor and Chief of driftmag.com. He believes that most of life’s important moments incorporate coffee on this planet and he’s working to document that experience.
The Feed: This intro would have you believing that the feed would be a lot of latté art – foamy dreamscapes of kitten whiskers and heart motifs – but it’s actually much more well rounded. I find this feed to be romantic and poetically lonely. It appears to be Adam roaming for his publication, seemingly with a female companion, taking photos of beautiful things that he passes and sees: lots of which happens to be food and coffee. I won’t spoil it with anymore words. Check him out.
Food52 is like the hipster-gone-first-time-dad’s response to Saveur magazine. The website is full of articles about cooking and hosting, carefully laced in product “suggestions” and recipes. It’s a business, man, and I don’t fault them at all for it. I dig it and I dig their instagram.
The Feed: It’s helpful and the aesthetic is consistent. I really appreciate the care they’ve taken on curating their feed to fit the instagram medium. They also take advantage of the video capabilities and they do it really playfully and really well. You probably know Food52’s brand a little bit and if you’re not following their feed, you should be.
I feel like I know this guy – like his older sister went to school with my brother and a couple times, when he was in middle-school and I was coming home from college, our parents had the families get together for a clam bake and I teamed up with him to win at egg toss. As it turns out, I do know Deuki Hung, because – back before he was chef of the ever-growing Korean BBQ joint Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong – he worked for bite as a newly graduated cook, fresh out of cooking school.
The Feed: Deuki’s a young chef whose got a restaurant with lots of local buzz and a cookbook about to drop: all by the age of 25! His feed (although, I’m probably biased) is an awesome account of a young kid in NYC realizing his dreams, one picture at a time. To say that we’re proud of what he’s accomplishing is an understatement. +10 for inspiration alone…