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My crazy experiences of Blogging and how it all started!

My crazy experiences of Blogging and how it all started!

It’s funny how people give me that confused expression when I tell them I’m a food blogger. Some of the common questions I’m asked are “do you get free food?” “how do you manage to eat outside all the time?” “do you get paid for promoting a restaurant?” Well..yes I get free food, I workout to stay fit and yes, sometimes I get paid for my content.

Monish Shah

 Now here’s little bit about me and how it all started...

 I’ve always been passionate about food. Born in a Gujarati family it sorta runs in my genes. I love food and I could eat all day. My family and friends envy my appetite and I’m their ‘go-to’ person when it comes to ordering food or suggesting good places to eat. For me food brings a sense of calm and positivity - you could also call me a compulsive eater. Now I never really had any plans of becoming a food blogger - just like most of us I was trying to find that one thing I was most passionate about. It all started with one negative experience in a restaurant, where the food was dull, overpriced and the waiter refused to serve food on our plates as it was supposedly a “new dining concept”. Apparently, people even bought the idea and didn’t mind spending their hard-earned money to try something new. That’s when I realized the influence the food industry has on people and their psychologies. So I wrote a review on Zomato about this restaurant to voice my concerns. And that’s where it all began..I started writing about all my experiences - good and bad and slowly built a pretty credible reputation as a food blogger.

 After a few months of blogging on Zomato I started uploading my reviews on other social media platforms like Instagram and that’s when I realised I needed to step up my photography game. I spoke to other blogger friends and tried to understand how they clicked such professional photographs and managed to get great engagement on their instagram handle. Eventually I bought a professional camera, learnt the technicalities and soon I could see the difference it made. I gained a lot more confidence in what I was doing.

Firni at Juhu

There are so many tricks this industry has under its sleeve that we as a casual diners will never realize. For example, you might have noticed that in weddings the caterers usually keep really heavy plates and less seating arrangements just so you end up standing and eating lesser than you normally would, or recommend a free pani-puri or salad counter to the host in hope that most people will fill themselves up on low cost carb-rich foods and not reach out for the premium dishes which are by design, kept towards the end. There are so many more similar tactics used by restaurants and through my reviews I get to share my experiences and educate people so that we all can get the best out of our buck.

Gujarati Thali at Shree Thakkar Bhojanalaya, Kalbadevi. One of the oldest thali places in town

 Nowadays bloggers are more like influencers and being an influencer in this social media crazy world has quite a lot of perks. You get invited to exclusive launch parties, you are given special treatment and not to forget the amazing freebies! But it’s important to not get carried away and stay true to yourself and to your followers. Often I find myself at loggerheads with the PRs but in the end the key is to stick to what you believe in and let your experience guide you. After all people read and follow you for your opinion and the last thing you want to do is promote something you don’t believe in.

 Anyone who can influence the opinion of others to buy a product or service, can be called an influencer and we are all influencers in our own small way. When you talk to your friends about your new phone and it’s amazing features you are influencing their decision without really realizing it. So imagine when you have that kind of impact on thousands of people. That’s when brands come into the picture. Brands are constantly looking to partner with influencers for a space on their wall.

 In this digital world, being an influencer is not just a passion but a very viable business model. Some influencers have actually left their jobs just to focus on their content and turns out they are now making big bucks on a single post. Not just that, you get a chance to meet so many influencers, share ideas, discuss topics, talk about technology etc. It’s a different world that is ever changing and you can never be a step ahead.

 My advice to aspiring influencers is to not run behind numbers but to work on the quality of the content. People give way too much importance to the number of followers, page likes, subscribers or post reads and it’s easy to lose yourself. If you’re truly passionate about what you do then it’ll never really feel like “work”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely hard work but if you’re good then it surely pays off. Remember creating quality content is key!

Dessert spread at Elementaria Bakery Matunga.