Valentine’s Day 2015 I launched my food blog. I thought it would be a fun day to start it, since the whole reason I began my blog was for my love of food. I didn’t entirely know what I wanted to get out of it, but I promised that as long as it made me happy and that I had fun, I would continue. There certainly have been moments of guilt for not posting enough or moments of envy for seeing others “make it” while I did it slow and steady. But ultimately I have done this on my timeline for myself and that is why I love it.
Fast forward two years from that Valentine’s Day and so much of my life and my identity is around food, this blog, and the community I have found because of the foodie culture of Indianapolis. My love of building connections over a meal has strengthened. As a reflection of gratitude and appreciation I wanted to share all I’ve learned and gained from the world of food in the last two years.
Once upon a time, this girl (@FoodieIndy) messaged me on Instagram to say she admired my blog and wanted to meet for coffee. Since I was pretty positive this wasn’t someone trying to murder me, I said yes and met Megan at Lulu’s cafe on a dreary morning. We talked about blogging and I recommended she start a Yelp account and the rest is history. She became a Yelp Elite, seriously committed to Instagram, and even has gotten a job doing PR and Social Media for restaurants. Her Instagram account is AWESOME and people in Indy know her as “foodieindy”.
Throughout that whole time we went to restaurants together, volunteered at Dig In, and shared our passions. I love looking back and realizing we met and became friends because of Instagram. From that we’ve both done the Yelp Elite thing, are a part of Circle City Supper Club, and eat our way through this city. That is just one story (and my first experience) of connecting and finding friendship from Instagram. So many other connections have happened that way, some we’ve become friends in real life and others we stay connected online. I have met so many great people from Instagram and I love how an app has brought people together.
Two years ago, my role at my current job had me looking into various charitable focuses. We knew we needed a change and needed something that this generation of college students would connect with locally. We spent a year and a half looking into all kinds of causes, looking up national charities, surveying our membership to find out what they wanted to devote their time and money to for the future. It was serendipitous that fighting hunger came to the surface as an option for our international organization to focus on as our cause. The moment it was an option I realized that it was an incredible way for my personal passion of food and my professional role of community service and philanthropy to combine. I spent the next year making that dream a reality.
I have loved working with Meals on Wheels America and Feeding America on a national level and so many local Indy orgs to fight hunger in our backyard. It has been incredible to research what can be done to reduce hunger. I can say with confidence that fighting hunger will be a lifelong passion of mine and it has been the ultimate treat to get to have a job that allows me to help college women all over find that passion for themselves.
You didn’t think I could make it through a post about food without talking about them, right? Well if you did, you don’t know me well enough yet! This place, oh I could write a whole series on them. And hopefully some of you would read it. But for now, I’ll give you this blurb.
First of all, the staff at Cafe Patachou – Clay Terrace are MY PEOPLE. No, not in a surface-level “I think they are nice” way. They are who I look forward to seeing during the week, who I take my family to meet when they’re in town, who I love bringing treats around the holidays, who get worried when I haven’t visited in a while. On a more recent trip, I took my mom for breakfast while she was in town (she only gets to visit about once a year – California is just too far away) and by the end of the meal she made a pact with two of their staff for them to approve of any future men in my life since she isn’t in town to do that. Yes, my mom has added them into the approval process for bringing someone into the family (Thanks in advance, Mike and Pascal!). That is more than your average wait staff.
As if that isn’t enough, It has also been a privilege to hear their founder, Martha Hoover, speak a few times and meet their other staff members from other places. They are a company that gets that their success is in their people and they treat them accordingly. They know that sustainability matters and so does food sourcing. Plus they fight hunger with their very own Foundation. Can it get any better?
So you can have a girl-crush, but what is it called to have a company crush? That’s what I’ve got.
Healthy Living, Healthy Eating
In the last two years I have taught multiple cooking classes, received my group fitness certification, completed Whole 30, and done so many Instastories showing recipes that I can’t even count. I have realized I have a deep desire to always learn and in turn teach others. It has been such a joy to share my love of food and taking care of my body with others in multiple ways. Of course I love food, but I also care a lot about health – and yes those two can combine! Before this blog, I would’ve never categorized myself as a particularly “healthy” person but the more I learn about food the more I care about health. It has been so fun weaving these passions together into some side hustles that make me happy.
Women in Food
The last and greatest thing about these two years is the overwhelming amount of incredible women I have met that have a business or blog in the food world. We have found one another, lifted one another up, and created a pretty awesome community. Yes, we hang with the guys too but to see this group of empowered, strong women in food is what the world needs. From restaurant owners to food creators, or just admirers of the craft like myself – we all are here for one another and that is pretty awesome. The cherry on top, (pun intended for Cherry Bombe) is that it has allowed me to keep in touch with one of my dear friends, Tatum, from high school who has ignited her food passion through film – check her out (@seekingsalt)! We always loved food and spent most of our time hanging out in the kitchen or trying out yummy places when I visited her at NYU – and now we get to keep up with each other’s lives online. Yet another reason I am grateful for Instagram.
Looking back to two years ago, I was new to the city and looking for something to do. Most of my nights were spent at home. Now my schedule is almost too full and often filled with some sort of fun food event. These two years have taught me so much about life, but ultimately it has affirmed that connections are made at the table. They are made by breaking bread, asking questions, and listening to those around you. Hard conversations are made a little easier when you’re eating together – and I wouldn’t want it any other way. My biggest passions in life are growth and food so when I get to do both at the same time, it is the ultimate experience.
Here is to another two years of more connection, community building, and good eats!
In the midst of gratitude,