I get the selfie. As seasoned social media consumers we’re all made aware of its significance to modern day culture (famously thanks to Kim Kardashian West). But if hashtags are anything to go by – and typically they are – it seems that the selfie has spawned another, newer group of hashtags, that all are part of a larger phenomenon. Namely, food’s very own selfie. And with over fifty-seven million collective tags on Instagram, #foodporn, #foodgasm and #foodie have become part of a certifiable thing.
I get why. Food, by its most basic purpose, equates to life. But spend a moment with that thought and you’ll want to argue a more robust case for food, because it makes you happy. You love food. Isn’t it logical that food get its moment of inter-webular insta fame? In search of answers I quizzed Tommy Lei (founder of MyBelonging) on his growing collection of immaculately plated snaps. A speedy Q&A with the insta-pro, below.
What is the most memorable meal you have eaten?
I counted fifteen courses, although it felt more like a twenty, at Scarpetta in Beverly Hills. It was personally cooked by head chef Freddy Vargas inside the one million dollar kitchen, and is by far the most intimate and delicious meal I’ve had. There were only four of us seated at the marble counter top.
Did you Instagram it?
Yes, I did. In-fact I posted an instavid of the meal.
How important is presentation?
Very. I don’t post sloppy food photos à la Martha Stewart.
Do you upload before or after you eat (I ask because what if the food, like Naomi Campbell, takes a good picture but isn’t very good)?
Before. I want all my fans to think they are about to eat the dish vicariously through me.
What is your favorite angle to shoot from?
From above for dramatics; macro for details.
What do you shoot and edit with?
I mostly use my iPhone 5S – it’s convenient. I exclusively use VSCO Cam for my editing.
Of all your food pictures, which is your favorite?
A picture I took at a Truffl dinner. I love it because it reminds me that the best moments are shared with others, even if you’re meeting for the first time.
Imagine you are dining at René Redzepi’s Noma. Would you snap for Instagram?
Obviously. But out of respect for Noma and René, I would do it discreetly.
What are your five go-to food-related hashtags?
I use #foodie, #foodgasm, #foodporn, #foodspotting, and #fromabove frequently.
What’s for dinner?
It’s a toss up between a hole-in-the-wall joint or a Jonathan Gold favorite. I’ll flip a coin.
– Images courtesy of MyBelonging.