Behind the Scenes of The Naughty Fork
The most frequently asked question I receive is “How do you stay in shape with all of the fattening food you eat?”. The best (and simplest) answer I can possibly give you is: I don’t eat all of the food you see on my instagram. While that answer might satisfy some of you (and piss some of you off), this question has a much more intricate answer. I hope this article provides a little insight into the life of a food blogger and what it means to be a “food influencer”.
A Little Back Story
Before I get into my life now, I’d like to give you a little insight into my back story. Firstly, I have been infatuated with the concept of food culture ever since I was a child. There was something so special about how food could bring people together, and I knew that every time I sat at the dinner table. My parents didn’t cook often, which is why I found myself at a different restaurant 3-4 times a week. Because of this, I began to learn everything from food preparation and beverage pairings to dining etiquette and traditional foods. As you can probably imagine, lots of dining out lead to the inevitable weight gain. As a kid, weight wasn’t something I was worried about. I worried about being happy. And for me, eating food with the people I love made me happy.
It wasn’t until I started middle school that I began to understand the concept of ‘body image’ and ‘body shaming’. Being that I’m only 5’3″, even a 5lb weight gain or loss is noticeable. And everyone made sure I noticed it. I was a child that felt I needed to be skinnier, prettier, and better than I was. I lost a sense of what made me happy, and replaced it with what I thought would make others happy. I struggled with anorexia on and off for many of my middle school years. I also struggled with rapid weight gain once I did start eating food properly again. I had an unhealthy relationship with food and could never really love myself for who I was. In my mind, the only way I would feel happy in my own skin was the validation from my peers. Why should a 12 year old have to go through that?
With the world of social media, young minds are flooded with images of “the perfect body” that they believe are idyllic and nearly unattainable. Not only is this unhealthy, but it doesn’t exist. No one is perfect, least of all me. I put myself out there because I am proud of how far I have come, and if I can instill even the slightest bit of courage in someone else, I have done my job. I have worked hard to get where I am today, and thats something I should be proud of. But behind every social media post is that person’s own set of insecurities, including my own! Everyone has their own struggle with weight, whether it’s to gain it or to lose it. No one should feel that they need to be someone else’s idea of “perfect”, although it is an uphill battle we all face.
It has taken many years for me to be happy with myself and find that balance between my love for food and my health (mentally and physically). Truthfully, I still struggle with it sometimes! It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and be completely happy with what you see. The point is, I don’t want any of you to assume I have some secret to eating fattening foods and staying in shape. So if you all are expecting some miracle answer in this article, you will be disappointed. I struggle with it all the same way you do. I am only human. I will, however, do myself best to walk you through what it means to be The Naughty Fork and maintain a healthy lifestyle as well.
A Typical Week
As you can imagine, my job isn’t a 9-5. While this might sound wonderful, it doesn’t mean I work any less. I don’t have any days off. I don’t get a pay check every two weeks, and for the most part, I don’t even know when my next check is coming in. I don’t have anyone telling me what I need to do or finish by the end of the week. That means I have to go each day hoping my hard work eventually pays off. I try to create a schedule for myself, which means I do have a “work week” and a “weekend”, but truthfully I end up working on the weekends as well. This also isn’t a bad thing when you love what you do. I am lucky and blessed that I get to wake up every day wanting to go to work, but that doesn’t mean its easy. Below is an idea of what a typical day for me looks like:
6am – 8am: busy work. emails, meetings, edit videos/photos, press releases, work on website (round ups, lists, news), schedule brand deadlines/posts, and of course, take the doggo on an extra long walk 🙂
9am – 11am: workout! This truly is the only time I get to leave my phone in another room and disconnect from everything. While I work out to stay in physical shape, it is also just as much about clearing my mind. As far as type of workouts- which is why most of you are reading this article in the first place- this is addressed below.
12pm – 5pm: Shoots! This is the time I usually go out and get all of the content you see on my instagram. Whether I am filming at home, shooting content for a brand, or visiting a restaurant, this is the time it all happens.
6pm – late: Events! During this time of the day I usually attend events around Miami. They vary from happy hours to openings to product launches and everything in between. At this point in the day, I usually just want to be at home with my dog watching tv (if we’re being honest lol) but part of the job means networking and meeting different people in the industry and that is fun as well!
I travel roughly 1-2 weeks out of each month. These trips are usually press/media trips that are planned with a group of people (if I’m lucky they’re with friends in the industry!).
An example of a trip I went on for Qatar Airways. This was to promote their new Q Suite.
An example of a campaign content shoot. I traveled to Chicago to shoot this for McDonalds.
The Naughty Fork is a brand I built from the ground up, but it doesn’t completely represent me as a person. It only represents the half of me that loves fattening and indulgent foods. The other half of my life is spent eating vegetables, fruits, fresh fish and chicken, smoothies, and many other things that I don’t picture on my Instagram. This is not because I intend to keep this from you, but it is not what you all want to see. It’s that simple. My brand is focused on indulgent dining, and that is what my audience wants to see, so I have to maintain it and keep all of you happy! I am someone who likes all foods (and that means the healthy ones too). Plain and simple. I also want to note that I am not a food critic nor did I ever plan to be. I did not go to culinary school, therefore I do not want you to think I know everything there is to know about food. If you directly message me, I will give you my personal recommendations for different cities but this is based solely on my opinion. I am simply a “content creator”. I love photographing food and that is what I do. I will say though that I will not post a dish that I didn’t think was good.
I did address this in another article, but I will re-post it here so you can get an idea of what I actually eat during a normal week. This will also explain why I say “no, I don’t eat all of the food you see on my instagram”. Below outlines a few of them:
- When I go out to eat with my family, we all order different dishes and I take pictures of all of them. That doesn’t mean I ate 5 full plates of food, it just means I photographed multiple dishes from one place.
- Media dines! Media dines are invitations extended to media personnel in order for the restaurant to gain coverage through social media or traditional media outlets. In this instance, multiple influencers or press are invited to cover the restaurant. We all sit at the same table and photograph dishes which are then shared family style. If you see a plate of 12 burgers, there are probably 12 people at that media table.
- I’m sure you have all seen menus with pictures on them, or pictures on UberEats/Postmates, or even some on restaurant websites. That is another instance. On numerous occasions, I am asked to photograph multiple dishes, sometimes full menus, of a restaurant (which every restaurant does either when they first open, switch seasonal menus, etc). The food in this case is photographed for almost 3 hours or sometimes more, and usually taken back to the kitchen for the employees to enjoy. I never touch it.
- I have about 6,000 pictures of food on my camera roll, and another 10,000 on my computer. This means that in many cases, the picture you see posted could be from a couple of months ago, last week, or a year ago. If a picture is posted at this very moment, that does not necessarily mean I am eating it that very moment. For example: if I post a burger, and then a plate of chicken tenders, and then a pasta. I did not have a burger for breakfast, chicken tenders for lunch, and a pasta for dinner.
- If you see a picture of a pizza, I am not sitting around eating an entire pizza alone. I do have a family with young siblings. This means that nothing enters my house without someone running up screaming “Can I have it? Can I have it??!!” A lot of the food I photograph at my house is eaten (or should I say ravaged) by family members. Sometimes, I can barely get a bite in.
I also want to say that if I do happen to have a lot of leftover food, I make sure it gets eaten by someone. That has been my motto from the beginning and it will continue to be that way. I can not possibly finish an entire XL pizza, and no one should expect me too. I eat what I want and how much of it I want, and then I give it away to people who happily accept the food! Right now I am trying to find a better, more efficient way to feed the homeless. More of that to come soon!
The last thing I want to say about this is: this is a job. Just like all of your jobs, I take this seriously. If I am at a shoot, I am there for a reason and usually the reason is not to simply eat and enjoy. I am there as a photographer that just happens to be photographing food. Most of the food I actually eat and enjoy is not photographed, and that is because if I go to a restaurant as a regular customer, I choose to leave my camera at home. Just like all of you, when work is over, it’s over. In this line of work, you sometimes lose a certain appreciation for enjoying a meal with friends or loved ones. I try to take the time and separate what is work and what is play, and that means a lot of my actual meals go un-photographed. I started this because of my love for food, and I always try to leave the work at home and remember why I began doing all of this in the first place.
This photo was taken with a group of other food influencers. This plate was shared between 5-6 people after!
This is an example of a photo I took for a client
Sorry I made all of you wait until the end for this, but I felt like the rest needed to be said. While there are many instances where I don’t eat all of the food pictured (as I said above), there are also many times where I sit around and eat pizza and cookies and cake and chips and damn all of the consequences. Because of this, I have to workout like everyone else. I make sure to do at least 1 hour of exercise a day. While everyones body is different, I like to run outside and do workout classes. That is what works for me.
I do pilates (solidcore) 3-4 times a week, Barrys Bootcamp 3-4 times a week, and usually run ~6-8 miles a week. I love exercise and hate going even one day without it. I know it’s hard to get out there and workout every day. I also know it’s expensive and time consuming. For me, it is something that makes me happy. However, there are many workouts people can do in their own home or outside that costs little to no money and are flexible to your schedule.
I recommend buying weights and bands if you want to work out at home. There are many youtube videos that you can watch and follow for in-home circuits. I also think that if you create the right playlist, running outside will be that much easier. But if you aren’t the type of person to enjoy the gym or running outside, try a workout class with a friend. Even poll dancing or hip hop classes. Just get your body moving and have fun! Everyone is different and what’s important is creating the right exercise schedule for you!