Running a food Instagram is an unlikely path for a soon-to-be dentist, but it’s an indiction of just how much Emily Chan of Boston Foodgram loves documenting her eats. Below, she shares her thoughts on Boston’s food scene from simple to complex: her most-liked treat at Union Square Donuts & favorite new restaurant (hint: it’s in Eataly) to why she thinks upscale fast-casual restaurants are on the up-and-up.
Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?
I’m Emily Chan, the creator of the Instagram @bostonfoodgram! I started my food Instagram, initially called @emchaneats, while studying abroad in Copenhagen. It was so much fun to travel, try different cuisines, and share those experiences with friends. After graduating from Hamilton College and moving back to Boston, I wanted to continue sharing my food experiences but now with a Boston focus. I renamed it @bostonfoodgram and have not looked back since.
Currently, I am working in multiple sclerosis research but will be starting dental school at Boston University this summer. My mother is a dentist and has conditioned me to stay away from sticky foods. However, that does not stop me from eating and loving desserts!
Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.
Beef Tenderloin Thin Crust Pizza – Mistral
Vietnamese Coffee Donut – Union Square Donuts
Baked Alaska – Oleana
Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich – The Automatic
Lobster with Avocado Eggs Benedict – Café Luna
What do you think the next big trend is for restaurants?
I think more upscale fast-casual restaurants will be popping up this year, where you can get high quality food and do not have to sit down for hours. An example of this is Eventide in Fenway! You can order dishes like a lobster roll or oysters and pick it up at the counter with a very brief wait. I am not sure if this is good for dining culture, but Americans seem to be attracted to eating great food that is convenient and approachable.
Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?
I love following Chef Chris Coombs on Instagram (@chefchriscoombs). His pictures are always high quality and his plating presentation is 10/10. He also does not shy away from the Instagram story! I love seeing what happens behind the scenes at Deuxave, Boston Chops, dbar, etc. Chef Mary Dumont’s Instagram (@chefmarydumont) compiles pictures of her personal everyday life and gorgeous editorial food photos!
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?
Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.
Expanding, tight-knit, diverse
Which restaurants haven’t you been to but you’re eager to try?
What’s your food photography philosophy, and can you share your top tips for taking awesome food photos?
My food photography philosophy is to make the food the star of the picture. Photos on my Instagram tend to be bright, colorful, and zoomed in on the dish. The most important advice I have to take a stellar food picture is good lighting. Nothing beats indirect natural light. It makes the food! I really don’t mind shooting on a cloudy day because the light will be evenly distributed on all sides of the food. For shooting at night, I use an inexpensive portable LED light from Amazon. No editing app can fix a grainy, dark photo! I also try to shoot with a table or background that have colors that contrast the color of the food. All of the intricacies and color of the food will be accentuated in the picture. Can you imagine a picture of a brownie on a dark brown table? Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to pour, cut, or pull something for you! If you have looked at my feed, you probably know I LOVE action shots. I think it gives a little extra interest to a food photo. If the movement is done slowly and you take a burst of photos, you can get at least a couple clear photos with the perfect drip! Photo editing is also a key step in creating a gorgeous photo. I use Snapseed and Lightroom to edit. These apps help me enhance the color and clarity of the food. If you have any specific questions about editing, feel free to DM me!
A Few Of Your Favorite Things:
Favorite brunch spot: Café Luna – Huge brunch menu, good sized portions, never had anything bad here
Favorite place for outdoor dining: Banyan Bar + Refuge
Favorite BBQ joint: Sweet Cheeks Q
Favorite late-night: Lincoln Tavern
Favorite neighborhood for food: Seaport – There have been so many awesome new restaurants opening there lately!
Favorite new restaurant: Terra – I love the décor, Italian wood-burning grill, and simple yet delicious dishes.