Edlira Hoxha knows how to make food look good, like really good. It’s a combination of unusual angles and good lighting, she says, but she’s also got a great eye for what’s visually appealing (and more importantly, appetizing). Her talent is exemplified by her ability to build two popular Instagram feeds — The Cravings Curator plus another community she helps manage called @bestfoodboston — which collectively showcase the city’s top food spots to nearly 83,000 people. Here, she shares how her Albanian grandmother taught her how to cook, spills the secret on which restaurant has the best pastry cart and explains the key to an epic overhead shot.
Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?
I have lived in Boston since I was a teen. I was born and raised in Europe until my teen years, moving to a few different countries prior to establishing roots in Boston. My most favorite memories from when I was younger revolve around get-togethers where, unintentionally, food ended up being the focal point. I always loved trying new foods while moving to different countries and sharing meals with new friends. I was fortunate enough to spend time with people who had a passion for cooking and food, which influenced me greatly. I especially loved watching my Albanian grandmother cook and learning to cook from her at a young age. Italian culture shaped me a lot as well, as I spent some childhood years in Rome. The passion with which Italians show towards food is really influential. I created my Instagram account as a hobby because it seemed like the perfect platform for sharing my combined love of photography and exploring new culinary destinations. I definitely believe that we eat with our eyes first, and my love for visuals always attracted me to the artistic side of the culinary world as well.
Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.
What do you think the next big trend is for restaurants?
I think a trend or perhaps a movement, rather, is going to be the focus on ethically sourced food, locally grown ingredients and a deeper farm-to-consumer connection. I think more and more establishments are now driven by social conscience. It is amazing to see concepts like vertical indoor farming that are becoming so successful! I think there will be a growing focus in the restaurant industry on reducing environmental impact.
You don’t have to venture too far to find delicious southern food in Boston- just make your way to @southernproperboston in the South End! 🙌🏼 – – The menu features delicious staples such as shrimp + grits, fried green tomatoes & fried chicken + waffles! 🤤 – -p.s. Southern Proper is now open for lunch M-F! – – – – – – – _______________________________________ #flatlay #onthetable #eating #instagood #flatlay #thatsdarling #brunch #hungry #nomnomnom #foodstagram #moody #nutrition #chocolatelover #inspo #foodaddicts #eathealthy #petitejoys #tasty #visualsoflife #nomnom #tv_living #dailyfoodfeed #buzzfeast #eatfamous #infatuation #vibes #healthyliving #flashesofdelight #thecravingscurator
Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?
One of my favorite accounts to follow is chef Brian Mercury’s @mercurybrian of Oak + Rowan . His pastry creations are breathtaking. It’s always exciting to see his posts and the unique way in which he selects intriguing ingredients. Another chef’s account that I love is Chef Lorenzo Boni @cheflorenzoboni. He is a chef for Barilla (the pasta brand) and posts the most satisfying pasta creations. I’m not hiding my evident love for carbs, as I also love chef Juan Perez’s account @juangpizza. He is the pizza magician at Posto, which in my opinion, serves up the most authentic Neapolitan style pizza.
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?
I love Gillie Houston’s (@gilliehouston) account. She is a food and travel writer and curates the most colorful feed, which gives me endless wanderlust. For recipe inspo I love @smittenkitchen. She makes me want to cook everything from scratch. My other top favorite account has to be @foodbabyny – Mike Chau, a NYC based food blogger, features his adorable kids in each food shot. His daughter, Sammy, is literally the cutest and funniest kid!
Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.
Evolving. Innovative. Energized.
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 photography philosophy tends to be based on the concept of curation. I love flat lays, unusual angles, and editorial concepts. I always hoarded magazine articles which inspired me visually and wanted to emulate the lighting and styling of those shots. I have worked as a stylist in different settings, such as fashion and food styling, so I have always been attracted to the editorial feel of photography. The best tip I can share is to keep trying different things, as it is hard to figure out what your style should be right away. Also, good lighting makes all the difference! As does a crisp, white background if you are doing overhead shots or flat lays.
A Few Of Your Favorite Things:
Favorite brunch spot: This is a hard one! Oak + Rowan, Post 390
Favorite place for outdoor dining: Cultivar, Coppa
Favorite BBQ joint: The Porch in Wakefield
Favorite late-night: Double Chin
Favorite neighborhood for food: South End
Favorite new restaurant: Tora