Photo Philosophy & Food Trends, A Chat with FoodWithABite

Advertising exec by day and fork-wielding, photo-snapping ‘grammer by night (and weekends!), Jasmine Turner has turned her love of food and photography into all the glory that is @foodwithabite. See how this Manhattan-born, Philly-raised Top Chef superfan is putting her Johnson & Wales degree to good use and keeping her flock of nearly fourteen thousand followers coming back again and again (hint: shots of cute cupcakes and over-the-top donuts don’t hurt).

Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?

I was born in Manhattan. Grew up outside of Philly. Studied in Providence. Now living in Boston. I’m a Johnson & Wales University alum; one of the few students who went to an internationally accredited culinary school to study Advertising & Marketing Communications. Currently, my day consists of providing my clients with digital business solutions at an Advertising Agency located in the Financial District. Off the clock, you’ll find me with either a glass of wine or a fork in my hand – usually surrounded by the love and laughter of my friends and family. My favorite cuisine is Italian and my spirit animal is cheese.

While in school, I was a staff photographer for my college chapter of @SpoonUniversity. Growing up, “Phone Eats First” wasn’t just a trendy hashtag, but truly a way of life. With the help of some friends, I mustered up the courage to start my own foodie Instagram account two years ago hoping that it would push me to start using my Canon DSLR camera. I love sharing food stories of local businesses within the Boston & Providence food community. I am so grateful to have all of the support that I do.

Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.

What do you think the next big trend is for restaurants?

The next big trend for restaurants is being socially conscious. It is so important for brands to have a voice and stand for a platform bigger than themselves that collectively benefits the human cause. Whether that translates to supporting sustainability, spreading diversity, or celebrating the culture of their menu items – consumers want to know that their money is going to good use.

Having a voice can also create a niche market for your restaurant. This niche builds a relationship between you and your food community. I imagine it translating similar to: Plant City Providence, the world’s first plant-based food hall, or Founding Farmer’s sustainability pact, or Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen spreading awareness about the Black Hospitality Coalition.

Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?

David Chang (@davidchang) – I am obsessed with his Netflix shows “Ugly Delicious” and “Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner.” He does a great job of discussing culture and food in a way that leaves the viewer with a revolutionary perspective of the dishes we take for granted.

Gregory Gourdet (@gg30000) – I am a Bravo “Top Chef” superfan. This is my mom and I’s favorite weekly show to watch. Gregory always carried himself with such grace throughout the season. I really resonate with his story and warm energy.

Melissa Stadler (@modern_honey) – Although seeing me in the kitchen is a rare occurrence, I love attempting her recipes. She creates unique dishes that the average person feels confident enough to make through her detailed descriptions. Shout out to the Banana Oatmeal Pancakes and Salted Caramel Cookies recipes.

Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?

Claudiane Philippe (@nailthecocktail) – I love this cocktail connoisseur. She vividly captures movement and emotion throughout her photography. I value her social justice content and the way she tells powerful stories through her posts. She also has a wonderful personality in-person.

Joanna (@joanna.lin) – I mean…just look at her photos; enough said.

Sam Schnur (@Thenaughtyfork) – Sam is the first foodie I ever followed. Her account is obnoxiously fun and she has great photography skills.

Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.

Fresh. Eclectic. Innovative.

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?

“For the love of food.” Food is art. Food is social. Food is something that not everyone has access to. One of my first toys was a fake camera that repeated positive affirmations when I clicked the shutter release. From then on, an elixir of dopamine explodes every time I’m behind a camera. Photography is the greatest expression of how I see the world. Being able to capture a moment in time to then share with others in the hopes that it brings them a taste of something that they can one-day experience gives me so much joy. Photography was always my escape from the mundane into the brilliance of this world.

Growing up, food was never guaranteed. For the majority of my young life, food represented both a struggle and an abstract conceptualization of my monetary desires. Attending a culinary university gave me the insight into the passion and craftsmanship behind preparing food. Food photography is my
‘thank you’ to the artists who dedicate their lives to serving delicious, sensory-satisfying food.

  1. Lighting is key: Seriously, use natural light; there’s nothing like it.
  2. Highlight what makes the dish unique: My macro zoom style is to capture the details of each dish. If I take five pictures of cookies, they’d all look different because my goal is to reveal the personality of the dish.
  3. Play with different textures: I highly recommend using different textures in photography especially when focusing on a single item. Not only does it break the lines within the photo, but it also draws attention to the foreground of the image, which should be the stage of your dish.
  4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: I can’t stress this one enough. For every good picture I take, there are at least five really (I mean really) bad ones. Be kind to yourself and remember that you can always try again (unless it’s melting ice cream).

A Few Of Your Favorite Things:

Favorite brunch spot: Monument Restaurant & Tavern Charlestown (@monumentcharlestown)

Favorite pandemic take-out/meal kit/cocktail: Koy (@koymeetsworld)

Favorite place for outdoor dining: Lolita’s Fort Point (@lolitateqbars)

Favorite BBQ joint: The Smoke Shop BBQ – Assembly Row (@thesmokeshopbbq)

Favorite late-night: Saus Boston (@saus_boston)

Favorite neighborhood for food: Somerville, MA

Favorite new restaurant: Easy Pie (@theasypie)

Favorite bakery: Sugar Baking Company (@sugarboston)

Meet The Tastemakers is a monthly column that shares the stories of those contributing to the conversation on Boston’s food scene.

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