Communications and Marketing maven Kashma Evelyn brings her culinary background and love of food from the island of Nevis and her NYC-honed photography skills together to create one of the most delicious food Instas in New England — @FoodForKash. Even though she only started her account in 2019, she’s built a following of 20,000+ food loving peeps showcasing the best Caribbean restaurants in Roxbury and Dorchester, ‘gramming delectable food and views from the Seaport, and highlighting all the old world charm of the North End. She took time to chat about her photo philosophy (embrace color!), her top food Instagram accounts, and her favorite pizza joints.
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 and raised on the Caribbean island of Nevis, which is where my love for food began. As a little girl, I spent a lot of my time observing and eventually helping my parents in the kitchen, as they created tasty dishes like Saltfish and Johnny Cakes, Goat Water or Cornmeal and Steamed Fish. My sisters and I truly enjoyed all the spices and the aroma that came from our kitchen.
In 2009, I moved from the warm tropical climate, to the concrete jungle of New York City to pursue a degree in Communications and Marketing at Baruch College, and I now work as a Marketing professional. There in New York City, I was intrigued by the diverse food offerings and often found myself snapping photos of my meals. Boston, however, was never on my radar, until I met my boyfriend Jeffrey, four years ago. Jeffrey attended Northeastern University and worked in the heart of Boston. I soon found myself commuting and now spending much of my time in Massachusetts.
Over the last 8 years, my love for food intertwined with travel. I visited places like India, Dubai, Colombia, Hong Kong, and Paris to enjoy the history, culture and, of course, food! I often returned with a camera filled with food photography, and no designated outlet to document and share my journeys. This prompted me to create my food blog @foodforkash. Even with the encouragement from my family and friends, I was super hesitant to put myself and my photography out there in that capacity. I toyed with the idea for a few months until I took the plunge and made my first Instagram post on January 8, 2019, and the rest is history! Outside of food photography, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, or doing some cooking and baking with my niece, Ahri.
Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.
There are so many amazing spots that I can name, but here are my five choices:
- Fried Chicken Wings from Slade’s Boston. This was one of the first restaurants in Boston that Jeffrey introduced me to. This Black-owned establishment offers up amazing soul food options. I typically order their crispy, flavorful wings with a side of french fries. You’ve got to visit!
- Black Rice and Jerk Salmon from ZAZ Restaurant and Catering. I may or may not be addicted to this food. Let’s just say that I order take-out from ZAZ every week! ZAZ is another Black-owned restaurant where I enjoy the Caribbean flavors and spices of the black rice and jerk salmon dish. If you ever stop by, be sure to also try their Cajun Hush Puppies.
- Hot Mess and Cheese Burger from Crazy Good Kitchen. As the name implies, this burger is the kind of mess you’ll need in your life! Imagine a juicy beef patty, shaved steak, American cheese, tasty cheese sauce topped with griddled onions. Sometimes I’d get an extra side of cheese to drench over the burger — yeah, messy. I know.
- Banana Bread French Toast from North Street Grille. I always opt for sweet over savory whenever I’m out brunching. This French toast creation offers the right amount of sweetness that will leave you satisfied.
- Chicken Alfredo Pizza from AK’s Takeout: My go-to Pizza at AK’s will always be the Chicken Alfredo. The creamy sauce and delicious chicken creates an unbeatable flavor.
What do you think is on the horizon for restaurants?
There is so much to be said about the fate of restaurants during this current pandemic. I feel that restaurants will soon invest more in an online presence, whether that be increasing social media efforts, or expanding delivery application options. Social media has been quite the reliant marketing channel for restaurants to get the right information out to its patrons. I have seen quite a few restaurants rebrand their Instagram feed to focus more on the food offerings and delivery options, and less on the entertainment aspect that they were known for. In cases where indoor dining may or may not be an option, this has been a huge help.
I know many of us have seen our favorite restaurants temporarily/permanently closed due to the effects of the pandemic, so I continue to do my part by advertising new spots plus old favorites and encourage folks to support in whatever way they can.
Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?
Anthony Bourdain (@anthonybourdain): despite his untimely passing, I still enjoy living vicariously through his travels and passion for food. The first time I tried escargots was at his restaurant Brasserie Les Halles in NYC.
Carla Hall (@carlaphall): I’ve followed Chef Carla since her debut on Top Chef. Her delightful personality shines through her amazing recipes. I often find myself recreating her dishes.
Gordon Ramsay (@gordongram): He’s not only an amazing chef but a super entertaining TV personality. I’ve seen just about every episode of Hell’s Kitchen, which always made me crave Beef Wellington (If you’re a fan of the show you’d know). I’ve yet to try Beef Wellington, maybe one day I’d be lucky enough to meet him!
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?
CJ (@dinewithyoureyes): CJ is easily one of my favorite foodies based in the Caribbean. CJ who lives on the island of Barbados, whips up tasty dishes while enjoying that chill and relaxing island life that we all love. One day you may find her at a quaint Bajan hotel and the next she’s sampling jelly water on the roadside. I enjoy her tropical aesthetic that of course reminds me of Nevis.
Nkechi (@eatwhateveryouwant): I absolutely adore my fellow foodie, Nkechi. On her page, you’ll find the most scrumptious recipes for baked goods! Her dessert pizza, Ube ice cream and lemon poppy seed cake are some of my favorites!
Jean (@jeaneatz): Jean always brings the heat with his motion content! He showcases some of the best food spots in and around NYC. He’s the kind of foodie that isn’t afraid to try new things — Jean has a handful of sandwiches named after him, now that’s epic!
Recently, I have been glued to Shweta (@masalaandchai). She creates the most indulgent sweet and savory recipes matched by her amazing food styling. Her Butter Masala Pasta recipe, is literally one of the best I have tried.
Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.
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?
Lighting is everything! When I first started capturing food content, I would snap a photo in the darkest bar, too afraid to use my iPhone flash, which resulted in dismal photos. I quickly discovered how crucial good lighting is and adjusted my approach to avoid shooting at night. This meant I often revisited the same restaurant during the day to take advantage of natural light. That, of course, became an expensive habit.
As I continued learning more about food photography, I worked on framing the perfect shot. Whether you’re using your phone or digital camera, think of your angles, frame the photo, crop out unwanted elements.
Additionally, if you enjoy a colorful aesthetic as much as I do, I would suggest utilizing your surroundings for backdrops. For instance, whenever I am in Boston, I enjoy capturing photos against the amazing brick work, that provides the subtle pop of color to frame my shots.
Favorite place for outdoor dining: Deck12 at YOTEL Boston in the Seaport District – amazing views matched with great food.
Favorite Pizza joint: Galleria Umberto – they offer the most perfect cheese slice.
Favorite neighborhood for food: Roxbury and Dorchester for the best Caribbean restaurants, North End for its charm, and the Seaport District, have you seen the views? Love it there!
Favorite new restaurant: FIYA Chicken – I finally tried a Korean corn dog and it was amazing.
Favorite new restaurant innovation: Contactless QR Code Menus. This is a super convenient addition to the restaurant dining experience.
Meet The Tastemakers is a monthly column that shares the stories of those contributing to the conversation on Boston’s food scene.