Creative Coffee Breaks: Q&A with Alpha Foodie
As part of our Creative Coffee Break series on YouTube, we caught up with Samira Kazan AKA Alpha Foodie, a hugely successful food and travel blogger, photographer and stylist, on how she got into the industry.
- Tell us a bit about you and what you do?
My name is Samira Kazan from Alpha Foodie and I love food and travelling. I have a strong passion for mathematics, and it’s what I teach daily. Originally from Lebanon, I came to England to pursue my studies at Oxford University, where I gained a PhD in Engineering Science. After I finished, I moved to London (my favourite city in the world) for work in research and teaching.
- How did you get into blogging and taking pictures of food?
I used to have the classic problem of skipping breakfast and regularly found myself distracted at work by hunger around 11:00am. I needed to solve this, so I did a bit of research and after experimenting with various recipes, I came across ones that I really liked and started sharing them with friends on my Facebook account. I tried things I’d never heard of, such as chia seeds, spirulina and overnight oats.
As I was exploring these new superfoods, I fell in love with how tasty they were. I wanted to encourage my friends to eat healthily as well, so I started posting my meals on Facebook. One friend said I should use Instagram, which I didn’t know much about back in September 2015. I made an Instagram account and people started liking my posts and seemed very interested. That gave me more motivation and encouragement to dig deeply into the world of healthy yummy fun food that is also super easy to make!
- What was the inspiration behind focusing on breakfast and snack ideas? Do you have a favourite breakfast or snack?
Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I thought I should focus on that! They don’t say you should eat breakfast like a king for no reason 😉 …
- If you had to describe your signature style, what would you say?
Pastel, colourful and healthy with a fun twist. I love my food to look pretty since the eyes eat first (camera second).
- How do you shoot your pictures? Do you use any tools to edit them?
I use a Nikon D600 camera, tripod, and 50-millimetre lens. I use natural light and I edit using Adobe Lightroom. I love how simple it makes editing. My editing style is fairly natural but there are a few things I love to do when I want to give an image that extra ‘pop!’ For example, I like to use the Tone Curve tool in Lightroom to create different contrasts and make the colours and shapes really stand out. It brings an image which seems a bit dull back to life.
I’m just a foodie that has become a photographer by default simply through wanting to document my food creations. Because of this, I’m not really that tech savvy when it comes to photo-editing, so I love how simple Lightroom makes it for you.
- What advice would you give to aspiring photographers looking to get into blogging?
Interesting things happen outside your comfort zone, don’t be afraid of stepping outside the box!
Add your unique personality and personal touch to your images. Don’t be afraid of experimenting, it’s so much fun to keep learning new things and constantly growing our skills. These make the journey much more enjoyable.
- Do you have a food philosophy?
I follow an 80/20 rule: 80 percent of my time I eat super-healthy food, but for 20 percent I eat whatever I fancy, in moderation. I feel breakfast is really the most important meal of the day, so I make sure to have a very good breakfast. I also like snacking on nuts, especially almonds. Keeping hydrated is key to being healthy and focused. I love flavoured water (lemon mint water is great) and I keep a glass bottle in my bag at all times. For dinner, I have lighter meals like salad and grilled vegetables, or if I’m going out then I eat whatever I like from the menu (20 percent rule applies here). It’s about finding the right balance.
- What’s next? Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline?
I have two upcoming projects that I am super excited about. One is a collaboration with 20th Century Fox productions and another one involving meeting the royal family.