Interview with Food Blogger: Jessica Lee Binder

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I met Jessica her husband Lon during a Las Vegas food event. Outside of them being incredibly sweet people, they are completely obsessed (and most importantly knowledgeable) when it comes to food. They also happen to write the NY based blog FoodMayhem. In their blog they discuss everything from how to make roasted poblano and chorizo black beans to their amazing dining experiences. I chatted up with Jessica to bring you a sneak peak into their lives. I warn you, FoodMayhem will make you hungry.

FE: What inspired you to start a food blog?

JLB: When my husband and I first met, we fell in love instantly over our shared passion to eat and eat well. We moved in together after just 3 weeks of dating, cooking together and eating out together every single day. My husband created the blog for us to remember all of the things we ate together and cooked together.

FE: What field of food does your blog focus on and why?

JLB: The blog has evolved over the years and follows our lives. We write recipes, review restaurants, where to find ingredients, and talk about traveling for food. It’s really notes for ourselves. I refer to FoodMayhem myself when I want to remember how I made something or whether or not I would recommend a restaurant.  Occasionally, we meander because it’s just what we come across, kind of like a personal food diary that we just happen to share with the world.

FE: What is a typical day in your life like?

JLB: My typical day:

1. grocery shopping

2. testing a recipe (photographing along the way and making notes)

3. cleaning

4, If the recipe is good, I’ll edit the photos and write a post about the recipe.

5. If the photos or recipe needs work, I may do it all over again either that day or the next.

6. In between everything, I check and respond to comments, twitter, and facebook.

7. On some days I go to press events in between.

FE: What was your childhood kitchen like?

JLB: My childhood kitchen was a nice sized eat-in-kitchen with yellow cabinets and windows on one side. Unmistakably Chinese, the pantries were stocked with star anise, rock candy, ginseng, and assorted teas. There was always freshly killed fish flopping in our sink, crabs trying to escape paper bags, and cases of fruit piled up in different corners. Something was always on the stove and it always smelled amazing. My mom never used appliances besides the stove and rice cooker, and cut nearly everything with a cleaver. Everything was served on corning-ware.

FE: What is your kitchen like now?

JLB: My new kitchen, just finished weeks ago, has 14′ ceilings with huge windows on one side. With 2 large sinks, 2 fridges, 3 ovens, 6 burners, 24″ grill, and a custom hood, it’s made for more than one chef to work comfortably inside. It was always our dream to cook and entertain together. Unlike my mom, we are appliance junkies and knife junkies. It’s embarrassingly excessive and obsessive. Much like my childhood kitchen, it is always stocked to the brim with fresh food and something cooking.

FE: What type of people read your blog?

JLB: Our demographics lean towards Caucasian and Asian, affluent, well-educated women. We welcome anyone who loves food.

FE: What comes to mind when you hear the word bacon?

JLB: Shh…don’t say it so loud or Lon might hear you. Bacon and Mayo are the two things I have to compete with for Lon’s attention.

FE: What is your favorite restaurant and why?

JLB: It’s so hard to pick a favorite restaurant because I have different favorites for different cuisines and price points. Plus, the list changes because restaurants change. Here are a few: Sushi Yasuda (sushi), Alta (tapas), Guang Zhou Restaurant (dim sum), Sunset Taverna in Santorini (seafood), Brooklyn Fare (Modern French)…

FE: What is your favorite ingredient and why?

JLB: Another impossible question! I can’t answer. Vinegar?

FE: What is your opinion of the current state of Foodtertainment?

JLB: I love that Foodtertainment has brought interest to cooking and the local and sustainable movements. This country was really losing touch with food. However, TV has also become so entertainment driven that Food Network no longer puts out quality shows. It’s just all lights and pizazz, made for mainstream, and less is out there for the real food enthusiast to watch.

FE: What do you think is the future of food blogging in the next 5 years?

JLB: Food blogging really exploded in the last few years and there are millions of food blogs out there. I think that in the next 5 years the numbers will shrink down as people realize it is not a get-rich-quick scheme and that it takes a lot of time and hard work.

FE: Would you like to give a shout out to the best joint that no one has heard about?

JLB: I tell all in my blog so no secrets here.

FE: What do you think is the most important issue facing foodies today?

JLB: I don’t know that I can say what the most important issue is but one problem we face in NY is the desire to eat locally when our seasons can’t really support that. We love the farmer’s markets but NY has long cold winters and if you truly ate locally, you’d be limited to apples, potatoes, and winter squash for months. That would not be wise nutritionally or enjoyable. I’m excited about the growth of urban farming and now waiting to see how they will combat Nov- Feb.

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Blanca Valbuena
I am one of the co-founders of FriendsEAT. Obviously, I love to eat. Other passions include A Song of Ice and Fire, Shakespeare, Dostoyevski, and Aldous Huxley.
Blanca Valbuena
Blanca Valbuena

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