Cooking your way to success: Gabi Moskowitz’s rise from blogging to stardom
No matter what part of the world you’re from, food plays a huge part in our lives. At its most basic form it is a source of sustenance, providing us with energy and life to get us through each day. It is also a source of history and a sense of identity. Foods connect us to our culture and ethnic traditions that can be linked back thousands of years. Aromas, spices, and dishes can incite feelings of nostalgia and bring up memories from your past.
On a recreational level, food serves as a source of comfort, joy, entertainment, and community. It can serve as a status symbol or source of obsession, because–who are we kidding–when we diet, that’s all we can think about. Food is important. There’s no arguing with that.
Recently, creative recipe-making has become a worldwide trend, with more food blogs popping up every day. Taking an Instagram photo of your breakfast may be cliché at this point, but the obsession around food blogging and photography refuses to subside.What type of recipe are you looking for? Low calorie, ethnic, paleo, vegan, kosher, halal, egg-less, sugar-free, chemical-free, gluten-free, one-step, two-step, one-pot, no-bake, hands-free – you name it, it’s there, online, waiting for your click.
Food blogging is not only an international phenomenon (#food has been used over 200 million times on Instagram), but has the potential to become a lucrative profession to the lucky few who gather a following. A successful food blog can often draw book deals, talk show gigs, endorsements and partnerships with big brands, and many more opportunities.
As a self-proclaimed baking-obsessed foodie (ask me about my salted caramel brownies), I sought out to understand this process. No, I’m not looking to turn into a blogging goddess myself, but I’m inspired by those who do. I wanted to get some insight from a pro; someone who took their passion for food and turned it into a phenomenal success.
From passion, to blog, to TV stardom
Gabi Moskowitz is the creator of the immensely successful BrokeAss Gourmet, a “premier food and lifestyle blog for folks who want to live the high life on the cheap.” She shares a full range of recipes from cocktails to finger foods to full meals, with all ingredients costing under $20 total. Not only do her recipes look amazing, her blog is beautifully designed. It’s hard not to foodie-crush on her when you read her down-to-earth, no-nonsense hilarious posts (take an example from one of my favorites, “How to Cook Tofu that Doesn’t Suck”.)
Following the success of her blog, Moskowitz has written four books, two of which are already published: The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook (Egg & Dart, 2012) and Pizza Dough: 100 Delicious, Unexpected Recipes (Egg & Dart, 2013). Two more books are set to be released in 2017: Young & Hungry: Your Complete Guide to a Delicious Life (Hyperion) and Hot Mess Kitchen: Recipes for your Delicious Disastrous Life (Hachette).
And if that wasn’t enough, her story inspired a TV show on Freeform (formerly ABC Family), called Young & Hungry .
Inspiration for all
I found Gabi’s fascinating story so inspiring, I so badly wanted to share it with Payoneer’s readers. Gabi graciously agreed to let me pick her brain a bit, to understand her journey and how others can be inspired to follow their dreams. Here is a taste for you, food bloggers and dreamers alike, on how you can turn your passion for food into a successful business.
• What moved you to start your own food blog?
“I knew my culinary point of view was unique and I really wanted to help people learn how to make uncomplicated, delicious food on a budget. At the time there wasn’t much else like it out there and it came from a place of wanting to give people good information.”
• At what point did you feel like you “made it”? Did you anticipate such enormous success (not to mention a TV show)?
“Ha! I still don’t completely feel like I’ve made it! But that’s only because I am always trying to push to the next level. I want to do so much more. But I will say that two moments stand out to me as being incredible: when I held my first cookbook (The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook) in my hands for the first time, and when we shot the pilot of Young & Hungry and I saw the kitchen that had literally been modeled after my own real life kitchen.”
• When, for you, did this hobby turn into an actual business? Do you still enjoy it the same way you did when you first started?
“It definitely started as a hobby/form of self-expression for me. But I knew early on that I was serious and that it was the direction I wanted my career to go. I really try to think of my blog not just as its own entity, but as a hub for everything else I do. I still love cooking and blogging as much as I used to. If anything, I love it more because over the years I’ve gotten better about it and there’s less fear to overcome.”
• What do you wish someone had told you when you first started? What advice would you want to share with anyone who wants to enter into the food blogosphere?
“I wish I had been prepared for just how much everything changes. It’s the only constant. Not only will technology and trends change, but you may find your style, your cooking, and/or your interests may change too. Roll with them, don’t resist them, and be authentically you. That’s the best way to stand out from the pack.”
Gabi Moskowitz is the editor-in-chief of the nationally-acclaimed budget cooking blog BrokeAss Gourmet, author of The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook (Egg & Dart, 2012) and Pizza Dough: 100 Delicious, Unexpected Recipes (Egg & Dart, 2013), Hot Mess Kitchen (Hachette, 2017), and Young & Hungry (Hyperion, 2017).
Gabi is the co-producer of Young & Hungry, a Freeform comedy, (Wednesdays at 8/7 Central), now in its fifth season, inspired by her life and writing. She also starred in a web series in conjunction with the show, called Young & Foodie.
When she is not blogging, writing books, or making television, Gabi contributes regularly to The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Lenny Letter. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Evan.