Adele Franghiadi reports on the recent Food Standards Agency audit of Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, which was given only 1-star out of 5.Written by Adele Franghiadi on 19th May 2018
Interview: Nutella Tasha (@nutellatasha)
Redbrick’s Amber Allcock interviews Nutella Tasha, a Birmingham-based Instagram blogger, about her insider-knowledge of the city, and her Instagram experience.
Hi Tasha, or indeed, Nutella Tasha! First and foremost - what inspired you to start Instagram blogging?
I started my @nutellatasha Instagram as a way of promoting my blog page, but it evolved into a mini blog in itself. I like how instant it is compared to a conventional blog, which helps now that I have a full-time job. I enjoy taking pictures and I love that I have been able to build up an audience that want to know about the vegan options in Birmingham.
“I want to go fully vegan eventually, so I love to do my reviews from this perspective and only show vegan foods on my Instagram
I know your diet is dairy free, but you are also a pescetarian - are you lactose intolerant and, if so, is that what inspired you to start up a food blog for others?
Yes, I am lactose intolerant and I created a blog niche around that. Before this, my blog was a mish-mash lifestyle blog, which was fun, but not as focused. I cut meat out of my diet for ethical reasons which made my blog and Instagram vegan as a result. I think it’s really important to have a focus for your page, and I want to go fully vegan eventually, so I love to do my reviews from this perspective and only show vegan foods on my Instagram.
I find your Instagram fascinating. I used to think that Birmingham was lacking individuality on the food front, but your Instagram really made me think differently about Birmingham's food scene and has inspired me to try lots of new places. How do you discover new eateries?
I'm so happy that my Instagram has helped to show others how diverse Birmingham's food scene is. There are a great amount of amazing, independent places and the vegan options that are available in this city are vast. I walk around Birmingham a lot, so I find a lot of places this way. I also have a number of food blogger friends that share new places they've found, and Google Alerts helps too. I literally make it my mission to be in the know!
What do you think about Birmingham's rising food scene? Do you agree the options are now getting more extensive, or have you always found it easy to discover new places with a little bit of research?
I'm a Brummie through-and-through and I've been here since I was 9 months old. I moved away for uni to Bristol for 3 years and the contrast between Bristol and Birmingham was vast at the time, but it seems to be narrowing now. I enjoy Birmingham's food scene and like the fact that it isn't pretentious. I love that this is a city that embraces the independents because they give Birmingham so much unique character. I used to find it difficult to find new places, but now that I have a stable job and know where to look, it's become a lot easier.
I know you have a beauty Instagram too (@nutella_does_beauty), do you find it difficult to balance both, alongside having a full-time job, or do you find Instagram more of a stress release?
I used to cover beauty on my blog but since getting a niche I had to let that go, and so having a beauty Instagram helped to fill that gap in my life. I concentrate more on my food page now though, so it's not balanced at all. The beauty one is just for a bit of fun and focuses on how I'm trying to go vegan with my makeup and find items that suit my skin tone and dry skin type. I work as a Social Media Manager as well, and so it can be overwhelming sometimes to use Instagram after work, but I do enjoy it a lot and, like you mentioned, it's a good stress release for me.
“I enjoy Birmingham's food scene and like the fact that it isn't pretentious
What is the thing you love most about Instagram blogging?
The amazing community I've been able to converse with is the best thing about Instagram blogging. The people I meet are great, and someone even recognised me whilst I was eating in Natural Healthy Foods - she told me that I had helped her to find new places since she had decided to go plant-based. I love the way people notify me about events or ask my opinion on certain eateries too, it's nice to know my opinion is valued! I’m always honest in my reviews and I hope this shows people that I'm genuine and a trustworthy vegan food reviewer.
Obviously you try a lot of restaurants, but do you like home cooking too, and if so, what's your favourite thing to make?
I love cooking but only when I have time because I’m super slow at it! My favourite things to make are pasta and buddha bowls, and, of course, trying out new vegan recipes is always at the top of my agenda.
Do you enjoy being a part of the Brum Bloggers community and do you meet up regularly?
Brum Bloggers are amazing. I've been a part of this supportive community since 2013, so I've seen it change so much and I've been able to make some great friends too. I meet up with a lot of them frequently, but I am also lucky enough to see a number of them at events in Birmingham as well.
Your Mum features a lot on your Instagram and you seem to try a lot of restaurants together, is that a passion you share?
It’s definitely a shared passion of ours, which is why she is normally my plus one everywhere. She's become infamous amongst my Brum Blogger friends for her straightforward opinion! Our shared passion of food comes from my extended family - we are a family of food lovers. My mum is a natural at cooking, she knows what works and doesn't follow recipes but the end result is always amazing. She's invented some awesome dishes, which she probably gets from my grandma, who is seen as the master of food in my family.
If you had to give your best advice to someone who wanted to start up a food blog, what would it be?
Ooo that's tough. It would be to find a niche - discover your style and enjoy it. The passion will always show through your words!
“My Mum's become infamous amongst my Brum Blogger friends for her straightforward opinion!
Who are you top 3 Instagram food bloggers, what do you love about them?
There are so many food bloggers I love. But my top 3 would be @AvantGardeVegan, @ChaiceChaice and @VegansofLdn. The first is an amazing vegan food vlogger, his images and recipes are incredible. Have a look and you'll see what I mean! The second is based in Birmingham and is ace at showing great places to eat vegan food in this city. She gives me recommendations all the time and they have always done me right. The last shows me all the best places to eat in London which inspires my annual foodie pilgrimage there!
What do you think Birmingham's food scene is missing or lacking?
The food scene in Birmingham has improved so much, but I still think more cuisines are needed, as we are lacking a number of them at the moment - Afghani and South American to name a few. And, although it’s improving, I would also like to see more vegan food places as well - you can never have too many options!
Thanks to Nutella Tasha for the interview - make sure to check out her Instagram for more info on her favourite spots in the city.