Social media platforms all have a specific function for most of us–Facebook has helped us stay in touch with loved ones and provided us with endless videos of cute animals doing silly things; Twitter gives us bite sized news in short 140-character tweets and Snapchat…(well we’re still trying to figure that one out). But when we want to look for pretty photos of food, we turn to Instagram, voluntarily or otherwise.
This one particular Instagrammer, who has a background in branding and advertising, fills her feed with healthy food–we’re not talking about the usual vegan ‘clean-eating’ nosh from the next hipster cafe, but meals that she actually makes herself. Combine that with her knack in photography and you get @feedvannessa. Between running her business, planning her upcoming wedding in Melbourne and keeping fit, we find out how 24-year-old Vannessa Lee does it.
Acai and greek yogurt smoothie, topped with raw cacao nibs and bee pollen.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m currently working on the final touches of A Poke Theory–a fast food-first concept that will open its doors in Telok Ayer soon. It’s founded by my brother and I, which will serve up Hawaiian poke bowls, the all-popular T2 teas from Melbourne and more.
What got you into religiously making meals and documenting them every day?
I have a terrible memory, so I started taking pictures of my food and posting them on Instagram as my food diary me to visually record my meals and recipe. I was pretty set on eating healthy too, after having suffered from numerous allergies and being sickly from a diet laden with junk food all the time.
Poached egg on toast, with spinach and avocado.
How do you plan for these meals?
Most of the time, I wake up and just make what I feel like eating, or use whatever ingredients in the refrigerator that are close to their “best before” date to whip something up. For meals that require a bit more planning, like cauliflower pizzas or black bean brownies, I’d buy the ingredients on my weekly weekend trips to the supermart, and find a day to make them. I follow a whole bunch of Instagrammers from all over the world, who share beautiful recipes and gorgeous pictures of their food. They are my inspiration.
How much do you usually spend on groceries for meals like these?
Less than $60—and this pretty much feeds me for almost all my meals now that I work from home. I buy a variety of vegetables and fruits, some protein like eggs or chicken, and use beetroot or soba noodles, or quinoa, as grains. It’s just a little bit of every ingredient, mixed differently each time, and you’d easily get a colorful, nutritious and balanced meal that is tasty to boot.
Raspberry and blueberry smoothie bowl.
What’s your favorite superfood, and why?
I really do love my acai and raw cacao. I’m a sucker for anything that’s berries or chocolate. Raw cacao is chocolate in its original form and is without the artificial sugars and stabilisers.
Do you have a secret tip for taking drool-worthy photos of food?
Always use natural light! I know some photographers would disagree, but it is every average person’s best tool when it comes to taking food photographs. Always make it look natural-don’t over-arrange food. Always make it look generous, inviting, and don’t fuss too much about it. People love to look at food, and eat food, that actually looks like food without having too much done to it. It’s as simple as it gets.
Follow Vannessa on Instagram here.