One visit to Sylvia Fountaine’s luscious food blog, Feasting at Home, and I was hooked. Originally interested in her probiotic water kefir recipe, I couldn’t help but scroll on and on. Captivated by the incredible photography and produce-rich recipes, I’ve found myself visiting again and again, eager to experiment and explore.
There are thousands- tens of thousands- of food blogs vying for our attention, so standing out from the pack is not only advisable, but essential. Fountain’s combined love of photography and food has allowed Feasting at Home to flourish and enjoy an identity all its own. Her passion for raw, high quality ingredients is immediately evident thanks to crisp photos, shot with style and simplicity. Originally launched as a brand extension of Fountaine’s catering firm, Feast, the Feasting at Home blog allows Fountaine to connect and solicit feedback from her audience in a way that is authentic and completely honest. And speaking of honest, we caught up with Fountaine for an insightful look into her personal and professional journey…enjoy!
Sylvia, can you take us back to when you started Feasting at Home- what was the inspiration to take your work as a chef and caterer, online?
It was originally suggested by a friend as a way to promote my catering business, Feast. I fell in love with the process of creating recipes and photographing… and realized it was helping others learn how to create healthy delicious meals too. It was creatively fulfilling for me while being useful to others. A win-win!
Feasting at Home’s photography style stopped me in my tracks- bold, colorful and rich with light. Did your style and skill as a photographer evolve over time?
Thanks and yes, it’s an ongoing learning process for me. I love it so much; I’ve enjoyed learning as much as I can about photography. And practicing. When you love something, practicing is not a chore anymore. As I photograph more and more, the way I see has changed. My eye changed. I began to really notice light and shadow and how it affects what I am shooting- how it creates mood and tells a subtle story. When I was young I wanted to be a photographer, but my well-meaning father talked me out it to pursue something more “practical”. Now, 20 years later, I’ve come full circle and have a camera in my hands most days, and feel so grateful to be able to do this now.
You actively solicit input from your readers via email and communicate with those that comment on the blog, which is no small task. How does reader input affect your content?
I ask readers what their challenges are in the kitchen and then really pay attention to their answers. They are telling me what they need help with, and I want to help them. This gives my posts direction each week, and makes the whole thing more meaningful and real.
Your brand has many lifestyle touch points, not limited to the Feasting at Home blog, Feast Catering and Bowl & Pitcher store. How do all of your ventures work together- is there a symbiotic relationship to these various segments of your brand?
I think so. They all compliment and help feed each other. As the blog grows, I take on less catering, which at my age is a good thing. It’s a very physical and stressful job. The store is a project I started with my friend who has a real design aesthetic and a love for beautiful, handcrafted objects. The store is still in its infancy, but I see its potential.
You have a thriving, engaged social media community- what role has social played in the growth of your brand and blog?
Pinterest has been huge for the blog, bringing in new subscribers everyday. But with Instagram and Facebook, I am still a newbie. It’s hard for me to be engaging and social on these platforms, I’m actually pretty uncomfortable in that arena and quite awkward at times. I’m often tongue-tied. I much rather connect with people in person, eye to eye, one to one. 😉
Finally, if we were to point our readers to a few of your all-time favorite Feasting at Home recipes, what would they be?
P.S. I’m particularly fond of Feasting at Home’s Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms, Garlic & Sage. Yum!