I created a secret food Instagram a while back to keep track of the best places to eat in NYC, and also to just feast my eyes on different angles of mac n’ cheese when bored in recitations. After several months of following, realized that a Barnard student was running one of my favorite accounts, @tooomuchfoood. We met up in Diana a few days ago to talk about food, fame, and photography.
A: Can you tell me about too much food? How did it get started?
M: I created the account itself in 11th grade, but I have always taken a natural interest in photography (I literally take photos of everything). I had a bunch of food pictures and thought, why not just make a food account?
A: You were in high school! That’s pretty cool. Did you eat out a lot?
M: Actually not really. I mean, I’m from New York City, which helped, but I still had like, a curfew, and an allowance, so I couldn’t go out all the time. Probably like once a week. Most of the pictures I took were random things I’d get from like cafes or coffee shops and stuff.
A: Oh wow. This might be a stretch, but it seems like you would have a challenge to create a nice image out of food that may not have had an easy aesthetic to capture.
M: Not a stretch at all. The things I would post would literally be the donuts someone brought to class, haha. Sometimes I look at the pictures I take and think, wow, this is art. I would frame that noodle lift. Haha.
A: So you didn’t expect it to turn into a really big thing, I assume.
M: No not at all. When I first started I had like, what, 100 followers? It was just a fun thing I did, and most of my followers were people from school. I honestly can’t pinpoint a moment when I was like, woah, this is a big thing now. Maybe it was when I went to this food event in NYC (there are often gatherings in The City where a restaurant or something will host a bunch of people who run food accounts on Instagram). I probably had like 2000 followers at the time, and I don’t even think I was invited as @tooomuchfoood; I was my friend’s plus one. But there were all of these huge Instafood people there who had tons of followers, like @new_fork_city. I met a lot of people there and became more connected to this larger food community. I also took a picture of a flaming cotton candy thing, and that got about 700 likes, which was the most I had ever gotten at the time. But from then on, one thing sort of just happened after another. Last year on my first day at Barnard I hit 5,000 followers, and ever since then I’ve gotten about 1000 followers per week. This past August I hit 50,000 followers.
A: Wow that’s really crazy! If we were doing this interview in front of a daytime TV talkshow audience, they would all cheer at that last line. Have you gotten to do any other cool things?
M: Yeah! Companies have reached out to me and offered to send me food, haha. They’ll mail me something and be like, “can you post a picture of this?” Those are pretty neat. I’ve also worked with McDonald’s, Baskin Robin’s. I just did this cool thing for American Express. It’s been really fun. I was invited to Electric Zoo a few weeks ago as a food ambassador, which came with a VIP ticket for myself and a plus one. Tonight I’m going to a dog fashion show.
A: Haha. That’s so awesome. Do you plan on making this into a career?
M: I’m not too sure! I study Political Science and Judaic Studies, and those are my main focuses right now. I have a sneaker business on the side that I also really enjoy running. Food has always been a hobby for me. The account has been sort of lucrative, which is cool, but I usually just use the funds to get more food, haha. I’m open-minded; we’ll see where it goes.
A: I have to ask. Where’s the best place on the West Side to get food?
M: I love Italian food, so I would say Cibo e Vino on 89th. They have this really good Penne Vodka; it’s amazing.
Check out some delicious shots of food from around the city:
All images credit to Morgan Raum, who you should definitely follow for more pizza.