By Phoebe Ollerearnshaw
World Food Tour caught up with Giulia Mulè, renowned Instagrammer (@mondomulia) and author of the food blog, Mondo Mulia. She shares with us her views on the latest culinary trends and Instagram’s influence on the dining experience.
Question: When did your interest in food begin, was it from a young age?
Giulia Mulè: Not really, I was actually quite picky as a child and I only learnt how to cook in my twenties. However, I have always had a sweet tooth and I loved helping my mum out in baking cakes and biscuits.
Q: Why did you decide that food blogging was a path you wanted to follow?
GM: I started my food blog six and a half years ago as a way to pursue my passion for photography. It was just a hobby, a creative outlet from the everyday office life. After a few years of blogging, I realised I could turn it into a full time job so I took the plunge into freelance writing and photography—I haven’t looked back ever since.
Q: On your blog/Instagram feed there is a huge focus on brunch inspiration; in fact, you have been described as the ‘brunch queen of London’. What is your favourite brunch recipe?
GM: I love brunch and I usually go out with friends to try new brunch spots around London. If I’m at home, I love to make Shakshuka using a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook (http://ow.ly/kIOz30jMU3n). It’s a rich, filling dish, which is full of flavours and the perfect blend of spices.
Q: Sticking to the theme of brunch, do you have any tips for making perfect poached eggs?
GM: I have never mastered the art of poaching eggs, but I do have a trick: I use silicon cups to poach eggs at home.
Q: You were the co-founder of @IGBrunchClub, can you tell us a little bit about the origins of the group and your fellow contributors?
GM: The IG Brunch Club started by chance. One day I invited some of my Instagrammer pals to dinner at a restaurant I was collaborating with. We had a lovely time together, so we decided to meet again for brunch at Duck & Waffle a few weeks later. We met again for brunch a month later, and then again and again until we decided to make our meet-ups official and the @IGBrunchClub was born.
Q: What is your ideal travel destination for delicious cuisine?
GM: The obvious answer would be my hometown: Rome. I love traditional Roman cuisine, especially pasta dishes such as spaghetti alla carbonara or amatriciana. I also love Roman-style pizza (thin crust), supplì al pomodoro (rice balls with tomato sauce), the ‘maritozzo’ (yeasted bun filled with whipped cream) and of course Italian gelato. I am always happy to share my tips for restaurants in Rome because alongside the good places there are also many tourist traps and I want everyone who visits Rome to have the best possible foodie experience.
Q: Why do you think that Instagram has become such a vital portal for food inspiration and consumption? Is it perhaps the aesthetic satisfaction that comes with a beautifully presented plate?
GM: I think food has been the subject of art and photography for a long time. What’s happened is that Instagram has given the tools to easily take, edit and share photos to a wide audience.
Q: What tips would you give to somebody trying to take an attractive food shot for their social account?
GM: Light is the key to a great food photo. Always take photos in natural daylight, so never in the evening or in a dark restaurant.
Q: Is there any particular equipment you need to take the perfect food photo?
GM: No, I take all my Instagram photos with my iPhone, without using tripods or any other gadgets, but photo editing apps are essential to get the best results.
Q: There are very mixed opinions about Instagram’s influence on the culinary world: some believe it gives amateurs a chance to exhibit their ‘work’, others believe that it is ruining the dining experience. What’s your view?
GM: I don’t think Instagrammers ruin the dining experience, but of course it is important to be discreet when taking photos (especially in a busy restaurant) and not disturb other diners. I definitely think that Instagram gives an enormous advantage to cafés and restaurants that are capable of using it well, i.e. creating beautiful content that is original and inspiring.
Q: A lot of the recipes on your blog are your own. Where do you find your inspiration?
GM: Sometimes the inspiration comes from my Italian heritage as I love to re-create recipes from my mum and grandma. Mostly though the ideas for my recipes come from something I have eaten or seen on Pinterest / Instagram.
Q: A day in the life of Giulia Mulè consists of…?
GM: I usually meet a client or a fellow Instagrammer for breakfast or lunch (always during the day to get the best light for our table flatlays, of course). I then spend the day working from home or from a café. Every day it’s different: it could be editing photos or writing a blog post, baking and styling recipes in my home studio, teaching a food photography workshop or travelling abroad to promote a brand or a tourism board.
Q: Can you recollect where you had your most enjoyable meal?
GM: It would probably be a plate of seafood spaghetti (cooked al dente) with a glass of Friulano white wine, eaten on a summer evening in Grado—an island in Northeastern Italy where I go every summer.
Q: Are there any chefs or food bloggers whom you really admire?
GM: There are many chefs and food bloggers whose recipes I love: Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, Edd Kimber, Rachel Roddy, Yotam Ottolenghi and Jamie Oliver.
Q: Do you have any ingredients or flavours that you are naturally drawn to?
GM: I love baking more than cooking and my favourite ingredients are nuts: pistachios, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and pecans. I travel a lot and if I visit a country that grows nuts, I always buy loads of them. I recently came back from Bali with bags full of cashews and peanuts.
Q: The food industry plays witness to a multitude of trends, some are simply fads and others have longevity. What culinary trends do you particularly enjoy and which do you wish had never been?
GM: I don’t usually follow trends, but one that I am happy about is poké bowls: the Hawaiian dish of rice bowls topped with raw fish. One trend that I wish had never been is turmeric latte (or any other colour—rose, taro, matcha, charcoal, etc.).
Q: Do you have any predictions for what food fascinations will appear in the future? What can the public expect to see more of?
GM: I have just spent two months in Bali, which has an amazing dining scene—especially for vegetarian and vegan restaurants. One of the best dishes I had there was jackfruit tacos, which I am sure we are going to see a lot more of here in London.
Q: Do you have any projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?
GM: Aside from my blog Mondomulia and Instagram @mondomulia, I am working on bringing my food styling and photography workshops to more venues in London and abroad this year. I am also part of a collective of Instagrammers called @CreatingForGood and together we organise creative events to raise money for charity. Using my creative skills to help others (refugees or men and women living in war zones) is certainly something I want to do more and more in the coming years.
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