Food isn’t just about sustenance. It’s a way of life. Unsurprisingly, there’s a vast community of bloggers and social media inﬂuencers who have dedicated their days to bringing gourmet gastronomy to our screens. We’ve handpicked 10 who’ve got the recipe just right. By Rashima Nagpal & Sushmita Srivastav
A self-taught baker who became an Instagram influencer with over 300k followers, author of a cookbook and content creator for brands like Cadbury’s and Epigamia— Shivesh Bhatia’s success story writes itself. The baking prodigy, however, gives all the credit to his naani (grandmother) and her love for baking. His baking journey began at the age of 16 after she passed away. “It was my way of keeping her memories fresh. I was pursuing political science when I realised baking was a stress buster. So, I decided to give food blogging a shot.” Ask him about his advice for running a food blog, and he emphasises on consistency, interactivity, and confidence. At the moment, Bhatia is waiting for things to go back to normal so he can launch his second book, Desserts For Every Mood, as he continues to satiate his followers’ cake fetish on his blog, Bake With Shivesh.
From being a business developer to a finalist on MasterChef India, Karishma Sakhrani has had quite a journey. Her passion for food stems from her desire to eat healthily. “I still thrive on the thrill of making healthy food delicious and beautiful! My food is clean without being preachy, and is always beautifully plated or put together,” she says. When not at the gym or in the kitchen, Sakhrani is busy frolicking around the world. Although it’s all about balance and healthy living for Sakhrani, she’d prefer a Neapolitan pizza and a glass of Merlot to be her last meal—if given a choice. She serves up recipes, diet tips, and travel narratives on her website and Instagram page.
What started as a place to share her passion with the world gradually grew into Deeba Rajpal’s springboard for creativity. Baking still tops her chart, but a decade-long journey in blogging has taught Rajpal that it takes more to engage your audience in this constantly evolving subculture. “Fewer words, impressive images, content that stands out, and a takeaway for the audience,” she explains her mantra. Her blog, Passionate About Baking, and Instagram are marked by dark, moody, and rustic pictures, along with unabashed use of Indian props and accents. The baker-blogger has also grabbed high-profile food styling projects, including for Chef Vikas Khanna’s cookbook My First Kitchen, Pentagram’s Teabox, and more. At the moment, Rajpal is busy writing a dessert cookbook.
Born to a Punjabi family in Mumbai, Bhavna Kalra moved to Australia for work more than a decade ago. A software consultant by day, she’d turn to the comfort of desi food whenever she felt homesick. As much as she loved to cook and eat, she also had an appetite for words. The combination soon turned her into an avid food blogger better known as Just A Girl From Mumbai. Recently rechristened as The Modern Desi, Kalra has taken her ambitions a step further—now, she also hosts pop-up dinners at her home in Sydney. What hasn’t changed is her love for chai and the melting pot of sub-Indian cultures. “North Indian food is my forte because I grew up eating it. But I have started to make some decent Maharashtrian and Bengali food too,” she says. In addition to the homely food, a sprinkling of shayari adds to the palpable sense of nostalgia on her Instagram.
Five years ago, unsatisfied with her ordinary college life in Mumbai, Saloni Kukreja started a blog called Food of Mumbai. That wasn’t always the plan, though. “I wanted to go to culinary school when I was 15, but everyone thought it was too much to handle at that age,” she shares. She kick-started her blog with information about new restaurants, food trends, and events, backed by a visually appealing Instagram page. Simultaneously, she began experimenting with the ingredients in her pantry—making up recipes and standardising them, with a fondness for breakfast options and desserts. But for her, food was never just a hobby. Driven by her dream, Kukreja recently made it to a culinary school in Vancouver. “My aim is to learn about food at the ground level too—the seasonality of it and why sustainability is so important,” she says. The chef-in-training continues to appeal to her 200k+ audience on Instagram with mouth-watering dishes.
Ankiet Gulabani had picked the name Belly Over Mind for his website when he was just a kid, but it was only after his stints with multiple culinary media brands that he decided to start a serious food blog. Thanks to his idea of picking local ingredients and trying out curious combinations for his recipes, his blog picked up and soon won him nominations for the prestigious Saveur Blog Award two years in a row. But Gulabani believed it was too soon for him to get comfortable with life. So, when Spinneys’ in Dubai called him to take over their digital space, he packed his entire life in no time and moved to the UAE. Right now, the young blogger is busy exploring his newfound love for Middle Eastern cuisine and exhibiting it on his stunning Instagram feed.
Food writer Priya Krishna is all the rage in the US with her latest book, Indian-ish, which features recipes inspired by the food she ate growing up as an Indian-American. Think ‘saag feta’ visà-vis palak paneer. Even before the book, Krishna was a prolific food writer, with her stories appearing in many international titles. “Food is storytelling. It is impossible to divorce food from its context, and the story of how it ended up on your table,” she explains. Krishna was not so aligned with her roots as a kid. To avoid getting embarrassed by her mom’s dal chawal, she would insist on taking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school for lunch. A lot has changed since then. “There is so much more to Indian food aside from the dominant dishes on Indian takeout menus in America,” says Krishna, who can be found bragging about kadhi, kaju katli, chhonk, and more in her articles and on Instagram.
“The most bizarre thing I have tasted is natto—the infamous Japanese soybean dish smelled like stinky cheese and tasted like a bowl of phlegm,” Sia Krishna tells us. From tasting disasters to stirring them up in her own kitchen to whipping up a success story, Krishna’s blogging journey has been a rollercoaster ride. When microwaved dinners and takeaways didn’t go down well with her after a move to the UK, she started her cooking adventure with traditional recipes passed down by her ajji (grandmother) and amma. That’s what birthed Monsoon Spice in 2006. “My blog is a potpourri of regional recipes from India,” she shares. A quick scroll through her Instagram page is a walk through the country’s varied kitchens.
Popular on Instagram as The Gutless Foodie, Natasha Diddee realised her passion for food only when she lost her stomach. That’s right. After going through a gastrectomy due to a tumour in her stomach, Diddee took the challenge of eating selectively with zeal. She took to simple, home-cooked food and Instagram, serving as an inspiration for many along the way. While she’s developed a knack for cooking and documenting it all, she confesses, “I eat out of pure greed as I can literally say that my eyes are bigger than my stomach!” Based out of Pune, she likes to keep her Instagram fan base engaged with her day-to-day meals, ranging from veggie parathas to meaty thalis.
Around 12 years ago, when she was searching the Internet for recipes for her lactose-intolerant daughter, Sangeeta Khanna felt exasperated at the sheer number of misleading articles she found on nutrition. Fuelled by this frustration, she started both of her food blogs the same day—Banaras Ka Khana, to document the extravagant cuisine of her hometown, and Health Food Desi Videshi, for her own experimental recipes. Her blogs soon brought her work and global recognition. Today, she might be among the best in class, but her focus remains unchanged—to bust myths around nutrition and make everyday cooking easy.