The Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series is a way for you and I to get to know and support the wonderful Food Bloggers who share their delicious recipes at Kitchen Thyme.
Meet Ryan from Chisel & Fork!
Check out Ryan’s recipes at Kitchen Thyme!
Kitchen Thyme: Hey Ryan! Thanks for participating in our Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series! Tell us where you’re from and how you got into blogging?
Ryan: I live just outside of Baltimore, MD. I come from a family that loves food. My dad is an amazing chef and my mom actually has her own cookie business – Heartsong Cookies. When we would go on vacations, the priority was eating at great local restaurants. So because of that, I grew up with a love of food. Ironically though, I didn’t start cooking until college so I could save money. But how I got into blogging is actually by following another blog – Half Baked Harvest. I ran across her site a few years ago when looking for a cupcake recipe. After making it, I was hooked and started following her daily. I’ve honestly probably made about 50 of her recipes. As I watched her site grow, I thought…you know what? This could be fun to share the recipes I’ve made over the years. Part of my problem was I would make something and then forget exactly how I made it, so by starting this blog it’s been a great way to keep tabs on what I make so I can do it again.
KT: How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Ryan: So I wanted to do a blog on my two passions – woodworking and cooking. I was trying to come up with a creative name that could combine those two hobbies and Chisel & Fork just had a nice ring to it. Plus it wasn’t taken, which some of my other name ideas were.
KT: How long have you been blogging?
Ryan: 20 months
KT: Are you a part-time or full-time blogger?
KT: How many recipes do you publish each week?
Ryan: I currently publish 2 new recipes a week and then republish 1 old recipe a week so 3 total. For the first year or so I was just taking pictures as I was cooking that frankly aren’t very good so I’m slowly updating about 100 recipes from that first year. I also publish 1 woodworking project every other month or so. Those obviously take more time.
KT: After you publish a recipe on your blog, walk us through the steps you take to get more eyes on that recipe. What sites do you submit your recipe to? Do you use a spreadsheet to keep track of where you share your recipes?
Ryan: I submit my recipes here at Kitchen Thyme, Foodgawker, FoodYub and Fridgg. I also share on some Facebook groups and then post on Pinterest and Instagram. I do not have a spreadsheet as I just do everything at once when the recipe posts.
KT: What does a typical week look like for you? Do you create recipes and blog posts on certain days of the week?
Ryan: I honestly don’t have a typical week. Right now it’s just my wife and I so I make dinner for us 3-4 times a week. I always make dinner for two nights. The only thing I do that night when I cook is actually write down the recipe and take pictures. I’m not one that makes a recipe 5 times before deciding to share it, unless it’s absolutely terrible. If I have time, I’ll write the post that night and schedule it out. On weekends, if we’re not doing anything, I definitely will try to make a few recipes like a breakfast, snack and dinner so I can knock out a few posts. As far as when my posts occur, I post a new recipe on Tuesday and Saturdays and an updated recipe on Thursdays.
KT: Do you have a good blog/life balance? Do you unplug at night or on the weekends?
Ryan: I feel like I have a good balance. There are definitely some days where I don’t want to take pictures or write a post, but I love cooking and I love sharing recipes.
KT: How much time do you spend on Social Media each day? Do you use any schedulers for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Do you have a Virtual Assistant to help you?
Ryan: I probably spend around 30 minutes a day on Social Media. I use Tailwind for Pinterest, but otherwise I just share everything else on Facebook and Instagram myself. And no I don’t have a Virtual Assistant.
KT: What social media networks/websites give you the most traffic to your blog?
Ryan: Pinterest, foodgawker and FoodYub are my main ones right now for traffic.
KT: What AD networks do you have on your blog?
Ryan: I currently don’t have any ads.
KT: What are the main sources of income from your blog? Sponsored Posts? Advertisements? Affiliate Links?
Ryan: I don’t have any income currently. I’m doing this for fun at the moment but will look at ads down the road if my blog continues to grow.
KT: Do you have a long relationship with any particular Brands?
Ryan: No relationship yet, although I live just down the street from McCormick Spices headquarters! Maybe one day.
KT: Do you enjoy going to Blogging Conferences? If so, which ones do you recommend for Food Bloggers?
Ryan: I haven’t been to a blogging conference yet, but have debated on going to one.
KT: Where do you find inspiration to create new recipes?
Ryan: I do my best to balance eating healthy with eating recipes I can’t live without. So one recipe might be a quinoa salad and next macaroni and cheese. I believe you should have everything in moderation.
KT: What are your top 3 favorite recipes on your blog?
KT: Do you have great lighting in your house for photos or do you need to use artificial lighting or filters?
Ryan: Unfortunately I do not have the best lighting and during the winter I don’t cook during daylight unless it’s the weekend so I use artificial lighting in my basement. I actually made two DIY Ego Light Boxes, which is much cheaper than buying them. Directions can be found on Jennifer Meyering’s blog.
KT: What advice would you give to new food bloggers when it comes to taking photos of food?
Ryan: I bought the Pinch of Yum Tasty Food Photography ebook and found it very helpful. It’s $29. Also just look at other food blogs to get inspiration for how to take your pictures. Oh and practice, practice, practice once you start.
KT: Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Ryan: Half Baked Harvest Cookbook. There is a great variety of recipes and all are delicious.
KT: If you could cook with a famous chef or celebrity cook, who would it be and why?
Ryan: Bobby Flay – I grew up watching him on the Food Network.
KT: You are constantly working with food. What are a few ingredients you cannot live without?
Ryan: Pasta, cheese and spices. My two favorite cuisines are Italian and Mexican so cheese is an important part of both of those. I love good homemade pasta and spices like cumin, paprika, chili powder, etc. They give great flavor to dishes.
KT: Do you have any advice for someone starting a food blog?
Ryan: Don’t start a blog to make money. Do it because you love cooking and want to share your story with others.
KT: Thanks for joining us at Kitchen Thyme, Ryan! Where can our readers find you?
Website: Chisel & Fork