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 on Kitchen Thyme.
Meet Jacqui from The Pasta Project!
Check out Jacqui’s recipes at Kitchen Thyme!
Kitchen Thyme: Thank you for being part of our Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series! Tell us where you’re from and how you got into blogging?
Jacqui: I’m originally from London but have lived most my life abroad. 20 + years in Malta and now 15 years in Italy! I’ve always loved cooking but I developed by passion for pasta in Italy. Having worked as a journalist in the past, writing is also another passion! There are so many different types of pasta here in Italy (some say 360+) and of course such a variety of recipes from the different regions, most of which non Italians aren’t familiar with. I thought it would be a great idea to share info about the different types of pasta and their origins etc plus recipes. My ‘motto’ is ‘change your pasta life’ and I guess that’s what I’d like my readers/followers to do.
KT: How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Jacqui: My blog is really my own journey through the wonderful world of Italian pasta. My goal is to cook/make as many types of pasta as I can and share the recipes with others. So, really it’s a life project!
KT: How long have you been blogging?
Jacqui: I started my blog in September 2016.
KT: Are you a part-time or full-time blogger?
Jacqui: ‘Part-time’ in theory as I also have another part time job teaching English, but in practice I’m spending a lot of time on the blog!
KT: How many recipes do you publish each week?
Jacqui: on average 2
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?
Jacqui: All my new blog posts are automatically shared to Twitter via Bloglovin. I normally share newly published recipes first on The Pasta Project Facebook page and in my Facebook group Pastaliciousness. Then I pin to The Pasta Project Pinterest account and share on some group boards. After a couple of days, I share new recipes on various Facebook recipe groups, especially some Italian recipe/food groups. These generate a lot of likes, comments, shares and traffic. I also share on Instagram, Fridgg and Yummly but Instagram and Fridgg not regularly and every recipe goes on Yummly but I don’t do any more than post the recipes to the site. I only use spreadsheets for Pinterest and Facebook recipe groups. I share new recipes (and sometimes old ones) on different FB food blogger group share threads.
KT: What does a typical week look like for you? Do you create recipes and blog posts on certain days of the week?
Jacqui: I usually try to post 2 new recipes a week before Friday when my newsletter goes out. But am not able to follow a strict posting schedule. So could be Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday! I cook and photograph one day and edit photos and write the post the next.
KT: Do you have a good blog/life balance? Do you unplug at night or on the weekends?
Jacqui: Blogging is practically a 7 day a week activity for me, but the amount of time I spend on it varies. However, now that I am ranking well on Google, I’m able to take days off without it affecting traffic! My hubby works 12 hour days during the week and works Saturday mornings too, so I’m pretty free to choose when I want to work on my blog or spend time on social media to promote it.
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?
Jacqui: I’m on social media most days. Sometimes just for an hour. Some days for longer. Yes, I have a lovely VA who manages my Tailwind schedule to which she adds old pins and newly published recipe pins and shares them in Tribes too. She also shares on Kitchen Thyme and does FB food blogger group Pinterest share threads for me! Tailwind is the only scheduling I use.
KT: What social media networks/websites give you the most traffic to your blog?
Jacqui: Facebook is by far the best source of traffic for me. However, I do pay to boost one post per week. I spend about 25$ a week and think it is so worth it! I believe that if you want to make money, you have to invest something!
KT: What AD networks do you have on your blog?
Jacqui: Gourmet Ads
KT: What are the main sources of income from your blog? Sponsored Posts? Advertisements? Affiliate Links?
Jacqui: I haven’t earned much from my blog yet. I only started to try to monetize it about 9 months ago by putting ads and have had some sponsored content. The ads are the best source of income atm.
KT: Do you have a long relationship with any particular Brands?
KT: Do you enjoy going to Blogging Conferences? If so, which ones do you recommend for Food Bloggers?
Jacqui: Unfortunately there are no English language Blogging conferences here in Italy. I’d love to be able to travel abroad to attend some in the future.
KT: Where do you find inspiration to create new recipes?
Jacqui: All my recipes are authentic Italian recipes, so not created by me. However, I may slightly change an ingredient or suggest alternative ingredients if I feel the original ingredients may be hard to find outside of Italy. I find recipes on Italian online sites and in Italian regional cookbooks.
KT: What are your top 3 favorite recipes on your blog?
Jacqui: I would say – Pasta al forno – baked pasta the Italian way, Gnocchi with Gorgonzola 5 ways and Neapolitan Tagliolini Pasta Pie.
KT: Do you have great lighting in your house for photos or do you need to use artificial lighting or filters?
Jacqui: I use natural light under my kitchen window. Luckily I live in the countryside and my house is south facing and there’s good light all day.
KT: What advice would you give to new food bloggers when it comes to taking photos of food?
Jacqui: I have found natural light from a window is better than taking photos outside. Best is late afternoon or early morning. I have no experience working with artificial light or light boxes so I can’t comment on those.
KT: Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Jacqui: I have so many Italian cookbooks and especially love regional cookbooks like Cucina Siciliana by Clarissa Hyman or pasta cookbooks like sauces and shapes, pasta the Italian way Oretta Zanini de Vita.
KT: If you could cook with a famous chef or celebrity cook, who would it be and why?
Jacqui: Antonino Cannavacciuolo
KT: You are constantly working with food. What are a few ingredients you cannot live without?
Jacqui: Obviously pasta!! But also fresh tomatoes, herbs from my garden and Italian cheeses!
KT: Do you have any advice for someone starting a food blog?
Jacqui: Food blogging isn’t something you do to make money. It’s something you do because you have a passion for it. If you can make money from it then that is a plus!
KT: Thank you so much for joining us at Kitchen Thyme! Where can our readers find you?
Website: The Pasta Project
Read more Food Blogger Spotlight Interviews here!