Sites We Love: Gastronomista
Gorgeous photos? Check. Engaging writing? Check. Seriously inspiring recipes, tips, and culinary curiosity? Check, check, and check. The best food blogs all seem to have a lot in common — but what separates them out are the strong personalities behind them. In our Sites We Love series, we sit down with some of our favorite bloggers to find out how they do it — and why it's as much fun for them as it is for us.
Today’s site we love is Gastronomista, where Emily Arden Wells—under the pen name Miss Emma Emerson—pays tribute to the myriad forms in which food serves as inspiration in the creative arts. With medidations on photography, literature, music, and design, Gastronomista turns food into a lens through which to consider the rest of the world. Here’s what Emily has to say about her site:
Live since: 2009
Posting rate: 1-2 times a week
Geographic location: New York, NY
Why is the site called Gastronomista? In 2005 there was an article by Christine Muhlke in The New York Times, coining the term Gastronomista. We instantly fell in love with the word. It’s chic, food centric, with a bit of glamour. My partner at the time, Jennifer Pelka, bought the url that day, and we sat on it until 2009 when we had the time to design it.
Gastronomista / (gas tran ome sta) / n. / a savvy woman who turns blogging about what she ate last night into a mini-industry.
Credit: Emily Arden Wells
What’s been your most popular post? All things Katy Perry. I’ve done a few posts on her, the first being a visual comparison between the paintings of Will Cotton (one of our favorite artists), and Katy Perry’s California Girls. There was a follow up post about her vibrant food outfits. I really wish there was more reason to wear a candy crown or a cupcake dress in my everyday life! Another popular one featured the gorgeous food scenes from Sophia Coppola’s movie, Marie Antoinette. At heart, every girl wants to be at those parties—drinking champagne until dawn, playing cards, and eating beautiful, architectural pastries.
What’s your favorite post? Now there’s a difficult question. I love all the posts! They’ve all been carefully considered and curated, so it’s really tough to pick one. So I’ll opt for a few. Ira Glass and the Quirky Personality of Chickens, stories from Gordon Matta-Clark’s restaurant commune Food from the early 1970s, the erotic poem I Wish I Was a Doughnut, and My Milkshake Bringeth–a medieval take on Kelis’ hit song. My absolute favorite is our first post, They’re Eating a Cupcake, I Think, featuring the dreamy (nude) photography of Lynn Bianchi who photographs real women eating real food. It has set the tone for the entire blog.
What’s something great that you’ve learned or that’s happened to you since starting your blog? I’ve met some fascinating people in the industry, and I’ve been amazed how many doors the site has opened for myself and everyone who has contributed. Two highlights that come to mind were being in the Blackberry Do What You Love commercial in the winter of 2011, and being in the September issue of Glamour Magazine for their How To Do Anything Better guide. They were a lot of fun!
We’ve also done a few food related installations—the first was a piece we did for Something I Ate, for which we made a giant #sweet out of handmade boozy lollipops for guests to eat during the gallery exhibition. That project was extremely exciting and inspiring, and I hope to have more opportunities like it in the future.
Credit: Emily Arden Wells
What’s the usual process for developing one of your posts? The creative process is always difficult to pin down, but I can tell you it always starts with inspiration! I’ll stumble on something while scouring the internet, walking around New York, or while travelling to new places. I get obsessively excited about it and will research as much as I can. Each post varies quite a bit from the next, but I try to maintain a balance of work from talented artists, writing, events, design, destinations, and my own experiments in the kitchen or behind the bar.
What are your favorite ingredients and tools? My Cocktail Shaker! My bar is slowly growing, thanks to my grandmother. She recently gave me a good portion of her party equipage—a silver punch bowl with a set of matching silver cups, a handsome silver and glass martini pitcher, her crystal cocktail shaker, and her Spanish silver champagne and wine goblets. I’m always so thrilled when I pull them out to entertain, I love to share them with my guests. Family heirlooms are really special.
As for favorite ingredients, I love pink peppercorn cracked over savory dishes or boiled into syrups for cocktails. I’m also obsessed with ghost pepper salt, we put it on everything—edamame, pasta, and it makes a fantastic rim to a Michelada. I love fresh fruit and vegetables, garlic, ginger, butter, dry aged steaks, and spices I sneak back from foreign countries (Persian saffron!). I have a special place in my heart for Concord grapes, and picking berries from the garden. I’m ashamed to admit that my favorite spice is spike–a critical ingredient in the first dish I learned to cook, Bridget’s Chicken, which calls for soy sauce, spike, garlic salt, and fines herbs. It’s very easy, and shockingly delicious.
What are your favorite food and cooking resources? The internet! There are so many resources for recipes with all of the incredible websites and blogs out there. Its so much fun to stumble upon a recipe and make it right away. I have quite a few gorgeous cookbooks (Modernist Cuisine, to name an epic one), but the internet always wins.
Credit: Zachary Stevens
What photography equipment do you use? I have a Nikon Coolpix P7000. It’s a hybrid camera, between a point-and-shoot and an SLR. It’s great because it’s pretty small, yet takes really nice photos. I really want to take a photo class so I can use it better.
Where else can we find your work? I have been doing a bit of writing for Gilt Taste, developing a cocktail column for them. You can also find some of my writing on The Huffington Post. By day I’m an architect, and I work for Adjaye Associates, New York.