Each week we’re teaming up with a popular food-stagrammer who will take over our Instagram feed and fill it with their own delicious pics. This weekend on #TastyTakeovers, Southern California’s Jed Cartojano of @dailyfoodfeed is our guest. Learn his secret for taking delicious photos in the Q&A below and head over to Yahoo Food on Instagram to watch her foodie adventures unfold all weekend long.
Jed Cartojano at Afters Ice Cream. (Photo: Jed Cartojano)
I was born in the Philippines and moved to the states when I was 6, growing up in Massachusetts before my family settled in Southern California where I’ve lived since. I currently run a marketing and public relations firm specializing in working with local restaurants, which works hand in hand with curating @dailyfoodfeed and allows me to meet a lot of great people in my community and eat a lot of amazing food. At the end of the day, my life outside of food is more food and taking pictures of it until it gets cold. Which also makes me Southern California’s most eligible bachelor. I love discovering new, interesting eats with my squad of misfit foodies and the occasional long walk on the beach. Interested? Slide into my DM.
As a forever foodie, I’ve always been interested in food, but I became even more interested in it when I started my original marketing firm for restaurants about four years ago. Through my work, I became more and more interested in not only food, but also finding ways to organically market it for my business. Enter Instagram and food photography. My interest in food photography has only really developed the past year when I started @dailyfoodfeed in March of last year and used it as a personal food journal where I could also test the response of different photo styles I was working. That’s developed into the signature style I use on @dailyfoodfeed today. My inspiration doesn’t necessarily come from photography. I’ve become more inspired by social engagement and conversation of food photos. To this day, I don’t consider myself a very good photographer, but I do have an eye for what food items and photos get people talking.
Pepperoni pizza stuffed croissant at U Jelly. (Photo: Jed Cartojano)
I’ve always taken photos on my phone. In fact, I just upgraded to an iPhone 6s a couple months ago after having used an iPhone 5 for most of my time at @dailyfoodfeed. I’m pretty simple with the photo editing tools and mostly use what’s already available on Instagram and the built-in photo editor on my phone. For me, the key to having great food photos is using natural lighting and framing the food item in focus.
Cap’ N’ Crunch waffle at Anaheim Packing House. (Photo: Jed Cartojano)
This is possibly the hardest question to answer. There are so many great food Instagrammers in the community, many of them I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. That it makes it really difficult to narrow down to just three favorites. As of right now, here are my three favorites:
@scottafters: Before I even met Scott and became good friends with him, I was following his Instagram and admiring his food photos. This guy eats everywhere and has given him the knack in developing multiple successful eateries, himself. He’s one of the masterminds behind my favorite ice cream shop, Afters Ice Cream, and their game-changing ice cream stuffed donut, dubbed the Milky Bun. Aside from being a serial entrepreneur, he dishes out some of the best looking, most interesting and colorful eats from our local community on his Instagram.
@foodwithmichel: Grammer of the Week alumni and one of my first food Instagrammer friends, Michel has one of the most distinct food photography styles and aesthetics on Instagram. I admire his IG feed for his unique, clean style that I could never pull off myself. I’m lucky enough to eat around town with this guy and learn some of his tricks. Most importantly, I love how we can take pics of the same foods and have them look completely different from our two styles.
@devourpower: The artists formally known as @mealsandreels, Greg and Rebecca, the NYC couple who run the account, have some of the best food porn pics on Instagram that are very similar to my style of food photography. Living on the other side of the country, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know them through Instagram and have more recently taken our social media relationship to the next level after finally meeting during a trip to NYC a couple months back. It was refreshing to see how similar we are in taking photos of food to get that perfect decadent look that makes our followers drool. Let’s just say we liked each other so much that they visited me here in Southern California the weekend after we met. These two work hard and eat hard and shows in their vibrant Instagram feed.
Smothered fries at GD Bro Burger. (Photo: Jed Cartojano)
If anyone knows me and follow me, they know how much I love ice cream. Specifically, I love Afters Ice Cream. Long before I became good friends with founders Andy Nguyen and Scott Nghiem, you’d see me here regularly getting a triple scoop of their cookie monster, cookie butter and milk and cereal ice creams, or treating myself to their revolutionary ice cream-stuffed donut sandwich called the Milky Bun.
When I’m not having dessert first, I absolutely LOVE Slapfish. It’s almost impossible to find a quality seafood restaurant here in Orange County that doesn’t have a lot of pertentious undertones, and Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish founder, does this flawlessly with delicious food from fresh lobster rolls, to fish tacos, to clam chowder fries that’s a food pornographer’s dream to shoot pics of.
Lastly, I have to shout out my go-to, In-N-Out. I’ve searched far and wide for a burger and fries that can satisfy me as much as this West Coast legend, and I have yet to find it, nor believe it even exists. My order there: Double-Double with grilled onions, regular onions and chopped peppers with Animal Style Fries and a Neopolitan shake.
A Cookie Monster Milky Bun at Afters Ice Cream. (Photo: Jed Cartojano)
I enjoy Instagram more than other online communities because I feel like it truly brings people together. Having a food Instagram account, I’m able to see how followers share my photos with one another and make plans with each other to visit the restaurants I feature or have conversations about the food. It also has been a great tool for me to grow my network of other food Instagrammers in the community and beyond, many of them having become some of my best friends outside of Instagram. It’s reassuring to know that there are other people out there who are just as crazy about food as I am.
I love some good Korean BBQ and lately have had Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, a growing Korean BBQ chain, that specializes in great meat quality. There’s something about their combination of Korean side dishes (cheese corn, please) and variety of meats you grill up that has made it one of the best things I’ve eaten recently.
BBQ pulled pork mac ‘n cheese grilled cheese sandwich at Melt It! Grilled Cheese Co. (Photo: Jed Cartojano)
Stephen Curry, Steve Jobs, and Beyoncé. Why? I love the Golden State Warriors. I love being inspired. And … it’s the Queen B. Honestly, Beyoncé is a bit of an afterthought, but I’d love the entertainment during dinner. I would probably cook them a mean Filipino meal to give them a taste of my roots. Either that or some classic fried chicken.
Churro ice cream sandwich at Downtown Disney. (Photo: Jed Cartojano)
I’m not much of a cook, but I can make a mean baked mac and cheese during the holidays. Loaded with all sorts of cheeses (Gogonzola being my fave in the mix) and topped with all lots of buttery bread crumbs and, of course, bacon.
Pizza. I love it and I want there to be a day where I can legally marry it.