Featured Blogger: Ericka Sanchez – NibblesAndFeasts.com
This month’s featured Latina Mom blogger is Food Blogger Ericka Sanchez. Ericka was born in Torreón, Coahuila Mexico and arrived in the United States in 1982 to El Paso, Texas. She stayed home and attended school in her hometown and graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in Media Advertising. Early on in her career, her first love was Sports Marketing. That love (and the love of her life, her husband Efrain), brought her to Los Angeles, where she landed a job with the Los Angeles Dodgers Spanish Broadcasting sales team for three years.
Her life took a turn and her love of food began in a food photography studio. She assisted in food design and photo shoots for a cheese company as well as helped develop and translate classic recipes with a modern twist. Her joy of exploring food flourished and she began to explore the different food options available in Los Angeles.
I had the opportunity to interview our amazing Latina Mom Blogger. Her food blog is educational, features beautiful food photography and will iginite a desire to start cooking gourmet food for your friends and family. You will truly enjoy reading her delicious food blog, Nibbles and Feasts. You can follow her on Twitter at @NibblesandFeasts or “Like” her Facebook page at Nibbles and Feasts FB page.
1. Describe your blog? How did you start blogging? What type of topics do you write about?
I started a personal blog in 2008 when my son was born. Since half of my family still resides in Mexico, I wanted them to see my son grow up. Through my blog, I would update them with Joaquin’s milestones and our fun family excursions throughout Los Angeles.
My food blog, Nibbles & Feasts, began in 2010. I was inspired by a couple of books: Jonathan Gold’s Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles and Life is Meals by James and Kay Salter. I wanted to combine Gold’s knowledge of Los Angeles restaurants with Salter’s way of telling a story and associating it with a meals and recipes dear to my heart.
Nibbles & Feasts is bilingual, bicultural and all Los Angeles. Living in this great city has given me the opportunity to experience other cultures through food and easily accessible ingredients that otherwise, I would find it extremely difficult to find.
2. What are some of the projects you work on when you’re not working or blogging?
My day job is marketing for a retail property in the South Bay where I get to be creative in a totally different ways. I develop retail social media campaigns, promotions and special events. When I’m not blogging or exploring Los Angeles, I am cooking and experimenting with flavors with my mini sous-chef by my side, my 3-year old son Joaquin.
3. How do you balance a full-time job, blogging & motherhood? What tips would you give to other working moms that want to blog? Who are the people in your life that inspire you to be the woman you are today?
As far as balance, I believe it’s all about organization. Since my blog requires me to cook and write, it can take me up to a week for one post. I am usually ahead of the game (most of the time). I cook and photograph about two recipes weekend mornings. One: because I catch the best morning natural light for my photographs, two:because everyone is still asleep and three: because it’s so therapeutic for me. Cooking relaxes me.
Since I have a full time job, I dedicate evenings and weekends after cooking to my family, going for lunch, exploring the city and cuddling. As far as writing, I try to squeeze it in on my down time but most of the time, you’ll find me up typing away late in the evenings.
Some blogging advice: If you are passionate about something, by all means, blog about it! Take it slow at the beginning though. I made the mistake of overwhelming myself with so much information that I thought I was going crazy! Focus on your blogging platform for a few months and learn the ins and outs of it, then read up on photography, then recipe writing and story telling, then social media…take it one step at a time. It’s always going to be a work in progress.
Also, network! Join Facebook groups, tweet influential people, attend conferences and seminars. You will always walk away with a great new contact, useful information and wonderful resources.
4. What is the first dish you ever cooked? First dish you ever blogged about? Most challenging food to create and why?
The first dish I ever cooked and blogged about is fideo. Fideo reminds me of my college days and my first apartment. I always felt close to home when I prepared my weekly batch. It is so easy and inexpensive to make. It is a very humble but delicious dish.
My most challenging dish that I’m terrified to make is manchamanteles. It is a tropical mole that literally means “tablecloth stainer” because of its rich red brick color. The ingredient list is endless and I still haven’t managed to perfect a simple version of this tantalizing dish. I’m still trying.
5. What provides the inspiration for your recipes? Do you have any favorite cooking shows, magazines that offer inspiration?
I was inspired by a trip I took to Oaxaca in 2005. That trip opened my eyes and expanded my love of telling a story through food and cooking. As far as favorite cooking shows, I really don’t have one. I love reading food and travel blogs from David Lebovitz , Matt Armendariz and Penny de Los Santos. They have such a wonderful and captivating story telling styles with food and photography.
6. Are there any special tips that you would like to give to bloggers considering starting a food blog? When cooking food to blog about, is it really all about the presentation or is the cooking utensils, food, ingredients, taste and/or type of food important too?
For me it’s all about a beautiful photograph but one that doesn’t look professional styled and staged but rather one that says, “hey, look what I made today and doesn’t it look delicious?” I love going to thrift stores and finding amazing dishes. You’d be surprised what $10 can get you at second hand and antique stores.
I also try to stick to natural ingredients. Blog what you know first. If you’re good at baking, start off with baking then venture into cooking. I started with recipes of food my mom would cook for me. Then, I started experimenting with new ingredients. It keeps your blog fresh and fun.
7. What would be your dream come true as a food blogger?
My wish list is pretty ambitious but here it goes…
First and foremost, I eventually want to blog full time and dedicate my all to my blog.
Two: I would love to start traveling with my blog. Experience different cultures in a family setting and learning their cooking styles and using authentic and natural ingredients.
Three: Working with brands, learning their marketing process and developing recipes for products I use on a day-to-day basis with my cooking.
Three:Educating the readers about sustainable agriculture, organic, and natural products and making the right choices when it comes to food. Child obesity and diabetes is on the rise because families don’t have enough available information.
8. What your favorite post on your blog? What is your most popular post?
My favorite post is the black mole recipe because I share a brief anecdote of my trip to Oaxaca accompanied by some amazing photos. Black mole is also my favorite Mexican dish because you can taste the history in the elaborate and exquisite mole sauce.
My most popular post is the Tlacoyitos stuffed with Cheese recipe. They are so simple to make, very authentic and can be eaten as appetizers, a snack or can be a meal at any time of the day.
9. Describes some of the projects you recently worked on and current campaigns.
I have met so many wonderful people and have collaborated in so many great projects through my blog.
Early on, I was able to help Yoplait with their cancer awareness campaign Save Lids to Save Lives with singer Sheryl Crow. I’ve also been involved with Go with the Grain|Grain Foods Foundation on the Bread Art Project, along with actress Teri Hatcher.
I had the opportunity to cook and with fellow bloggers and recipe developers in the Nestle Kitchens.
Currently, I am a contributing blogger for Nestlé’s Constuye El Mejor Nido bilingual site and SpanglishBaby.com a site that focuses on raising bilingual children.
10. Highlight any upcoming projects, conferences you would like to attend or projects you would like to work on. Where do you imagine yourself as a blogger in 1 year? in 3 years?
My goal for 2012 is to attend as many food writing and food photography classes. I will be attending the International Food Bloggers Conference in November and Camp Blogaway in May.
I am also extremely excited to be visiting a couple of family owned dairy California farms at the end of September.
In 1-3 years I would like to expand my cooking by attending culinary classes and hopefully (cross my fingers) have traveled to several cooking trips to other countries.