An Interview with Food Stylist and Blogger Rimli Dey (@rimleed)
Hello, Weekenders! 2019 is about to end and we are sure that all of you have made grand plans to celebrate and bid adieu to this year in style. But to complete our celebrations we are definitely looking forward to delicious varieties of food and condiments which are inherent to this special season. Thus to grace this tradition and celebrate the festive spirit in the truest sense of the term, we bring for you a savory and delicious chat with food blogger and food stylist Rimli Dey.
Rimli is an excellent cook, a software engineer, a YouTuber, a travel enthusiast, and a food photographer. She cooks up a storm with all her heart and she has also recommended a variety of dishes which are a must-have in the party season. So what are you waiting for?? Dig in
Follow her in the following places –
Instagram – http://instagram.com/rimleed
Website – www.scratchingcanvas.com
YouTube – youtube.com/rimlidey
P.S. All the pictures and videos are owned by ©Rimli Dey and reproduction in any form, without prior permission, is prohibited
Q. Please introduce yourself. (Where are you based from, family background etc)
I’m a girl from the city of joy, Calcutta, born & brought up in the typical old lanes of north Calcutta; currently, I’m settled in the western coast of India, Pune, Maharashtra.
Q. Would made you start your food blog/page? Please share what is your Instagram profile all about and how did your journey start?
A. Many people start their journey in cooking from their home itself. That’s not my case! Though I’ve been always a foodie I was never interested in cooking. My kitchen-affairs began once I shifted my base to Maharashtra and started living on my own. One can only imagine a life of eastern coast girl in western region of India where everything is different; from food to culture, from weather to language.
During my initial days I had to survive only on Maggi & bread as I had no knowledge in cooking. And that could never be any long-term solution so I started going through recipes on google & initiated baby steps in kitchen. Gradually exploring new food and experiments with them somehow had grown into me. At the same period I was fascinated how one can make even a simple food appealing through a photograph. So I started taking photographs of the food I was preparing. Basically that was my introduction to food photography & styling. I wanted to store these images along with the recipe & notes digitally which seemed very convenient to me to track down anytime from any location. So I started a blog called Scratching Canvas. Later I turned my blog into a website and I still keep my food-notes there in draft section.
My Instagram profile @rimleed, was born in 2013 without any agenda. Initially I shared few photos I had taken here & there. I think after six or seven months I reconsidered Instagram’s potential and I began sharing the photos I wanted to share with my audience. Most of them are food photos which I style & photograph professionally but in recent past I had started including my travel photos, photos I take during my daily commute and food photos which I take on my eat outs. Now it has become a visual journal of my life.
Q. Is being a food-blogger your full-time profession or are do you work elsewhere?
A. Food blogging including food styling & photographing is my passion, an extended version of hobby you can say. Now I earn a small amount from it but I still have to rely on my 1st profession for bread & butter. I’m working as a software professional for more than 12 years.
Q. What would you consider your biggest achievement so far?
A. I believe in small recognitions as achievements. When I first achieved 1 million views on a video of my YouTube channel I celebrated; when many of my food photographs got published on a coffee table book I celebrated. I feel super excited whenever my photographs are sold for someone’s personal galleries. But I will say my biggest achievement is when my food photos were selected & featured in a launch video of ITC Hotels to show the food culture of Bengal. And now I can say my purpose to uphold one’s cultural through food is served truthfully.
Q. What is your signature dish that represents who you are as a cook?
A. My signature is not just a dish I would say rather it’s a cooking style and that would be cooking traditional food in different way, more conveniently to suit today’s lifestyle. I’m successfully cooking cakes (mind it not baking) on gas/stove top without any oven for past 10 years. I have several cake recipes like Chocolate Cake cooked in Saucepan, Fruit & Nut Cake in stainless steel bowl, Buttermilk cake in wok on my YouTube channel. All these recipes are cooked on gas stove only. Similarly Bengali Mishti Doi in 10 mins, Indian Kulfi in 5 mins without any cooking, Cappuccino in 2 mins without any machine and making Tandoori Chicken on gas/stove & Cooking Naan on gas stove are my signature style of cooking.
Q. When you post a new recipe on the page, is that usually part of your home menu or do you sometimes have to prepare extra meals?
A. All my recipes are tried & tested several times to achieve perfection. Naturally which makes it impossible to cook & consume on regular basis at home. So at the developing stage of a recipe I take out time and try the recipe separately in small portions until I’m satisfied with the result. Few recipes give the desired results within 3-4 trials, on the other hand, some simply won’t work even after 10 trials, I work on them with time. I personally cannot consume a few items due to some health reason so I only taste them but all my foods are finished happily by my family & friends.
Q. How do you manage your family life along with other commitments and running a page?
A. I cherish the opportunity life has given me so I nourish it with care. I strictly maintain a distance between my work life & private life. Yes sometimes things overlap but in those cases I make my schedule beforehand to avoid any disturbance.
Q. What are the top five ingredients that you would say is essential in all kitchens?
A. All kitchens are different so their needs as well. But surprisingly I have noticed every active kitchen is well stocked with fat (butter, oil), seasoning & spices (salt, pepper, chilli), carbohydrate (bread, pasta/noodles, rice), dairy products (cheese, milk, cream) and protein (meat, fish, lentils).
Q. What is your favorite kitchen gadget or tool that you can’t live without?
A. My small stainless-steel balloon whisk is my true saviour. I need it to prepare my morning coffee to breakfast egg to late night hot chocolate.
Q. What are your favorite regional cuisines or specific foods? Name a dish you always wanted to make but haven’t had a chance to make it yet.
A. There are many preparations which I have not tried yet but I’ve been keen to try Kashmiri Kawa, Maharashtrian Bhakri and Goan bebinca.
Q. Which other world cuisines have you tried and what do you like about them? In your experience what is the basic difference in the eating lifestyle of Indians as compared to rest of the world?
A. I’ve travelled to multiple continents due to my job & personal travels and I always eat local during my travels. My favourites are Mandarin, South Korean, German and traditional English cuisine.
Eating preferences depend on many factors life weather, available local produce, lifestyle etc. We can find at least 20 different food habits within India itself. But one thing is common in all world cuisine that is all food platters include protein, fat and carb in different portions to create ideal balance to local lifestyle. In colder countries people consume more protein & fat and in warmer/tropical countries like India people have tendency to consume more carbohydrate for easier digestion and quick energy.
Q. What other activities are you a part of apart from being a food blogger? What are your hobbies?
A. I spend a lot of time & money on my books & music to keep myself calm, composed. And movies keep me entertained. As per hobby I like to roam around older parts of any city alone with my camera.
Q. Please share your experience with different brands you have worked with?
A. I have worked primarily with hotels & restaurants and only limited F&B brands. The restaurants these days are adapting modern approach pretty fast for their advertisements. They are getting more comfortable to use social media as their main marketing platform. I’m pretty enjoying their new ideas towards food photography as it makes me feel comfortable to work with them.
Q. Some ideal dishes for Christmas and New Year?
A. I will give our readers few lip smacking cakes & finger food for coming Christmas & New Year parties.
For Cakes Try: Traditional English Rich Christmas Cake (with Alcohol),
Bara Brith Cake, traditional Welsh Christmas Cake (No Alcohol Fruit Cake, nut free),
Nov-veg: ‘0’ Oil Jalapeno Poppers,
Veg: Tater Tots,
Q. There are a lot of shoddy people on social media who either try to discredit others or stalk them. How do you deal with such people or negativity in general? Does it bog you down or affect your mental peace?
A. As per newton’s law ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’. So whatever we do in life we will be judged; there will be always praise & criticism at the same time. I face many criticisms every day be it on Instagram or YouTube. But I believe there’s no absolute right or wrong, the value depends on personal preferences. So I try to listen to each word and filter out the abuse. If it’s constructive criticism like someone is pointing out a better option I make that point to learn. But if I find any kind of abuse which is actually increasing quite rapidly, I take proper action against them. I report them and apply for removal of those accounts on social media and I make sure they are removed in the end. I’ve learnt that If you raise your voice against these bullies they back off eventually.
Q. Local Bazaars or Supermarkets – What is your preference when it comes to choosing fresh ingredients for the kitchen?
A. I prefer Farmer’s Market any day for fresh produce and departmental store for exotic herbs if my local markets are not stocked with them.
Q. Can becoming an Influencer be taken up as a profession for future generations? How to not get lost amongst the masses? Any tips?
A. As I am not an influencer I don’t think I’m the right person to answer this. But I can point out one thing to avoid feeling lost and that would be finding one’s strongest characteristic/style first and stick to it. It’s always better to standout in unique way rather than copying heedlessly someone else.
Q. What are your future plans for your page and profile? Are you happy with the way it has shaped up?
A. I feel content in the way my blog & YouTube channel have shaped up. I had never imagined this result when I began my food journey. I’m missing in action these days due to work pressure which is I think normal for anyone. I will be sharing again on regular basis once things will be settled.
Q. Lastly, any word for our blog? Thank you for your time!
A. You are doing an excellent job yourself. You are featuring artists from various genres and introducing them to the audience to create a common ground. I’m thankful to you for having me here. Wishing you all the successful in future.
Thank you, Rimli for taking out time to talk to us, and having such a wonderful and heart-to-heart conversation. We look forward to your continuously bringing more deliciousness to our feed! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2020
With this, we close our blogs for 2019