I’m excited to feature my interview with Maya Meinert of her shopeatsleep blog as she features trendy hotspots, including restaurants, hotels, and retailers around Los Angeles and beyond. What I enjoy about her blog is her beautiful pictures and being able to vicariously experience a variety of restaurants.
The funny thing is I haven’t actually met Maya in person as we initially were connected through work as she graciously agreed to be a panelist for a workshop I’m hosting and I stumbled upon her blog (serendipity, right?).
What inspired you to create your blog and how long have you been blogging? How would you describe your blog?
I started the blog about three and a half years ago after losing my last newspaper job. It was a tough time for everyone – this was 2009 – so I knew I needed to keep myself in the game somehow. Since I had been covering the L.A. retail, dining and hospitality industries at my last job, I had quite a few contacts I could pull from and decided to keep myself busy by continuing to write about these businesses on my own. At my last job, I was a business reporter, but I decided to change the focus of my blog to the consumer, which has turned out to be really fun and broadened my audience.
What is your background and how has that impacted your style of blogging?
I have a master’s degree in print journalism from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Most of my journalism career has been in trade publications, but I have experience in everything from hyper-local, community reporting to the business of law firms. I’ve transitioned into communications, and I now work as an editor and writer for the USC School of Social Work, where I write internal news articles and manage the school’s social media efforts.
My approach to blogging has changed over time, but I always strive to be as transparent and honest with my readers as possible, something I bring with me from my journalism days. If I accept a free meal and write about it (and I often do, as I wouldn’t be able to afford to try as many restaurants as I do without doing so), I’ll clearly state that in the post.
From reading your blog, I get the sense you’re a serious foodie. When did you fall in love with food? Do you have any childhood memories you associate with certain foods?
I wouldn’t call myself a serious foodie, per se; I just like to eat!
Growing up with a Chinese parent, food has always been a big part of my life, as it seems to be for a lot of people with Asian backgrounds. Most of my childhood food memories revolve around Chinese foods, and I find a lot of my comfort foods are dishes like congee rice porridge, soy sauce eggs, pearl meatballs (steamed pork meatballs rolled in rice) and Taiwanese pork chops.
What has been your favorite restaurant meal this past year and why?
Though this probably isn’t fair, my favorite meal last year was lunch at the three Michelin-star Jean-Georges in New York. That place deserves its Michelin stars. I’m still drooling over the confit suckling pig!
Your blog photos, especially of food, are so vivid. What kind of camera do you use and do you have any tips on taking high quality food photos?
I use a Canon G12, but you don’t necessarily need an expensive camera, though it helps, to take nice photos. Just learn how to use your camera properly. I’m still learning how to use mine! Basically, make sure you have enough light, and be sure to white balance. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the macro button.
What are 3 random, interesting, fun facts about you?
I’m a huge Steelers football fan, I have two pugs named Sushi and Zelmo, and I’m biracial.