Food, who doesn’t love it? Whether it’s cooked in our own kitchens, or by professional chefs in a restaurant there is no doubt that we love to experience new flavours and a variety of cuisines.
Hannah Kilby, 29, from Weaste, is a food blogger who posts pictures of the many cuisines she has enjoyed in restaurants across Salford.
‘What’s for tea?’ is the name Hannah Kilby is known by to her 3.1k Instagram followers. Her account revolved around trying out the recipes she shares and visiting the restaurants she recommends.
Kilby started food blogging when she first learned to cook.
She said “I was a really bad cook for years and years, like awful, but when me and my fiancé got our first house and moved in with each other, he used to do all the cooking and I used to do all the cleaning.
“But I got sick of doing the cleaning and thought, alright I’ll learn how to cook. We were the first couple out of all our friends to get our own house, so we would invite our friends for food.
“And my friends were saying you’re actually alright at this why don’t you start an Instagram account documenting your recipes.”
Kilby also admits going out to dinner about two/three times a week with her fiancé, to which her friends encouraged her to post those on her food blog as well.
“Me and my fiancé would go out for dinner about 2-3 times a week, so everyone saying why don’t you start putting pictures of your meals on your Instagram as well.
“But then I thought it would make my food look a bit crap, but I just put them on anyway.
“So, I started off with my own recipes and food that I created and then because I eat out so much, I thought I might as well just combine the two.”
Food blogging often takes a lot of time, dedication and planning; however, Kilby is more passionate about the experience than the aesthetic of her Instagram grid.
She said; “I don’t go to a restaurant just because I want a picture of the food. It’s the other way round for me, if I want to eat there, I’ll decide to go there, if the food looks alright and it tastes alright, then I’ll take a picture of it and put it on my Instagram.
“There have been times where I have gone to a restaurant, I have booked it, looked at the reviews, looked at the Instagram and it looks okay, got there and the food’s been shocking, and I have not even bothered posting pictures.
“I won’t bother posting a picture on my Instagram if the food is not actually good in the first place.”
Kilby acknowledges the influence she has on her followers and does not want to promote a restaurant that fails to deliver excellent customer service and food quality:
“I am not at the point where I am getting professionally paid for it, I don’t spend too much time taking the pictures. I want it to be fun, I don’t want it to become a chore, where I’m like we have to go to Nando’s this week because I need a picture of Nando’s food on my grid.
“Especially now in winter if you’re going out for an evening meal, the lighting will just be crap, so you can’t even get a good picture, so I’ll just put it on my story, rather than the main feed because if it looks crap there is no point in posting it.”
Some of the well-known perks of being a food blogger is collaborating with restaurants and getting to enjoy some of the finest dishes known to man. However, Hannah Kilby prefers not to let the restaurant know who she is before dining there.
There have been some occasions where she has had to message restaurants that require online and social media bookings before entry, which has often given away her social media following.
She said; “I’d rather it be organic and get a true experience from a restaurant than them thinking ‘Oh I’ve got to make her plate look prettier so she can share it with all her followers.’
“I want to get a true representation of what they are offering is, because if I have a really good experience at a restaurant and get great service because they know that I’ve got an Instagram account; and I put that on my Instagram and recommend it to all my friends. If they all go and say it’s crap, then that’s not good.”
Hannah Kilby has got Salford pride, and Salford links so there is no doubt that she enjoys reviewing restaurants in Salford.
“I’m from Salford, I went to the University of Salford, I work for Salford Red Devils Rugby League Club, Salford very much runs through my blood.
“I am very proud to be a Salfordian as well, and not to call anyone out, but I follow a lot of other food bloggers who are in the Greater Manchester area.
“People that I know who are from Salford, and live in Salford will put on their Instagram Manchester, and I’m thinking ‘you’re not from Manchester you’re from Salford’. That’s why on my Instagram I put that I am from Salford and I tag all my posts the City of Salford. Because I am a proud Salfordian.”
Many restaurants see a rise in visitors when they are promoted by food bloggers. The mouth-watering dishes and eye-catching colours make social media followers flock to a restaurant that they see on their feeds.
Chinese restaurant Tung Fong in Worsley is frequently visited by Kilby’s family and friends. She said; “I remember the first time I went there as an adult and had their banquet. They had six courses, and the most memorable thing was that I couldn’t even drink a beer after it because I was so full. And now we go every year when it’s my fiancés mum’s birthday, I love that place.”
These are five of Hannah Kilby’s top picks for restaurants in the City of Salford, in case you want to try them out for yourself!
Social media has its positives and negatives in every field, even in the world of food blogging. Hannah Kilby loves the instant feedback she gets from posting on Instagram, and having an Instagram account means that she can look at tagged posts from people who have previously been to the restaurant to see what peaks her interest.
She also said the food blogging community on Instagram is positive, and she is able to share recipes with other food bloggers.
“I love the community, especially during lockdown when all the stores had shut, we started challenges like Thai Week, and look at everyone’s post and chat once a week.”
However there are also negatives on every social media platform Hannah Kilby said Instagram can be addicting; “It can be quite addicting, and the algorithm been crazy recently.
I can post something and think ‘yes this is going to get about 200 likes and lots of engagement’ and it flops I will literally spend all night refreshing and thinking why this is not doing well so that can be annoying.
But now, I have learnt to not be so bothered about the engagement and just do it because I like posting pictures of my food and sharing recipes.”
Kilby believes her knowledge about photography has evolved since she started food blogging, she said; “I never knew about photography before I started taking pictures of food, It’s so difficult especially during winter because the lighting is just awful.
“I bought a soft-box light, which is a massive light with a tripod that I have next to my dining table, so I can take pictures of my food. It looks like natural light.”
She also said that her collection of recipes is improving through the use of cookbooks;
“I have over 30 cookbooks which I didn’t before I started Instagram because I used to always look online at Delicious, and BBC Good Food, and just get recipes from there.
“But now because I want to post interesting food, and I want to find out about different cultures; I will actually buy cookbooks and spend all day Sunday looking through my cookbooks and planning what meals to make that week, and try to make my Instagram look better.”
Hannah Kilby’s food blog is helping to introduce more people to Salford restaurants and becoming a factor to keep the Salford pride alive.
Salford restaurants are often only known to Salford people, however, blogs like ‘What’s for tea?’ is taking these restaurants and making them more mainstream.
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To create some of Hannah Kilby’s delicious homemade recipes visit Hannah’s instagram account @hannahs.food.diary_
You can also visit Hannah Kilby’s WordPress filled with recipes for different cuisines around the world