Name: Charlene Theodore
Blog Name: Chew Street
Where were you born? Toronto
Where are you living now? Toronto
Why did you start your blog?
I’m passionate about philanthropy and food. More specifically, I am in awe of businesses like, TOM’S, Mealshare and B Corporations that incorporate giving into their profit model. I wanted to see if I could bring that same model in the the food blogging space.
How did you decide on your blog name?
I wanted something that spoke to a sense of community. I like to think of Chew Street as an online version of an actual community where different people choose to “live” because they are passionate about food, cocktails, chefs and restaurants.
What do you blog about?
I share Feel Good Food stories. That can be an amazing recipe made with fresh ingredients, or the stories of restaurants and people in the food industry that use their platform to help their communities and effect positive social change. I like to think of Chew Street as providing a stamp of approval for food business that respect the environment, diversity and other practices that make you feel good about the food you eat.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
I’m a lawyer and I love my job - my blog is my passion project and great creative outlet
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
We just did our Feel Good Food Destination Guide, We went out to Grey County and curated a list of the most delicious restaurants that also happen to have sustainable environmental practices, are lead by locals, have women in positions of leadership and even found a cookbook publisher that gives part of its proceeds to children’s food programs. It encapsulates everything I’m passionate about.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
Chew Street has an annual Christmas and Holiday Foodie Gift Guide. We source amazing products for the home chef on your gift list. In 2016 we partnered with Swell Made Co and sold our own gift, a foodie and wine lover gift basket. For each one sold we donated a Christmas Eve dinner to clients of the Yonge Street Mission in Toronto. We had decent sales, and I am so proud of what we did, but I definitely want to sell and give more this Christmas.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
Our cocktail makeovers! I learned about making healthier cocktails from a Andrea Sarjeant, a friend of mine who’s also a holistic nutritionist. It’s something creative that I love but I didn’t think the concept of “healthy cocktails” would resonate. I don’t claim to be an expert on anything health or diet related, and I didn’t think people would get the concept of indulging but in the healthiest way possible. People love it and it is such a fun and creative series.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Oh that’s easy: managing my time with my full time job as a lawyer. I’ve connected with some great bloggers who have jobs and kids and blog and I still haven’t figured out how they do it all. It’s hard not to compare your growth to others but I have learned that I am more creative and happier going at my own pace.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
Learning not to bring the same critical eye I need in my legal work to my blog work. If I overanalyze blog posts, afraid to put them out until they are absolutely perfect, nothing gets done. I need to learn to let go, relax and let my creativity take over.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
I’ve been reading Bacon is Magic since before I started blogging. Ayngelina’s work transports you to food cultures across the globe. I’m proud to now call her a friend. I also love Black Foodie and Lady and Pups.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
My South African Potbrood (an easy no bake bread) has become a family favourite - and I love the quote I found from Nelson Mandela for that post. It sparked an interest on how the food and wine industry in South Africa is intertwined with it’s political history of apartheid. I’m planning on heading out there to see and taste the food in person in the future.
What are you working on next for your blog?
When I first started Chew Street, I did 3 events and I loved it. I want to re-start an event series - dinners and other activities to bring the online love offline and in person,
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I also do a lot of volunteer work in my capacity as a lawyer related to human rights, equity and women’s issues.
What makes your blog unique?
I don't know of anyone else that is talking about food, philanthropy and social good in the food blogging space. If you;re out there, say hi! I’d love to meet you!
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
I really like these profiles! It’s great to get know other bloggers across the country. The conference is great as well - I’ve met so many amazing entrepreneurial women thanks to FBC
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