Name: Lauren Toyota
Blog name: hot for food
Where were you born? Mississauga, ON
Where are you living now? Toronto, ON
Why did you start your blog?
When I first started hot for food it was a way for me to share my transition to a vegan diet and the new recipes I was coming up with. Eventually I rebranded and re-launched with the intention of it becoming a full time job/business for myself.
How did you decide on your blog name?
I don’t even know! It just came to me one day… I was trying to think about how much I loved food and then it just popped into my head.
What do you blog about?
Good vegan comfort food and recipes that actually work! Our blog isn’t a lot of talk, it’s just straightforward and to the point, so readers/viewers can get what they came for!
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
I would say this recipe for Cauliflower Buffalo Wings is what we’re most known for now. If you say hot for food to someone they would probably refer you to this recipe.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
This recipe/post for Scallops with Spaghetti, Crispy Kale and Pomegranates is an example of the way I like to cook and showcase what I know how to do in the kitchen, but honestly stuff that’s fancy like this doesn’t perform as well! People like the simplest things the most.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
We did a video with 3 back to school sandwich fillings and we couldn’t believe the response it got and continues to get! We were like “it’s just sandwiches, guys!” But that’s what I mean, it’s the simplest things that fans like the most. I am always surprised. Something that took me no time to think of or develop is what performs best, and when I slave over an idea no one cares!
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
The act of actual blogging. It’s been a bit of a frustrating process getting the blog to where it is because I don’t understand things like google rankings, ad sense etc. I’ve sort of learned the basics, but it’s not something I enjoy! We’ve recently shifted focus away from the blog and more to our YouTube channel. So any new recipes will be showcased there first, but then I post the recipe and photo on the blog as a way to get YouTube traffic over to the domain for the full recipes.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
I don’t really look at many food blogs regularly because I don’t want it to affect or influence what I’m doing with hot for food. But based on photos alone I really like Love and Lemons and Minimalist Baker.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
We really love Tori’s Bake Shop in the Beaches of Toronto! She knows good vegan food, and bonus… most of it is gluten-free too. Her late night menu that’s served Thursday to Saturday is the best in the city. And Tori makes the best vegan cheeses. You must try the cheese plate!
What are you working on next for your blog?
We are focusing on creating our weekly content for YouTube. We’ve had a few really great sponsors for the channel content recently so we just want to keep up that momentum and continue doing that. Video is really where I think we shine, so we want to put all of our energy into it.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
You can also see more behind the scenes of hot for food and more vegan food/lifestyle content on my personal YouTube channel… I actually post 3 times a week (or try to!)
What makes your blog unique?
I actually haven’t seen many blogs that don’t write a novel before actually giving the audience the recipe! I don’t want to scroll and scroll to find what I’m looking for, so I don’t make my audience do that. I just get to it! I think that makes hot for food unique, as well as the photography and the types of recipes you’ll find when it comes to vegan eating.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
The blogger resources. You’ve helped me immensely!
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