Each month we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This month we meet Rita, a blogger that shares Italian inspired family recipes.
Name: Rita Jakobschuk
Blog name and URL: The Kitchen Fairy
Where were you born? Toronto, Ontario
Where are you living now? Oakville, Ontario
Why did you start your blog?
Since my happy place has always been in my kitchen creating recipes and cooking for family and friends, my daughters planted a seed in my head that I should start blogging. My oldest daughter got me started by helping me set up a website. It was launched in March of 2017. Knowing little to nothing about blogging, I experimented with food styling, shooting photos with my iPhone, writing stories about my food and started publishing posts. My love of food was apparent and that passion helped me progress. I soon got better at it and the blog started to grow. I came to love food blogging and now can’t imagine this blog not being part of my life.
How did you decide on your blog name?
When my daughters left for university, they realized the home-cooked meals they had at home were a luxury. They came home for holidays and saw our kitchen as a magical place where healthy homemade food was replenished overnight by a fairy. They began calling me “The Kitchen Fairy” and the name just stuck. So naturally when I started my blog I knew just what the name had to be!
What do you blog about?
My blog is about everyday family food. I provide recipes with step-by-step directions, tips and lots of photos for savoury and sweet food. My cooking style is defined by fresh food made from scratch with a lot of inspiration drawn from my Italian background.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
It started off as a hobby and opportunities to monetize my work presented themselves early in my blogging journey. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many brands which is something I really enjoy. My goal is to grow the blog to a larger business and bring both my daughters on board in the future.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
My German Apple Cake is one my husband’s German mother always made and I knew I wanted a spot for it on my blog. It gets a good amount of attention (although not a top-ranking recipe) and many of my readers appreciate the recipe and have made it. It’s just a traditional rustic looking cake but so delicious and evokes memories.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
My Almond Crusted Chicken recipe is a simple recipe using boneless chicken breasts. It is quick and easy to make on a weeknight and is delicious! Recipes with boneless chicken breasts are typically popular in family meal plans, but somehow this post never got the attention it deserved.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
It definitely has to be my Mexican Buddha Bowl. In my first year of blogging my daughters suggested I create a Buddha bowl. I had never made a Buddha bowl. I did some research and experimented with some ideas, then created this one. It quickly and unexpectedly became one of the most popular recipes on the blog and consistently ranks high to this day.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
I’m a self-taught blogger climbing a steep learning curve and realize there’s still a lot to climb since there’s always so much more to learn! It definitely has been a fun, busy and challenging journey but I’m enjoying every minute of it.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
Building a blog takes time and consistency and with hard work my growth has remained steady. It’s important that I stay focused on my own style and continue providing trustworthy material to my audience. I always remind myself to listen to my own voice and not become influenced by what or how other bloggers are doing but rather be inspired by them.
What has been your biggest success as a blogger so far?
- A recipe and photo I developed for a client was chosen as the cover feature in Toronto Horizon Magazine.
- Monetizing the blog by working with various brands I believe in.
- Attending the FBC2017 Food Bloggers Conference which I won in a photo contest sponsored by Ontario Apple Growers.
- Just simply being proud of myself for how much I’ve learned, achieved and grown since the inception of my blog!
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them? (include URLs).
I’m always fond of Canadian food bloggers and there are so many talented ones out there! Here are a couple of my favourites:
Joanne of Olive and Mango is super inspiring with delicious and approachable food that’s nostalgic of the home cooked meals from her Greek background. Her blog is filled with beautiful, fresh, mouth-watering recipes that are irresistible. With Joanne’s natural cooking talent, stunning food styling and amazing photography skills (by her husband Johann), she is truly a specialist in the food world.
James at Zimmy's Nook is a year-round home chef who grills almost everything even during Canadian winters! He blogs with his wife Elaine, and their focus is on quality fresh local food with bright beautiful presentation and stellar photography. James prepares food swiftly and easily, most often in front of his grill with the video camera running. The food he prepares inspires me and always looks so unbelievably delicious.
What are you working on next for your blog?
I’m learning SEO to help generate more traffic to my website, working on updating old content and images to better optimize those posts, and trying to practice making videos. And of course there’s always the never ending task of creating and posting new seasonal recipes.
Also, there’s something I’m not working on now but am setting a goal for. It’s posting my celebration cakes. I love creating cakes for my family and friends for any occasion. My cakes are earthy, rustic, not too fancy but always stunning made with delicious and fresh ingredients. The recipes and steps are long and complex, so I have yet to figure out a way to share these recipes.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
Before I started this blog I worked as a personal chef for families in my community. It was a way for me to practice and expand my culinary passion by testing my recipes on others. I worked in different homes creating homemade meals, healthy baked goods suitable for packed lunches and on occasion food for their entertaining needs and celebration cakes. It was rewarding work but after a few years I made the decision to transition out of it and focus on blogging instead.
What makes your blog unique?
I think everyone would like to think their blog is unique! I do find this a difficult question to answer about my own blog. The one thing that comes to my mind is that perhaps my photos stand out since I often receive positive feedback on the style and quality of my photos. I meticulously style photos to evoke a mood and a theme while ensuring the simplicity of the food is captured. The food I cook and photograph is the food my family eats. I don’t heavily edit it because I want my audience to trust me, see it’s real and show them how easy it is to create the same delicious food.
How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog?
I’ve met many successful Canadian food bloggers over the last few years who motivated, taught and guided me. This helped enormously with developing my blog. These relationships have evolved into genuine lifelong friendships. There’s nothing better than socializing, networking and learning with like-minded foodie people! As well, the connections I’ve made through social media are also invaluable. They may only be online interactions with other bloggers, but I’m always motivated and inspired by them. I stay active on social media and enjoy keeping these relationships flowing.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
There are many useful parts to the site, but most important to me is that I have access to Canadian content. As a Canadian food creator it can be challenging to find information about Canadian blogging and food trends. I’m confident in relying on the resources available on the FBC site for accurate up to date information. Also the FBC Members Forum is a great place to ask questions and learn from other people’s questions. I can always find answers and support there! Overall, FBC is a great support and has been paramount in helping me build my blog.
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