November 13, 2015

A Foodie With An Instagram Following: An Interview with Carolyn Stine

Carolyn Stine is one of the most bubbly women I’ve ever met in my life. She’s one the best planners and is the go to person for restaurant, travel and book advice. She currently works at Club Monaco but in her spare time she’s capturing our attention and our stomachs with her drool worthy Instagram pics. Don’t believe me, see for yourself at @carobaker1.

1.     You have grown your Instagram following practically overnight? Do you have any tips on attracting more followers or becoming visible in the food world? 

Honestly, Instagram has always been a reflection of what’s going on in my day-to-day life more than anything. I didn’t set out to start the next big food Instagram or have any sort of perspective other than my own. My only explanation for the number of followers I’ve amassed (besides my wonderful friends and family) is that they can hopefully tell from looking at my page that they are getting a window into my real life, my actual personality, and my (occasionally witty) sense of humor. Bad puns included at no extra charge.

I think that people are getting savvy about the content they’re consuming – they know when something is authentic and sincere, and I think that we all gravitate towards those sources. My only advice for someone looking to potentially grow a following is to use your own voice. And just like when someone pays you a complement in your daily life, if someone writes a nice comment on one of your photos or expresses interest in your page, respond to them and say thank you. Being polite and expressing gratitude go a long way in the Instagram community.

2.     Your pictures of food make me instantly hungry! Do you use any filters to achieve that life like quality?

I actually have tried to drastically scale back my filter use so that my photos look as real and natural as possible. It’s so easy to get carried away with filters that can totally change the character or mood of a photo, when for me, the point is to capture a moment in a time and appreciate it as is. While a little extra brightness or contrast never hurt anyone, I see photos sometimes and think “overkill.” Actually, one of my favorite, and most simple, ways to enhance a photo is to use the sharpness tool in the Instagram app itself. It helps to define the focus of the image and makes everything a little bit sharper.

3.     What are your favorite NYC restaurants? 

Oh man, you know this is a tough question for me. Some of my all- time favorites are Buvette, Il Buco, Charlie Bird, Perla, Raoul’s, and Co. Some of my newer favorites are Tuome, Bar Bolonat, Via Carota, Uncle Boons, Graffiti, Upland, and Lupulo. But trust me, the list could go on for ages.

4.     It seems you have traveled the world, do you have any spots to visit and things to eat?

I’ve found more and more as I get older that experiencing new cultures and people is the best possible use of my discretionary income. And this is coming from someone who works in the fashion industry! I was recently in Portugal, and the country as a whole really blew me away. We spent our days in Lisbon exploring the hilly city by foot, and stumbling up colorful squares and little churches, and sitting in cafes and people watching. Traveling up the Douro River to wine country was stunningly beautiful – I could not recommend it more highly.

One of my favorite cities for all food-related pursuits is San Francisco. I have had some of the best meals of my life there, and the combo of high and low dining experiences is really exciting. Tartine and Craftsman & Wolves are two of my favorite breakfast spots of all time, The Blue Plate is so simple but so incredible, Chino is doing really cool things with fusion dining, and Atelier Crenn is the creme de la creme, end of story.

And one more – if you are looking for a relaxing island pursuit, there is truly no better place than Anguilla in the BWI.

5.     When you aren’t dining out and traveling the world where can we find you? 

At home! I’m a bit of a homebody when I am not out exploring this amazing city and beyond. I’m always in the kitchen trying new recipes and pawning off extra baked goods on friends, or curled up reading a good book. So by extension, you’ll find me quite frequently at the library and Whole Foods. This is glamorous stuff, people.

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