Big Cheese: Ria Mathew

Ria Mathew tells us about her food blog and what it takes to make it successful!

Food is an invincible part of our life. For a foodie, if there is anything more satisfying than relishing an appetizing meal, it is curating one. And today, to every foodie’s delight, social media offers a platform to share your love for food, your unique curations, restaurant reviews, recipes, tips and tricks in cooking, baking, sugarcraft and much more. Read on to know how popular Keralite food bloggers across the globe started out with their blogs and what it takes to have a successful blog! 

Complied By: Riya Sonny Datson

Ria Mathew

Blog: Ria’s Collection

Insta page: Ria’s Collection (http://instagram.com/riascollection)

How did you start food blogging?

I started my food blog as an extension to my recipe diary, Ria’s Collection. It was just a humble attempt to save and share recipes that I have been collecting from family & cookbooks. Food blogging was unheard of at that time, so I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started in 2010. When my little brother saw me emailing a couple of recipes to my cousin, he suggested that I start a blog to save time and effort. It was only when I received the first comment on my post did I realize that the whole World could see what I was sharing! I couldn’t understand how it all worked. It was a very hard-to-describe exciting moment for me.

What is the one thing you like about blogging?

Being a food blogger opened up various opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if not for my page, ‘Ria’s Collection’. I am truly grateful for that. Now, after 10 years, I would say that the best thing about food blogging is that my children can one day read it all and cook the recipes that I have shared. Ian, my 7 year old son always asks me if I have shared all his favourite recipes on my blog & YouTube channel, just so that he can look at it and remake them when he is bigger. It makes me want to share more because my food blog is like my journal and to see that my children appreciate it is a very heart-warming experience.

What do you think are the key elements to a successful blog? 

Quality & consistency in what you do! I personally feel that you need to find your own voice and write using that. It’s perfectly OK to get inspired by another blogger but try not to copy their style. It will not last long. If you are using someone else’s work, give credit where it’s due. Since I run a food blog per se, my readers come back because they feel my recipes are accurate & quick.

Does your blog tie up with food brands for reviews?

I have worked for brands as a recipe developer & content creator.

Most memorable food experience: 

I can’t pick one because I love to cook, eat and entertain! I have so many amazing memories – all of them are around our family tables and that also includes all the loud happy voices around that table. But one thing is for sure, it was never at a restaurant!

 A Chef you follow like an Idol: 

I love Zoe Francois! She is an amazing Pastry Chef, author and friend. Her food is incredibly tasty and is like a piece of art every single time!

A food show you never miss: 

I grew up without having a cable connection at home so I rarely watch TV now. When I do, it’s almost always a cooking show! I can never get tired of watching Ina Garten and Nigella Lawson.

One dish or meal that you enjoy cooking and why?

I truly believe that there’s a grandmother living inside me. I love to cook age old recipes as much as the latest trends. The satisfaction that I get when I nail down an old generation recipe is like none other. So on any given day, I would love to cook our good old Meen Vevichathu /Pork Vindaloo with utmost care and attention in getting the colour right along with finding the perfect balance between ‘uppum puliyum’.

One dish or meal that you relish having and why?

It will hands down be a home cooked meal complete with ‘Chorum, Kachimorum, Urulakkizhangu Mezhukkupurattiyum’. I have very vague yet fond memories of Amma feeding me, a 4 year old, little balls of rice that was mashed along with kachiyamoru and urulakkizhangu mezhukkupuratti while I sat on the edge of our Jeep’s trailer in our Estate Bungalow porch. Some memories stay with you for a lifetime and almost all of mine are associated with food.

Your philosophy on food: 

I personally believe that quality is more important than quantity. It makes a lot of difference to not just the taste but also about how you feel after you eat it. Practicing good food hygiene and safety can prevent most food borne illnesses. I think food is one of the main things that connects generations. When it comes to my family, I try to preserve our age old family recipes and continue to cook them irrespective of how involved a recipe can be. Luckily, my husband and kids are very appreciative of my efforts in doing so and enjoy everything I make. So even if it means that I have to make an extra long trip to our Oriental store to buy frozen banana leaves, I will still make our nadan Ela Ada for tea on a rotation because it’s like a warm big hug from home especially during the subzero Minnesota winters!