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Meet the Food Content Creator That Normalizes Mental Health Care and How Food Plays a Positive Role

Photo: FoodwithSoy

In recent years, and with the help of social media, the food content game has exploded. You no longer need large camera crews to produce quality content, and now many prefer more stripped down relatable guides into the world of food.

Technology at its best helps to uplift voices from the unlikeliest of places. One such voice is Soy, or FoodWithSoy, a successful food blogger making her mark by not only sharing delicious foods with her followers, but also highlighting small and local businesses. 

Raised in Florida, her mother taught her everything about Vietnamese cuisine, passing down their cultural heritage. It also was the only area of food her mother covered.

Where Soy grew up, food options were less diverse. Thankfully, watching Food Network fed her natural curiosity. She would discover classics like Philly cheesesteaks and dumplings and attempt to recreate them. Although she had no culinary experience, her interest would follow her to college in Florida, a more culturally diverse place where she experimented with recipes. 

“The first time I drank boba was in college. A lot of people hear that and they’re like ‘What, that’s so crazy!’ But there are so many people out there that want to learn about things but don’t have access to it right away,” Soy shared.

Photo: FoodwithSoy

Following college, Soy moved to California where she found that sometimes experimenting is far from the real deal. A melting pot of international cuisines, California allowed her to experience authentic versions of amazing foods she’d been learning about. As a recent transplant, eating at local restaurants also helped Soy adjust to a new home and jump start her food blogger journey.

Although Soy feels like she got a late start in life, being open minded and eager has allowed her to cultivate over a hundred thousand followers. Her content now impacts people worldwide, showing how food has the ability to spark joy simply by watching a video and trying it for the first time. What makes Soy stand out is how she not only highlights new foods but also shares meaningful narratives behind them. 

“The main point about the content I make is, I want to go out there, explore the world as much as possible with an open mind and heart. I’m here to share my experiences and to show people that food is not scary. Just because you haven’t seen it before, I want to make it more accessible so that you understand it and want to go out and try it. And if you like it, you share it with a friend of yours.”

The impact of the pandemic inspired Soy to move towards content that is supportive of small and local businesses. The same restaurants which helped her discover her passion were facing closure and Soy knew her platform had the potential to help. Jayrell Ringpis, owner of Snoice in San Diego recalls it feeling like a “second grand opening” after Soy shouted out their famous Halo-Halo, a Filipino dessert.

Photo: FoodwithSoy

Mental health is another area Soy has a passion for. Growing up she never had conversations about how to deal with mental health. Realizing her experience mirrors many others, she uses her platform to help normalize talking openly about mental health and also how food can play a positive role. 

“We’re all just people on this tiny rock trying to make it through like human beings and I love opening up that conversation with people all the time. When you’re able to normalize something that’s not considered a beautiful thing and make it something beautiful I think it makes the world a better place.”

After being recently awarded 2022 API trailblazer for TikTok, Soy plans to continue sharing meaningful content. She hopes to leave her followers with a sense of safety and courage to go out and try new things. What’s most important to Soy is focusing on the now while continuing to carry the purpose and drive to tell stories that matter.

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Celebrity Grub

Meet The Food Blogger Who Stole Bob Saget’s Heart

In the ’90s, Bob Saget became a household name with his two hit series America’s Funniest Home Videos and the better known Full House. The iconic TV dad had his fair share of trouble finding love on the TV show, and it seems the real-life actor could relate. Saget went through a divorce from his former wife nearly twenty years ago and told Closer Weekly that he never thought he’d have a relationship again.

The light at the end of Saget’s solitary tunnel came in the form of food blogger Kelly Rizzo. Travel enthusiasts will best recognize Rizzo as the host of the travel web series Eat Travel Rock.

The two have admittedly been dating for a while, but in a recent interview with Closer Weekly, Saget says he never thought he’d be in such a serious relationship again.

Coinciding with her show, Rizzo’s Instagram @EatTravelRock is littered with stunning food photography.

Here’s hoping Danny Tanner finally finds the one. You can catch him on the Full House revival Fuller House on Netflix.

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#foodbeast FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss

This Is How It Felt Spending 60 Days With The FOODBEAST Editorial Championship Belt

If you’ve ever been a fan of professional wrestling, boxing, or the UFC, it’s easy to understand the magnitude and importance of a championship belt. It underscores the challenge of getting up and grinding, knowing the promise of success is not guaranteed.

Thanks to the creative minds here at FOODBEAST, in August 2016 we had an authentic, custom-made, heavyweight style championship belt to award the editorial staff member who earns the top story each month, based on page views.

The rules were simple, whoever’s story had the most page views by the end of the month, held the belt the following month.

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For the first two months of the belt’s inauguration, I was its proud holder. I’ve carried the belt everywhere for the past 60 days. From happy hours, to dinner dates, and back and forth from the office everyday. I discovered it’s pretty easy to get free dessert once people find out you’re a champion food blogger.

Shout out to the dream for becoming a reality. 📸:@izzy_serious

A photo posted by Evan Lancaster (@spacexwolf) on

Still, the stories that helped me reach back-to-back months as FOODBEAST’s Editorial Champion became important talking points in the conversations I had about what exactly this belt represented.

My reign as champ started when I wrote about America hating Chipotle, a topic that resonated heavily with our audience. However, there was a sense of astonishment when discussing Chipotle hatred in person, as some people seemed blown away that there was animosity toward Chipotle.  

In celebration of my first victory, my roommate Kevin and I went to Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, where Joel Amaro, OC Weekly’s 2015 bartender of the year basically runs the show. Joel knows everyone and put me on blast (in a good way) in front of the whole bar. It was pretty incredible to be treated like royalty, especially when it’s from one of Southern California’s most recognized mixologists. 

Joel also told me I couldn’t return without the belt from now on.

That same night at Pizzeria Ortica, I was followed around by a 10-year-old kid who gained enough courage to ask me if I was, “a UFC guy.” I was crushed by flattery and felt bad for not being more important. I let him hold the belt while mom and dad snapped photos, before I could offer permission.

In December, I broke the news on Liftware’s spill-proof spoon, one of the most innovative and life-changing products that can potentially help millions of people who suffer with physical immobility enjoy their meals with ease. Witnessing the initial reaction from people seeing a spill-proof spoon for the first time was nothing short of amazing.

One rainy night in January, Kevin, along with our friend Roy, took the belt to Plan Check Kitchen + Bar in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Our server, Kenny, made it adamantly clear that desert was, “on Kenny.” He also insisted on clearing our table before taking a photo of us, because he didn’t want to make it seem like Plan Check left their tables full of empty plates and glasses. We assured Kenny that it was all good. It just goes to show the level of service that followed the belt everywhere it went.

Personally, this belt has become more than a motivational tool and ironically began to symbolize my hard work as a journalist for the past decade. It’s been a tough road, but this seems like a notable milestone.

I made sure to document everything via Instagram, because who knows when I’ll be able to tell a story like this again.

Inaugural. Undefeated. Undisputed. January 2017 📸:cusmar8330

A photo posted by Evan Lancaster (@spacexwolf) on

Being able to explain that I earned the title of inaugural FOODBEAST Editorial World Champion, in back-to-back months is a high bar to set. I already know everyone on my team has accepted the challenge. 

 My job is to tell stories, which is usually a thankless job. While I may never be an ultimate fighter, or the next Muhammad Ali, but possessing this belt has helped me understand my potential as a writer and a professional. Most of all it has motivated my team to accomplish great things.

I won’t lie, I enjoyed the obnoxiousness of walking into an restaurant — or anywhere, really — knowing every single person’s head would turn and look at me as I stepped through the doors with an oversized, golden heavyweight belt hanging off my shoulder.

🏆📍

A photo posted by Evan Lancaster (@spacexwolf) on

For one reason or another, most people seemed a bit disappointed after discovering I was just a writer and not a fighter, but, I’ll be the first to tell you there’s no better feeling than someone asking you, “What’s up, Champ?” when they have no idea who you are, or what you do.

Currently fellow writer Peter Pham is the new Editorial Champion, but February is the shortest month of the year, so his collar should be getting tight already.