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.
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.
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.