Jonathan Melendez is no ordinary food blogger

Bernard Eats: The Candid Appetite

The Candid Appetite is a place where cooking and photography collide. Each image is photographed step-by-step—cutting out the guesswork in cooking—making it easier for those who are just learning how to cook.
Jonathan Melendez photo
Jonathan Melendez is an art student, photographer, foodie and cook.

Today, there are probably so many food blogs to choose from to dedicate your support too, but I have come to realize only the best seem to have a story, photos, and a cute face. Well, I guess the cute face is optional, but when it comes to the face behind The Candid Appetite, a step-by-step food blog, the cute face is definitely the cherry on top.

Jonathan Melendez, 23 years old, shares his insight into running his own business and what it’s like behind The Candid Appetite.

What inspired you to get into the foodie industry?

I’ve been cooking and baking for a very long time. I first started experimenting in the kitchen when I was thirteen. Cooking has always been something that I find fun and fascinating. Whenever life gets too hectic or overwhelming, I often turn to baking or cooking to relieve some of that stress.

What do you think about as you cook?

When I cook I do not think about anything in particular. I am most relaxed when I am in my kitchen, so often I use it as a time to forget about everything and just cook or bake. I cannot cook without music on, so more often than not I am either singing or dancing to the music.

Is there any particular recipe do you see yourself making constantly?

I find myself constantly making red velvet cake or cupcakes. People are obsessed with red velvet in Los Angeles. It’s definitely the most ordered cake flavor I get. But when it comes to me cooking for myself, I make Jambalaya a lot. It’s my favorite dish.

Why you? What makes you so abruptly unique compared to other food bloggers out there?

What distinguishes The Candid Appetite from all the other food blogs is the step-by-step photography aspect of it. The fact that each recipe features anywhere between 70-125 images sets it apart from other food blogs. Cooking is such a visual task, and I find that when reading recipes or learning to make something, for the first time through a recipe, it is hard to know what each step is supposed to look like. “Is it supposed to look like this? Am I doing this right?“, are questions that often come up when following a recipe. So with my blog, those questions are answered through various images. They guide the viewers through the recipe and encourage them by letting them know they are doing it right.

Jonathan Melendez favorite cake strawberry shortcake photoWhat has been your favorite cake to bake and why?

My absolute favorite cake to make is strawberry shortcake. It brings me back to my childhood. Those countless birthdays where my mother would buy me this cake and allow me to eat to my heart’s content. Whenever I make it, I am reminded of those birthday cakes, which she purchased from China Town. We often took trips there and had day adventures, which resulted in a visit to the bakery that sold them. The flavors are incredible together. Of course I’ve changed my recipe a bit by adding a rum simple syrup to the cake which just takes it to a whole other level.

What food blogging advice can you offer to people?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We are human, and we are all bound to make mistakes, especially in the kitchen. I still have cooking disasters, even now. The trick is to just laugh at those mistakes and to quickly get over them. Cooking and baking is supposed to be fun, don’t stress about it at all. The faster you let go of all those worries and boundaries in the kitchen, the more you’ll have fun.

What are your essential ingredients to balancing school and work?

Patience and resilience. Taking small breaks in intervals is crucial. I’m lucky enough that I get to work from home so I often take a step back for 10 minutes at a time and just forget about what I am working on. It helps a lot to walk away from the project or whatever I’m working on and focus on something entirely different. Then when I get back to work, I tackle it in a different light.

What is something quirky or cute about you that none of your followers typically know about you?

I laugh whenever I am nervous or in pain. Ever since I was a child, laughing has been my defense mechanism for everything. It’s a good thing this wasn’t a filmed interview because I’d just be constantly laughing.

Jonathan’s work is definitely a must taste! I encourage you to check out his work on his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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