The Instagram influencers bringing food from phone to table

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The Instagram influencers bringing food from phone to table

Louisa Walters considers how social media users are impacting on what you cook and eat

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing

Nothing says more about you than your Insta feed. Mine is full of food and I spend many happy minutes watching recipe reels.

These are an ever-increasing source of inspiration and I can’t help but feel that the ’gram is the way forward for mealtime magic.

I chatted to six Insta chefs to see what they think.


Dalia Haber @fastfoodmystyle


Dalia Haber

I am a busy mum of three who loves to cook. I love spices and flavour and creating new dishes for my kids to eat in a healthy way.

I set up a website on which to post my recipes, did a one-day intensive iPhone food photography course and then started sharing online.

I love the creativity of Instagram and people telling me they love my recipes. My posts generally get at least 100 likes and I once got 1,000 for a hummus recipe!

Ottolenghi-type recipes get the most engagement. I have met loads of fellow Insta-foodies and been featured in Ocado magazine, Jewish newspapers and even my shul magazine.

Recipes you might see on my feed: spiced rice / beef kofte

James Linden @Livelikelinden


James Linden

I started my Instagram food account in 2017 after realising that half my life is spent either cooking or eating. I am what you call a food blogger – I eat out, I review, I cook, I share recipes and, of course, I take pictures of it all. I do it because of my love of food – it’s always part of the conversation.

Even when I’m eating, I’m thinking about what the next meal is going to be. I want others to share my love of food, I want them to try my recipes and go to restaurants that I love.

I’m not a professional chef, but I cook well and my food tastes good so why shouldn’t I share that? There is nothing more rewarding than someone sending me a picture of a meal they have cooked from one of my recipes.

Recipes you might see on my account: Thai chicken traybake / chilli con carne


Jake Dryan @plantfuture


Jake Dryan

My grandfather is from Italy and was a chef his whole life, so I’ve been a foodie since I can remember. I left school at 16 to study at culinary college in Westminster and then earned my stripes at the Hilton Metropole.

I now run online cooking lessons from home and post short recipe videos on my Instagram account, which I set up in February 2018. I have also just published a recipe book, The Plantfuture Home Cook Bible, which focuses on quick, simple plant-based meals. I’m not vegan, but my food focus is ‘plant strong’.

During the first lockdown, things really started to pick up on my Instagram. I get great feedback and many of my reels have hundreds of thousand views, with a few over a million. I’m one of the only trained chefs in the plant-based Instagram niche.

People still enjoy cookbooks, but a more interactive version will emerge due to technology. I think video is definitely winning at the moment – look at the success of video-only Tik Tok, which is video only.

Recipes you might see on my account: oyster mushroom kebabs / celeriac cutlets


Penina Ehreich @simply.pea


Read the Food and Travel supplement

I started Simply Pea during lockdown, while taking a break from teaching science, to share simple kosher cooking with recipes, tips and techniques to help make mealtimes less stressful and more fun. I genuinely do it to help people.

Cooking shouldn’t be a chore and things can be made easy so why not share the tricks I have learnt over the years?

I think my science background helps me to made things clear and simple so even a novice can try a recipe.

It’s such a great feeling when I receive messages from people who always found cooking difficult but, due to my video tutorials, have made meals they and their whole family love.

Penina Ehreich

The engagement I have with my followers is really rewarding. People seem to love the video aspect and the step-by-step guides I make, so I think this is the way forward for me.

Recipes you might see on my account: Blood orange tea cake / spiced fish tagine


Emma Spitzer @emmaspitzer


I am an enthusiastic home cook who loves keeping it simple. I was a finalist on MasterChef in 2015 and this gave me the confidence to share my love of cooking and recipes.

Emma Spitzer

I started posting stories about food with recipes on Instagram to keep an active profile and connect with like-minded people. My stories regularly get more than 1,000 views. My feed posts could be better, but my photography and styling skills are below par!

There is always a place for recipe books – nothing replaces them – but Insta gives you the inspiration and ideas, plus exposure to chefs whom we may have otherwise missed.

Recipes you might see on my page: shakshuka/ sticky Korean-style tofu

Accounts I follow: @pinchofnom, @smittenkitchen, @thelondonbruncher


Denise Phillips @denises_kitchen


Denise Phillips

I am a professional chef (I trained at Prue Leith) and cookery writer. Since 2015, I have used Instagram as part of my mission to show that Jewish food can be tasty, attractive and easy to make. I feature my new recipes and use reels and stories to showcase my skills as a cookery teacher and to promote my events and partnerships with interesting new food companies.

I get a real buzz from the feedback, which is everything from a simple thumbs up emoji, all the way to photographs of people’s success with my recipes. The world is smaller on Instagram – I get leads to people and companies in the UK and the US. I love the fact I will do a two-minute recipe reel in the morning, and by lunchtime it might have been seen by more than 3,000 people. Instagram is definitely the way forward – it is so much more engaging and addictive than recipe books..

Recipes you might see on my page: bao buns with satay cauliflower florets / chocolate and chestnut roulade

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