1. What was your mission behind starting @thefarebear Instagram page?
To be real with you, starting @thefarebear wasn’t even a thought in my brain until Abby Brosnan of The New York Dines (@thenewyorkdines) got in touch with me. We knew each other since middle school and were already connected through (my original) Instagram. For a few months I had been on a kick of posting pictures of my food and practically writing love letters about it. Abby noticed this and was basically like, “Ryan you’re an idiot if you don’t think this energy should be put towards a food blog.” I had no idea how to jump in but she gladly showed me the ropes. In the beginning phases I thought I would only use my blog as a temporary device to gain followers, eventually pointing them towards my cooking show (when and if it took off) but because of how much fun I’m having with it, all the wonderful people I’m meeting through it and how many followers I’m finding to truly love my work, it’s really become it’s own beast that I’m proud of and want to keep around for as long as it can last.
2. You're captions are always so witty! How do you come up with such great commentary?
I try and write what I think is funny. If I’m not laughing at myself like an idiot I usually don’t post it at all. When I’m not stuffing my face, I’m a comedian so that part of me tends to bleed into my work whether I like it or not. This will definitely sound like some artsy nonsense but I’m inspired by a lot of other things as well. I take it all in when I go out to eat. The food, the chefs I talk to, the atmosphere of where I’m eating and especially the audience I’m (trying to) entertain. If I see that everyone involved is doing what they love or loving what I do, I can’t really explain how but whatever I write in the end just comes out more naturally.
3. You're from NYC and there is such an eclectic food scene there; how do you decide on what restaurants to visit?
My whole perspective going into this food blogging thing is that I eat what I can afford and if I can’t afford it, it’s probably something worth saving up for. I feel like that’s where a lot of people are coming from so I like to start there. Behind this food blog I’m just a poor actor/comedian living in his uncle’s basement in Brooklyn so I truly appreciate the spots where you can stop in and get a big hearty meal for cheap. I’m also big on visiting small local businesses, family owned restaurants - that sort of thing. I want to stick my neck out for the little guy because if you don’t, who will?
4. What is your favorite place to frequent in NYC?
I just want to preface that even though it’s almost been a year since I’ve started my blog, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface that is the culinary jungle of NYC. SO, keeping that in mind, currently these are my top 5:
- Vanessa’s Dumplings (If you have $5, you can order a feast!)
- Prince Street Pizza (2 Pepperoni Square Slices)
- Osteria Morini ($12 Pasta Night, Mondays 9pm)
- Xi’an Famous Foods (Hand pulled noodles that will change your life)
- Butter & Scotch (Badass women serving up desserts and booze. What’s not to like?)
5. What's your food kryptonite?
I’m always willing to try different foods, like ALWAYS, but being that I’ve tried it, liver, no matter how it is prepared, I just cannot get behind it. It’s mainly the aftertaste that gets me. My mother loves it and I just don’t know how she does it.
6. What are some of your favorite Instagram foodie pages to follow?
Since I started my blog, I've been a major fan of Infatuation (@infatuation). I have major respect for anyone that can balance sexy looking food, comedy and professionalism. They just get it. I would honestly kill to work for them.
Not to keep bringing up people I went to school with but Jake Cohen (@jakecohen) and his account are killing the game. He’s got recipes on recipes, jumbo food cooking shows, clean yet oh so dirty food porn on the gram and from what I’ve seen on his story he’s just living a baller life. Why wouldn’t you want to follow him?
7. You mentioned wanting to start a cooking show; can you share your inspiration for following that calling?
Ah yes, this old chestnut. My current financial situation really inspired me to start this show because it’s a life that many other people my age are living. Plain and simple, a lot of us just don’t know how to cook and right now we’re at a point where we don’t have the time, money or resources to learn by ourselves. We’re all stuck in a loop of ordering out because it’s the easiest thing for us to do after work but economically, it’s trapping us in this vicious cycle where we end up spending most of our own paychecks just to get a few meals. Growing up, my parents would yell at me to save money by cooking for myself but I never took it seriously. Now that I have to deal with student loans and paying rent, so saving money is at the top of my agenda. I just have this feeling, and it may sound silly, but with my cooking show, by teaching others (myself included) how to properly buy and store groceries, and by teaching them how to cook based on their budget, I think it can really help us in the future.
8. What's your favorite cooking show to watch?
Binging with Babish easily became my favorite cooking show to watch. Andrew Rea and his beautiful beard take food from TV shows and movies and try to recreate them to a T. If it doesn’t work or is just flat out disgusting, he puts his own spin on it to make the meal edible. When I’m not watching it, I’m usually just sitting in a room with the lights off, fuming that I didn’t think of this show first.
I also highly enjoy watching the team of Bon Appetite, no matter who is on, cooking a delicious meal. They’re all super down to Earth and you can see they put a lot of love into what they do. For the classier things in life you have to go Chef’s Table. For the everyman, you have to watch Mind of a Chef. But if I’m being real, who doesn’t binge a thousand episodes of Chopped in one sitting?
9. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Probably the power to eat whatever I want and not lose my breath after climbing a flight of stairs. Why? Because I lose my breath after climbing a flight of stairs.
10. What does success in your life/ career look like and do you feel you've achieved it?
I think I achieve success every day. I believe the more I push myself to be who I want to be and do what I want to do, success will be there waiting for me. By that I don’t mean that success is an end result but instead I find it lies in the process of constantly looking and moving forward. It’s in the food I taste, the places I go and the company I keep. You have to be in the moment to appreciate true success or else you’ll never actually find it. But what do I know? I live in my uncle’s basement.
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