“Blogging is about indulging in passion. The more natural you are, the more you will enjoy and so will your readers,” says Kalyan Karmakar, the proud owner of Finely Chopped – a blog that is a diary with food being the anchor.
Early days and blogging
Born in Canterbury and now living with his family, Kalyan is a Bengali at the core displaying the three loves of every true Bengali – love for culture and creativity, a love for food, and a love to express (a thought that he added).
His love for writing goes back to his childhood days. Moving to Mumbai for work got him to explore food in the bustling city. It was his wife that motivated him to share his love for food and other stories in his blog. Today the blog that goes by the name ‘Finely Chopped’, is more than five years old.
With a decade and a half of professional experience in the field of consumer insights, Kalyan shared that it was the love of writing that has kept his blog alive.
“My writings have been really unstructured but I have never forced content on my blog. People love stories and I provide them,“ shared Kalyan, while we were talking about the content on the blog and what keeps him going. However, he made it clear that he has no plans to make his blog a listing or a review site.
“I do reviews but they have never been about advertising. I see a large portion of new food bloggers indulging and thereby blurring the line between blogging and mass media,” added Kalyan.
Finely Chopped food walks
It is about finding your space and there is no harm in enhancing the equity from your blog. Believing that informing and then reviewing a food menu is already biased from the initial step, Kalyan started food walks and is also trying to get a hold of Google Ads on his blog.
These food walks are not only about food tasting but also make you a part of the stories that are related to the place, food and culture. In addition to these, the food walks are happening at places which are hidden and people are not aware of them.
Sharing the story behind Food Walks, Kalyan revealed that the idea was first popped up by his friends Shivnath Thukral and Shaili Chopra whom he had met for lunch at a common friend’s place. Later the same idea was given by Simon Majumdar – well known author, food expert and world traveller, who advised him to convert the food walks into a revenue stream.
“90% of my friends today are known through my blog, I started working on the finer nuances of such walks with the help of other bloggers who have done such walks before,” he added, while talking about the initial push behind these now popular walks.
However, Kalyan believes in giving a personalized touch to these walks. He makes sure that no more than 8-10 people are included in such walks and that they are updated with an overall plan before the walk. This kind of planning has helped him in getting a good feedback from the people who join such walks. Additionally, the local support at the places where the walks take place has also been quite supportive.
“The walks don’t happen in posh places but places where the food and culture has not been explored yet. So when the owners of such places see such initiatives, they are also quite pepped up in providing support in whatever way possible,“ added Kalyan, while talking about the support and the feedback on such walks, which are being conducted by quite a few food bloggers these days.
Social media and blogging
Has blogging evolved from the time when it all started, was my subsequent question to Kalyan. He thinks that it has evolved and today a lot of the conversations happen on social media.
“Social media integration has helped my blogging experience,” added Kalyan, while also stating that one needs to be present in networks that makes one comfortable. He explored with Facebook and then he fell in love with Twitter, but he has kept a distance from other networks such as Pinterest, Foursquare, etc., mainly because he is content with the present set of social networks.
In fact he was in Barcelona last month where he was invited to the 3rd International Congress on Asian Tourism, to speak on ‘how to use social media to drive tourism from India’. Sharing his experiences of the conference and about the recent trip, Kalyan commented that all these networks are making communications possible and easy. He made his point with an analogy –
[pullquote id=”lhipull” class=”center_lhi”]A Blog is like a test match cricket, Facebook is a one day cricket match and Twitter is more like a T20 match.[/pullquote]
I couldn’t have agreed more on this but was surprised to see a Bengali showing love for cricket. Nevertheless, the love for food and sharing stories is felt when you converse with Kalyan, as it does when you scroll through the articles posted at Finely Chopped.