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#Austin360Eats: How Instagram, social media food photography have changed how we eat

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Kristen Davenport, Owner of Capital City Bakery (instagram.com/inmypies)

What is it about food that makes you want to pause for a second before eating it to capture and share it?

Food is just as much visual pleasure as taste to me. I have a background in visual communications and design, and food photography was my gateway into the culinary world. Making my treats look tantalizing to others is my favorite part of the business. Instagram has become one of the best ways to get the word out; I’ll post a picture of our daily special and people will come to the shop and mention they saw my photo online! It’s amazing.

If you could recommend only three places in Austin to eat to a visitor, where would you send them?

My current favorite places (as a vegan) include Bouldin Creek Cafe, Shhmaltz and Via 313 Pizza.

Can you pick an all-time favorite Instagram post, food or otherwise?

My most “liked” posts are between a rainbow layer cake I made for Austin Pride and a candy corn cupcake, which I colored the cake orange, yellow and white and had a homemade vegan candy corn on top! We’re currently making vegan kolaches as well, which reminds me of my childhood in Texas. As far as my favorite pictures … I usually get food-nerdy over the ones with strong, bright colors and a cute background pattern.

Nicolai McCrary, Austin food photographer (instagram.com/thenicolai)

What is it about food that makes you want to pause for a second before eating it to capture and share it?

It’s really a combination of things. I mostly share photos of my food when I’m trying somewhere new that I want to recommend to others or trying some kind of unique experience. I tend to travel a lot and I think food is an interesting way to showcase the cultural differences between locations. My goal really is to drive business to the restaurants that I feel really deserve it while helping viewers find new places and dishes that I think are worth experiencing.

If you could recommend only three places in Austin to eat to a visitor, where would you send them?

Typically, I like to tailor my answer to the visitor whenever possible, but when giving suggestions to a general audience I have a few that I like to default to: Qui, Odd Duck and Ramen Tatsu-Ya. These are three of my current favorites that I think are pretty representative of the direction food in Austin is heading, without straying too far from Austin culture.

Can you pick an all-time favorite Instagram post, food or otherwise?

This photo from Together, a Korean restaurant in North Austin, is one of my personal favorites.

Philip Speer, director of culinary operations at Uchi, Uchiko (instagram.com/philipspeer)

What is it about food that makes you want to pause for a second before eating it to capture and share it?

Food is the only art form that uses every sense, and capturing one of those senses — sight — for me, eternalizes a very perishable form.

If you could recommend only three places in Austin to eat to a visitor, where would you send them?

I guess I’ll stay away from my obvious first answer and give you three others! This was so much easier to answer 10 years ago; Austin has so many great restaurants now. I would want to offer three suggestions that really embody what Austin is, or at least to me: Contigo, Franklin BBQ and East Side King at the Liberty (specifically). But where would I eat tomorrow? Swift’s Attic, Parkside, Ramen Tatsu-Ya.

Can you pick an all-time favorite Instagram post, food or otherwise?

The whole collection that I have of our cooks’ and chefs’ work really inspires me everyday. I love how Instagram has become a place for inspiration and learning about what goes on in our community, around the world.

Camille Styles, founder CamilleStyles.com (instagram.com/camillestyles)

What is it about food that makes you want to pause for a second before eating it to capture and share it?

I love the idea of mindful eating; whether my plate is full of sautéed kale or truffled french fries, I can feel good about eating it if I know I really savored each bite. Taking that moment to hit the pause button and photograph a beautiful piece of food can awaken the senses and really focus my energies on what I’m about to devour.

If you could recommend only three places in Austin to eat to a visitor, where would you send them?

Let’s do breakfast, lunch and dinner. First stop: Elizabeth Street Café for almond croissants and breakfast banh mi. Next up is Taco Deli for mojo fish and al pastor tacos. We’d end the day at Uchiko for a sushi feast, which would also include lots of their crispy Brussels sprouts.

Can you pick an all-time favorite Instagram post, food or otherwise?

This one represents a great moment, from the very last photo shoot for my book, which will come out this fall. After an entire year of writing, styling and shooting, this is the day we shot the cover and put the final touch on one of the most challenging and fun projects ever.

Deana Saukam, media and events director at East Side King, Qui (instagram.com/faimfatale)

What is it about food that makes you want to pause for a second before eating it to capture and share it?

I love food, and it’s amazing how food can really bring people together. I feel as though taking a second to snap a photo before or during a meal helps me remember where I was at a certain time in my life, since my life is very centered around food. It is also a way for me share my experiences and remember what I ate.

If you could recommend only three places in Austin to eat to a visitor, where would you send them?

If I could only recommend three places in Austin, other than our restaurants and trailers, they would be Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Micklethwait Craft Meats and Tam Deli for Vietnamese.

Can you pick an all-time favorite Instagram post, food or otherwise?

My all-time favorite Instagram post is one I snapped in March of last year while on a boat a few miles off the coast of Phu Quoc, Vietnam, of a floating fish farm selling cuttlefish, crab, shark and cobia. We secured our boat to side of the floating fish farm, hopped off, and purchased a variety of live seafood that swam in the large nets suspended in the sea.

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