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Daily Inspiration: Meet Akhila Praveen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Akhila Praveen.

Hi Akhila, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Hello, my name is Akhila and I am based out of St. Louis, MO. My native place is Kerala, a state from the southern part of India.

I am a food blogger, food photographer, and a food stylist. My passion for cooking started 7 years ago, around the time of my marriage after which we moved to the US as my husband’s work got relocated to St. Louis. I was working as a research assistant in a biotech firm back then in India but when I moved here, I was not permitted to work as the dependent visa on which I arrived did not allow me to.

Initially, it felt ok as I got a well-deserved break from my work life and was enjoying a lot of “me time”, but slowly it started to get boring. Although I used to cook and enjoyed it thoroughly, I was in search of hobbies and other activities to keep myself engaged. As both me and my hubby are ardent foodies, we loved trying out new cuisines and that slowly interested me in recreating them at home, to come out of my comfort zone and experiment with different recipes & ingredients. As I started to get good at it, a few of my friends who loved my dishes and understood my passion suggested me to start a food blog. Back then, I didn’t know what a food blog was and so I started researching and spend more than 6 months just to read and learn about food photography, food styling, SEO, managing social media and so on. And that’s how my blog Pepper Delight came alive.

Its more than 5 years now and looking back at how Pepper Delight has evolved, I am so proud about my decision. This journey has given me a lot; a wonderful food bloggers community where you are well known, respected and get to collaborate, learning new avenues in terms of food photography, styling, blogging, and most of all a platform where I get to share back everything I know about food and pursue a profession I am really passionate about.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Creativity and staying consistent is the most challenging part in the food blog industry. This is a very competitive field; daily hundreds of people are starting their food blogs, Instagram profiles, YouTube channels, and to stand out among them is not at all easy. For a new blogger, you need a lot of patience as the initial years are tough, your good work takes time to be recognized and show up in search results.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am primarily a food blogger, and I blog at Pepper Delight is all about simple, quick and healthy recipes. I love to cook both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, Indian and Global cuisines.

I am also a professional Food Photographer and am known for my Food Photography. I work and collaborate with brands, doing product photography, and sponsored ads/posts through my social media.

I am proud of a lot of things throughout my journey with Pepper Delight. Many of my recipes & posts have been featured in magazines and online platforms like BuzzFeed and Brit+Co, some of my recipes stand out as the first recommendations on search platforms like Google. And I also got to work for reputed brands which I cherish a lot and is a recognition for my efforts. What set’s me apart from others are my pictures and recipe quality. I strive to maintain the standard and quality of my food photographs and take a conscious effort to have my pictures stand out.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Staying consistent by managing social media, and up to date with new food trends are the two main things any new food blogger should focus on. Try to connect with fellow bloggers, get inspired from their work and of course improve food photography by practice, practice and more practice. The social media growth will be really slow at first but don’t cut corners to just increase your follower count, be consistent and patient, over the time you will reach your target audience.

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