An Interview with Dara, Editor of ‘The Skinny Pig’

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Hi Dara – we love all your delicious NYC foodie reviews here at the Blogger’s Lounge. When did you decide to start writing Skinny Pig? Have you always had a passion for cooking and food?

I started it in 2008, when I was working at a job that bored the ever loving crap out of me. I needed a creative outlet that I could also do at a desk/computer, and I like writing, so it seemed like a logical step to start a blog. Yes, I always had a passion for cooking, and also had a passion for eating at NYC restaurants. At this point I focus more on restaurants than cooking on my blog, but if I get a great recipe, I will usually share it on my site. But it is definitely not a cooking blog. I would love to have the time to do that one day, but right now it is hard enough to balance work and blogging.

New York City is a huge city. How do you decide who to review next, or do you just go with your gut (excuse the pun!)?

Great pun. I tend to get a lot of invites from PR companies asking me to review their restaurants. That’s definitely one way (and frankly the easiest), but I also scour food websites for newbies. And even if they’re not new, this city is packed with great classic joints that I have yet to get to and I have been living here all my life. You can’t hit all of the restaurants in this city. You just can’t. Unless you’re made of money and time, you have to pick and choose.

Do you have any tips for bloggers just starting out? (e.g. SEO tips, technical tips, article writing tips, social media etc)

I read Blogging for Dummies (not kidding) and it definitely helped me a bit. I would also use a free service like WordPress – can’t say enough good things about it – they have great themes, and it’s easy to use. Social media is also extremely important. I have made a ton of connections via Twitter and Instagram. Especially for food bloggers, Instagram is a great way to get a following (read: food porn). But the most important piece of advice is to be consistent. I am not nearly as consistent as I used to be, and I wish I had the time to dedicate to The Skinny Pig like I used to, but life gets in the way. Fortunately at this point I have garnered enough of a following that I can still do it, but I do it more at my own pace. And that’s the other beauty about blogging – you don’t have an editor, and you can write what you want, when you want. It just depends on what you want to get out of it. I never intended on making The Skinny Pig my full time job, but I bet if I put my mind to it, I could.

What other blogs inspire you?

For my style of blog, I like the big guys like Grub Street, Serious Eats, and my favourite is Immaculate Infatuation. Their writing is similar to mine in that they don’t mess around and tell it like it is. It’s not prose, but it’s real. And that’s a great quality for a blog: easily digestible content. That was a bad pun too!

Where is your all-time favourite place to eat in New York City?

That is literally too hard to choose! But, I have a few. Scarpetta, Allswell (Williamsburg), Jane, Ippudo, and you can never go wrong with a great steak at Peter Luger (Williamsburg).

So there you have it. For those of you who salivate over delicious food, check out the Skinny Pig, or follow her on Twitter

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