Foodie and gastronomy culture has all but exploded in the last few years, which has been great news for Corinne Cuozzo, a blogger, chef, and, now, author. We caught up with the young food enthusiast and learned about her blog, her book, and how her side project propelled her career forward into chefdom.
“Once things start adding up, that’s when it really gets fun! It’s a project you’ll feel great about and, as long as you’re diligent enough to contribute to it a few times a week or to carry a notebook and write down ideas for chapters or content, it will take shape very naturally.”
I’ve always had a great passion for food, mostly for eating. Once I was old enough to start cooking, it quickly became something I enjoyed immensely. I started my food blog, Brooklyn Munch, in February 2012.
Where did the idea for Brooklyn Munch come from?
Friends were starting to ask me for restaurant recommendations and questions about cooking fairly frequently. Since I enjoyed writing (but didn’t really have an outlet) and also wanted to document all the amazing restaurants I was trying out, I thought a blog would be a perfect way to inform friends and family, write about food, and maybe have a better excuse for all those trips for sushi or tapas!
What was your hope for the site?
At first, the site was just a fun side project. But, two years later, I’ve grown it into a small business, and have since quit my job, become a restaurant chef, and am happy to be living a much more creative lifestyle! The site is still my foremost passion; I love trying new restaurants, strategizing on budgeting, and cooking delicious meals for friends, family, and myself.
When did you feel you had enough material for a book?
The great thing about a blog is that you realize that a little bit of contribution, day by day, really adds up. The same goes with a cookbook. I started saving my favorite recipes to add to the book, instead of posting them on the blog, and then writing additional chapters about loving food (and how to save money on it) for the first half of the book. After completing a Kickstarter campaign for my book, The Brooklyn Munch Cookbook, I had all the resources I needed to really start experimenting and thinking about which ideas about food I wanted to relay (and include) the most.
How did you get the idea to include your favorite chefs in the book—and how did you get them to sign on?
A big part of my website is the restaurant reviews section, so I definitely didn’t want
to leave that aspect out of my first book. Since I thought reviews would become outdated so quickly, and since the book was primarily about cooking at home, I figured why not reach out to some local chefs and ask them to contribute a recipe that they love to make at home? At the end of the day, chefs are cooking in the kitchen all day as their business, but I felt fairly sure that, once they go home at night, an entirely different sort of cooking takes place, something much more genuine and comforting. As for how I got them to come on board—let’s just say there were a lot of emails sent out to pester a lot of NYC restaurant owners and chefs. But I am so happy with Chef Ella Schmidt, Chef Chris Santos, and, of course, the incredible Mario Batali for being so generous to contribute.
How has the reaction to the book been?
So far, so good! I meant it to be fairly funny and entertaining while still offering valuable money-saving and fundamental cooking advice, so I’m happy to hear whenever someone got some good laughs out of the book.
What did you do with the proceeds of the book?
The proceeds of the book go right back into the website. I’m spending more time promoting and marketing the site and the book, and any overflow may go to either my app that I want to develop in the future or to a specific food truck that I’ve developed a concept for.
Do you have any additional books in the works?
I do! I will plan to do another, more recipe-centric cookbook. I’ve been so interested lately in the concept of global cuisine. If you think about it, for thousands of years food was so specific to one part of the world or one specific culture. Italian food was Italian, Thai food was Thai. Then we started to see fusion become popular. I’d say at this point it’s evolved even further and now we’re feeling out what is an unapologetic, total integration of different cuisines from around the world and their various methods of preparation to create something that is truly modern, and which simultaneously celebrates how big this world is—and how close-knit it’s becoming. Think of all the possibilities…
What are your future goals for the site?
Just to keep on keeping on. The good thing about blogging is that there’s no ceiling to how far you can take it. An entirely online existence means no fancy office or expensive equipment, just time and dedication. And I know I’ll always be hungry for more food! I plan to write more books as well. It was a long process, but a very fun and enjoyable one at that!
What’s your dream job—and where do food and books fit in?
My dream job is to become a full-time food blogger. Ideally, in the next few years, I’d like to be traveling around to new cities and countries to observe cooking habits in different places—and to eat my way through the restaurants of big cities and small towns throughout the world. I love being a restaurant chef here in Brooklyn, but my true passion is eating new foods and writing about them.
What would your advice be to other foodies who want to start a side project or business involving content?
Honestly, define your niche and just get to it. At first, it can be hard to put yourself out there with just one or two posts. But once things start taking shape, you develop your writing style and your site’s (or book’s) personality. It becomes an incredibly cool hobby or business to have.
Once things start adding up, that’s when it really gets fun! It’s a project you’ll feel great about and, as long as you’re diligent enough to contribute to it a few times a week or to carry a notebook and write down ideas for chapters or content, it will take shape very naturally. But the most important part is to pick something that you want to do, not just something that you think might be successful. If it’s something you love, your enthusiasm will shine through and you won’t think twice about devoting a few hours to it on the next Saturday afternoon.