As you walk down the hallway at GDS, you may be passing famous DC foodstagrammers without even knowing it. Freshman William Goldberg’s Instagram food blog, @thetufftruffle, has 6,299 followers. Sophomore Hannah Plotnek’s @the_foodgram has 11,500 followers, while seniors Almira Akyatan, Jessie Granader, Michaela Karam and Hannah Smulson’s @dceatss has a whopping 29,400. To put this into perspective for those who do not use Instagram, my last picture of my grandmother and I got 118 likes, while @dceatss picture of a three-layer cake with pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles got 3,410.
Goldberg began @thetufftruffle about two years ago when he was with an artisanal gefilte fish-maker from Brooklyn named Jeff Yoskowitz. “I thought what Yoskowitz did, connecting with local New York people and building networks in the food business was something I wanted to do as well,” said Goldberg.
The name @thetufftruffle is inspired by S.E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders, in which the word “tuff” is used to mean “cool or sharp looking,” while the word truffle is open to interpretation. “Is it the mushroom truffle or the chocolate truffle? I don’t even know,” admitted Goldberg.
Goldberg credits GDS with teaching him to compose emails and interact with adults, tools he uses regularly to advocate for himself and @thetufftruffle. Every week, Whole Foods gives Goldberg a $25 gift certificate to make food with their ingredients in order to showcase their in-house and 365 brand products. Goldberg hopes to have 10,000 followers for his account by spring break next year; “One day I want to be as big as @dceatss,” he joked, giving a nod to the graduating food bloggers.
Plotnek and two of her friends began @the_foodgram the summer before her freshman year. At first, @the_foodgram posted photos of local food like @thetufftruffle and @dceatss, but the blog now focuses mostly on food from restaurants outside DC or on food that is homemade.“I bake almost every night. It is a good stress-reliever,” said Plotnek.
When asked about the best thing she has ever baked, Plotnek immediately pointed to her “blondies with marshmallows, homemade nutella, and caramel… and cookie shots,” which are cookies in the shape of shot glasses that hold milk.
Akyatan, Granader, Karam and Smulson began @dceatss during their sophomore year. “We noticed that there wasn’t a main Instagram for food in the DC area, and we thought that it deserved one since DC is a big food capital,” Karam said. @dceatss focuses on food from restaurants as well as Granader’s homemade goods.
“Our blog gives people a better idea of what a restaurant is like before going there,” Akyatan explained. “People visiting DC take advantage of @dceatss by reaching out to us for personal food recommendations,” she added.
@dceatss often receives publicity from local restaurants and food events. One weekend in May, the @dceatss bloggers had a free tasting at Massa 14, an Asian restaurant in tDC, and received two free VIP tickets ($100 value each) to Dino Fest, a food, wine, and music festival downtown (along with two free tickets to give away on the blog).
For their senior quest, Akyatan, Granader, Karam and Smulson re-created meals from other cultures and ethnicities while using their Instagram to document the cuisines. “We wanted to expose ourselves and our Instagram followers to different cultures and ethnicities through food from DC area restaurants,” Granader said. Next year, @dceatss will include photos from all over the country, as Akyatan, Granader, Karam and Smulson will be heading to different cities for college.
Goldberg’s closing advice for anyone considering making a foodstagrammers is that, “the market is oversaturated, so make sure to take really good pictures.”