by Sarah Wu
Photographs courtesy of Chocolate for Basil and floreakeats
Food is in our kitchens, our conversations and our lunch totes. It tells the story of one’s upbringing and opens a door to one’s life simply through the senses—taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. In the city of Boston, two area food bloggers are influencing the way we think about our food.
Jerrelle Guy of Chocolate for Basil
Chocolate for Basil is the project of Jerrelle Guy (MET ’17) and Eric Harrison. Among her past accomplishments, Guy can claim fame for being a food stylist, photographer and writer for The Boston Globe and The Kitchn. Harrison is a computer engineer and drink specialist who happens to have a knack for hand modeling. Her digits have been featured on Yahoo! Food and BuzzFeed Food.
Guy is an omnivore, and Harrison has been a vegetarian for 10 years. Their blog and Instagram feature hundreds of recipes with incredibly detailed photos—the blog and the individuals were featured on The Improper Bostonian, Food52 and Vogue, just to name a few of their impressive credits.
Guy is graduating this fall from the Gastronomy program through Boston University’s Metropolitan College and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration in 2012 from Rhode Island School of Design.
There is one driving force behind the culinary maven. “It's shown me how lacking the black American voice is in the food world and how there's a need for more examples from that food perspective, which inspired me to step up,” said Guy.
The website takes the reader into their space—more specifically, their kitchen and pantry. Lists of the essentials they cannot part with ranges from sprout toast to coconut cream and dried dates. Guy’s new favorites include whole wheat flour, hazelnut meal and quinoa flour, due to her current project—a cookbook that tells her food story and promises to be as visually stunning as the Chocolate for Basil Instagram account.
Guy’s cookbook, Black Girl Baking, is set to release on February 6, 2018, wherever books are sold. You can pre-order it on Amazon. In her perspective, she is creating and documenting food history through her recipes.
“Current events, location and seasonality, trendy ingredients; it's all filtered through our perspective and transcribed into each recipe whether we're conscious of it or not,” Guy said. “And now that I am more conscious, it makes the process more enjoyable and intentional.”
The duo’s next big project is a new YouTube channel.
“A lot of my recipes are free-form, and because I'm such a visual person, that format seems like a good space for us to flourish and share our personalities,” said Guy.
Hear Guy’s and Harrison’s full story here.
Michael Floreak, floreakeats
Michael Floreak (MET ’17) is a proud graduate of BU’s gastronomy program and a food and culture writer for The Boston Globe. When he is not writing for the newspaper, he is producing content for his blog, floreakeats. Perhaps his best-known post is his argument against the use of the word “foodie” and in favor of using the phrase “food asshole” instead. In his biography, he calls himself an “occasional food asshole.”
“Just the other day I told my wife, ‘We have to go back to Italy. The special bottle of balsamic vinegar I bought eight years ago is almost empty,’” he said. “I should be finely minced for even thinking that.”
The fact that he used “minced” in his vocabulary speaks to his constant attention to food.
Being called a foodie is something that Floreak is not quite used to. When the word comes up in casual conversation, he will simply smile and “make ‘stabby’ hand gestures on the inside.”
Occasionally, the person will (rightfully) apologize.
“Maybe I’ve mellowed or maybe the world has become a better place,” Floreak said, suggesting the word has become less common in recent years.
His time in the gastronomy program at BU has opened his eyes to topics like food culture, history and policy. He can even use the word commensality correctly in a casual context. Floreak hopes to write a book about the food asshole’s dilemma.
“Food has an outsized role in popular culture. That’s great. And that’s ridiculous. In my day job as a food writer, I interviewed Jamie Bissonnette [of Toro Boston, Toro NYC and Coppa Boston] after he won his James Beard award,” said Floreak. “I asked him all these serious questions about being an award-winning chef. As we were wrapping up, he told me, ‘Everything we make today is going to end up in a toilet tomorrow. How seriously can you take yourself?’ Jamie’s a smart man.”