Not many people know about it, but I was the first Italian male food-blogger.
I started writing La Cuisine de Fabien in the early 2006. Only a few food blogs existed back then, and even only a few blogs in general. I was looking for a recipe online and found this couple websites that looked written by “normal” people (as in “not professional chefs”). Being much less of a procrastinator then, I immediately jumped at the idea of creating my own blog.
I was enjoying cooking a lot of my own recipes and I already owned a digital camera that I was using for my clients work. So it was really an easy entry into this world.
There was only one well known blog in Italy when I started so my early beginning, and being the first male (and the only one for quite some time), gave me quite a lot of visibility.
It was still a time with almost no social media widely available. Facebook had only started 2 years prior, YouTube 1 year, Instagram didn’t exist… Basically, blogs were THE source of independent information.
Very quickly, I reached an astonishing (for the time) 50K unique visitors per day. More than the traffic of some worldwide news sites!
Even to this day, years after my last post, about 2000 people still visit it every week.
And of course this didn’t go unnoticed.
Myself and the other big names started being interviewed by newspapers and food magazines. We were featured in food columns and received book proposals from editors.
And we started getting emails from brands. In other genres, I was already seeing bloggers add ads to earn pocket money out of their writing. But with food-blogs, companies really started putting a lot of their marketing budget into collaborating with “creators” (trying to avoid repeating blog over and over but creators wasn’t a term in those years). And so we started receiving requests. To create recipes with ingredients from specific brands, to test products and write about it in the hope it would drive purchases, or else.
In short, we were the very first example of influencers.
One of the requests I received was to drop my Design career and become the head chef of a restaurant. In central Florence!
Guess I can cook 😉
I had several fruitful collaborations, including one with a coffee company that sent me a professional machine worth loads of money. But I always wrote my blog in a way that was as transparent as possible. I warned brands that I would not publish anything that wasn’t something I really liked (which they always accepted) and I was very open to my readers. I also never ran ads on my blog.
Which is how I became the first Italian to be accepted among the Food Ethic list of trustworthy blogs worldwide. And frankly it’s the recognition I’m still most proud of.
More than the award as Best Photo Blog of the Year in 2007 (yep, photo). More than the participation to events around the country. Or more than publications… Having my integrity and care about my readers recognised was a big achievement for me.
These days it’s a must to talk about products and maybe use a few affiliate links in a blog. But as it was back then, it’s the care about my readers that still drives my content. I try to provide as much value as I can, and I hope you get something out of this.
Maybe it’s some information, maybe it’s inspiration… My goal with these articles is to give something to you. Definitely more than hoping you would click that link that may earn me an extra 50 cents.
And I hope you appreciate what you read here.
Every now and then I think about going back to my old blog and add some of my new recipes. Of course I never quit cooking, I only stopped posting on my blog (mostly because I had moved to UK to focus on my professional career and was left with no time for it).
The style would have to adapt to the modern way of photographing food and write about it, but I still have the passion for it. And actually, food photography is still something I love doing today.
But I guess a YouTube channel would make more sense, or TikTok… Maybe…