Not many people know about it, but I was the first Italian male food blogger.
I started writing La Cuisine de Fabien in 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 a couple websites that looked like they were 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 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 start, and being the first male (and the only one for quite some time), gave me 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, and Instagram didn’t exist… Basically, blogs were THE source of independent information.
I quickly 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.
The other big names and I 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 much of their marketing budget into collaborating with “creators” (trying to avoid repeating blogs 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 them 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! And I actually considered it for a moment.
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 in events around the country. Or more than publications… Having my integrity and care for 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, the care about my readers still drives all of my content. I try to provide as much value as possible, and I hope you get something out of this.
Maybe it’s some information, maybe it’s an 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 returning to my old blog and adding some new recipes. Of course, I never quit cooking. I only stopped posting on my blog (mostly because I had moved to the UK to focus on my Design career and was left with no time for it).
The style would have to adapt to the modern way of photographing food and writing about it. But I still have a 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…