Student Foodgram: cookingincathays

For the third foodgram of the series, Quench interviewed Cardiff student food blogger, Carys, who features a mixture of homemade meals and restaurant dishes on her colourful Instagram page.

Words by Carys Wigley

How long have you had your foodgram for and what inspired you to start it?

I’ve had my foodgram for five months. I often eat out and love trying new places but was starting to cook more and more and wanted somewhere to document this. My housemate George inspired me to begin my cooking journey in 2017 and my passion has only grown since then. I find cooking really relaxing.

Carbonara courtesy of Pasta Evangelists

What’s your favourite cuisine?

I don’t really have a favourite cuisine. I’ve never really been a fussy eater and have always been up for trying everything and anything which I guess has stemmed from my parents’ love of trying new and exciting food dishes. The other day I tried a chicken heart at Viva Brazil – that was the first and last time. I will say though, my favourite all time dish is lasagne. And I’m a big fan of American snacks. I remember my Dad travelling to Cardiff when I was young to get Oreos from Howells (now House of Fraser) because it was the only place that stocked them!

What’s your favourite restaurant in Cardiff?

A restaurant that features a lot on my blog is Pieminister on St Mary’s Street. I love the great range of pies and the vibe in the place. The staff are great, always friendly and cannot help you enough. I think I’ve tried half the menu by now! A more recent favourite is hotpotspot on Wellfield road – I was thoroughly impressed by it. It was so delicious and fresh and I loved the concept of cooking the meal yourself.

Spot the pie!

What’s the secret to getting the best-looking snap for Instagram?

Hmmm, I haven’t really figured that one out myself. I have an iPhone SE so it’s not the best camera and I’m not a fan of using filters on Instagram because I want the food to look as it did. Natural lighting is always better than artificial, and saturation is your best friend! Try taking a photo with flash and without and comparing the two to see which came out better.

Jazzed up McDonald’s side salad!

Tell us about your worst kitchen disaster.

At the beginning of my cooking journey, I came in from the lash skint and starving and decided to cook for myself rather than going to fam fish (what was I thinking?). I decided to roast veg and when trying to get the boiling hot tray out of the oven, I accidentally punched it rather than grabbed it and I’ve still got a scar. Please don’t attempt drunken roasting!

What would be your top 3 tips for someone wanting to start a foodgram?

1. Be a nice person to your peers and the staff at the restaurants you visit. The Instagram community is fab, take some time to talk to them and get to know them.
2. Get a better camera than I use.
3. Have a laugh, don’t take it too seriously. Have fun!

Sticky Beef Roti at Canton’s Street Food Circus

Where is next on your hitlist?

I’m seriously anticipating a visit to both Hanoi.1991 and Pho restaurant. Hanoi.1991 are currently serving pho and I can’t wait to compare and enjoy both places’ offerings!

Please share your best tip for eating out on a student budget!

If you want to eat out regularly on a student budget, money is going to have to come from somewhere. One of my top tips would be to invest in a reusable flask and water bottle – you’re saving the environment and saving money at the same time. Another idea is this: Every time you spend less than you thought you would in Yolo or Juice, put the money into a jar and use it towards a nice meal at the end of the month.

Jackfruit Burrito Bowl at Tortilla