Mijune Pak is a foodie in every sense of the word. This culinary enthusiast has a simmering love for everything to do with food, so naturally she travels the globe as a food, restaurant and travel writer. Her blog, Follow Me Foodie, has become a staple city and restaurant guide for Vancouver locals and tourists alike. Mijune dishes out an award-winning knack for sharing and celebrating food with hunger stimulating food pictures and a passionate foodie voice.
What does being a “foodie” mean to you?
It’s hard to say. When I started Follow Me Foodie the word wasn’t used as much is it today. I feel like I’m jaded now, but nonetheless it’s whatever you want to make of it. I want to say if you love food and live to eat, you’re a foodie, but that’s so cliché. People love food to different degrees, and even “foodies” identify with it in different ways, so the word doesn’t really mean much – it’s how you own it.
Where does your love and passion for everything to do with food come from?
I love learning and I’m curious about life – especially the delicious aspects of it. Everyone has to eat, so it becomes a topic everyone can relate to. I also love learning about cultures through food and the emotions in brings. I love the creative and technical part of it. And who doesn’t love work they can eat?! It just makes me happy.
What do you attribute to the success of Follow Me Foodie?
Wow. Thank you! To be honest, the “success of Follow Me Foodie” makes me blush… it’s not that I don’t think it’s necessarily “successful”, but I have so much more to learn and grow. I just feel like I’m not even close to being *there* yet – wherever “there” is. I consider Follow Me Foodie a success if it can continue to grow, and I can continue to grow with my readers and “followers” (hate calling them that). I’m really grateful to have a platform to be able to share with others and I just want to share more and bring better. If I can influence or inspire people with food and get them to explore or be passionate about it – that’s successful. They make me successful.
How do you utilize social media to grow your popular brand?
Thank you, again! Haha! I’m not sure how “popular” I am, but I’m thrilled to have people follow and enjoy my work. I love social media and I don’t use it as just a tool for business. It’s a tool for me to interact with the community, meet food enthusiasts and to engage with the overall industry. I keep it updated and use it consistently not only because I need to keep it growing and active, but because I genuinely want to share with others.
What has been your most memorable foodie experience so far?
Oh that’s really hard to say! I’m so grateful to have had amazing experiences and I can’t compare attending The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in London (the culinary “Oscars”) to handing out sandwiches to those in need in Downtown East Side. Both are incredibly rewarding experiences and there are so many more to add! Luckily it’s all documented on the blog and social media feeds ;)
What sort of opportunities has your foodie experience served you?
So many! I’ve met so many friends – life friends. I’ve also learned so much about culture, food, and myself. I’ve been able to work with talented chefs, cooks, and industry leaders. I’ve been able to teach and hopefully inspire others in the world of food and social media, and I’ve gotten to travel and see the world. I travelled quite a bit before the blog too, but not as much as I do now. The journey has been amazing and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead!
Favourite dish to cook?
Honestly, I eat out a lot and I when I’m travelling it’s “double time” if not more. I’m not complaining about “food overload” because I’m lucky to just have food to eat, but when I come home, sometimes I need just a one day break. Simple food, or even a day of apples has become my “go-to” dish to cook. If I really cook, I like to entertain and go all out though. I rarely remake a dish because I like to try new things and I get inspired by the food I just ate in whatever country I was just in. It changes all the time.
Favourite culinary destination?
So hard! It really depends! For street food? Indian? Asian? Fine dining? Seafood? If I had to pick within North America I’d say New York or Chicago just because they have it all. On the West Coast I’d say California, and for the same reason. The more multicultural and populated the city is, the more options and variety and that’s “the spice of life”.
Favourite Vancouver eateries?
Hmmm hard to say again. It depends on my mood and for what. I’m really specific with my recommendations and I like certain dishes more so than overall eateries. I also go a lot by the chef, not necessarily the restaurant, if it’s a good chef then I’m likely to follow the chef. If it’s appropriate to give a shameless plug, I’ll say “check out my blog and social media feed to see my favourite dishes”. I’m very honest, so I’ll say if I liked it, and you can tell by how I write and my comments on how much I liked it. If it’s just the description it probably wasn’t “wow-ing”, and on the blog I’ll go further to explain why.
What advice would you give to an aspiring food writer?
Do it first and foremost because you love it. Have fun with it, but also take it seriously. Be honest, have integrity, stay true to your voice, and don’t ever think you know everything. I always have to reassess things I thought I knew and it’s a constant learning curve.