Everyday Food Blog

Q&A with Matt Armendariz

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Photo by Matt Armendariz

In our November issue, we talked to one of our favorite food bloggers and photographers, Matt Armendariz of MattBites.com. Check out page 33 of our November issue for his fun, whimsical recipe for sweet potato fries with brown-butter marshmallow sauce - finger food based on a classic Thanksgiving side dish. Read on for our interview with Matt where he reveals the craziest thing he's ever eaten and a few tips for budding food photographers...

What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving?
Without a doubt it’s the gathering of friends and family. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but the meal is sometimes secondary to the main idea of the holiday: to take time and reflect and give thanks for the bounty we have.

Any Thanksgiving food flubs to share?
I’ve ruined an entire turkey before - that’s a mistake I quickly learned from! Don’t try to get fancy unless you know what you’re doing. Thanksgiving is not the holiday to mess with.

Any food photography tips for a tweeting or blogging home cook?
Begin with great ingredients and you’re already ahead of the curve. Also, don’t get so close to your plate that it’s confusing to see what it is.

What common mistakes do you see people make when taking pictures of their food?
People using a flash on their camera to shoot food. It really flattens and washes out the subject, so it won’t look appetizing. Another big mistake? Becoming frustrated so quickly. Relax! It’s digital. You can keep doing it until you’re happy.

So how did you learn to be so handy in the kitchen?
I’m a self-taught cook. My parents encouraged us to get in the kitchen and make things. It was never a place where things were hands-off. We were allowed to play and create in the kitchen--under supervision, of course!

You live in Los Angeles. How is California cooking different than the rest of the country?
We have access to an amazing amount of fresh fruit and vegetables year-round, great olive oil, wine, you name it. It’s easy to focus on freshness and I must admit we sometimes take that for granted!

What’s the most inspiring place you’ve traveled?
In food terms, I must say Italy. To create unforgettable meals with humble ingredients continually inspires me. Of course, I'm generalizing: Italy is a big country, but the simplicity in the spectacular dishes there inspires me.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten while traveling?
South Korea's Beondegi, also known as silkworms. While it's a beloved snack, it just wasn't for me! And I suppose you could say chapulines, too, which are crickets in Mexico. I think those are delicious.

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