“Since my college, my love for food was well known,” Padmaj Narkar tells us. Now a food blogger and the creator of the Insta page thebigfatfoodie, which currently has almost 52k followers, Padmaj reflects on his college days where he was known to be the best organizer for food, whether it’s for the fresher’s party or the college festival. Before thebigfatfoodie was born, Padmaj used to post his food pictures on his personal account to an extent, where he had more food posts than his own.
However, posting these pictures on his personal account came to a halt when he lost his mobile phone. But he kick-started this journey again with starting a separate page- thebigfatfoodie- after he got his first android phone ever- OnePlus 6.
“I STARTED MY FOODIE JOURNEY ABOUT 5 YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS AT MY FIRST JOB AS A FIELD AGENT, NATURALLY SCOUTING OUT PLACES TO GO AND EAT, FROM A STREET SIDE MOVING CARTS NEAR CST, TO THE LAVISH CAFES AROUND BANDRA”padmaj narkar
Padmaj is an app developer now and is also pursuing his food blogging journey at the same time. He explains that he used to review restaurants after his office hours got over. However, regularly posting pictures posed as a challenge to him because of the lack of time as most of it was consumed in his office. But now, with the work from home job, due to the global pandemic, he has been cooking every day and posting pictures while sometimes taking a break. “Before the pandemic, I barely used to get any time to post, but now I post every day taking a break here and there because that’s the only way to reach more people,” he says. Let’s just say he is making the most out of this time.
“I ALWAYS HAD TO FACE SOME OR THE OTHER TYPE OF BODY SHAMING BECAUSE OF MY OVERWEIGHT BODY, IT’S NOT LIKE THE PEOPLE USED TO DO IT TO BE HURTFUL BUT JUST AS A COMMENT TO MAKE FUN OR AS A LIGHT-HEARTED HUMOUR”padmaj narkar
Padmaj, due to his plump figure, has received comments on his body structure although they weren’t anything serious, just said as light-hearted humour he explains. But he didn’t let these get to him and never let it affect him. “It never affected me as much because I do love myself the way I am,” he speaks. We need people like Padmaj more in our society who loves themselves as they are, no matter what shape or form their body is. However, he does keep in mind the health risks that come with overweight and knows he needs to be healthier. This is why he balances it with workouts and doesn’t stress himself with hard-core diets. He tried those earlier, but he couldn’t continue it for a long time. Although Padmaj explains that it’s not that he doesn’t like eating salads or boiled vegetables but continuing it for a long time is a strict NO.
It is also the reason why he named his food page as such. “I chose thebigfatfoodie. It is who I am. It’s not just a handle; it’s my identity!” he says.
“I DON’T KNOW IF THIS WOULD BE CALLED A RISE BUT, I GOT MY FIRST RESTAURANT INVITATION AT ONLY 700 FOLLOWERS, I WAS ECSTATIC”padmaj narkar
He has been reviewing restaurants for five years and so far, he has completed 115 Restaurant Reviews. Padmaj received his first restaurant invitation when he had 700 followers on his page. He is proof that you don’t need hundreds and thousands of followers for people to acknowledge you or to be an influencer. With that being said, he also tells us that Instagram is pretty unpredictable, and you never know beforehand which post of yours will get the maximum reach and engagement.
He explains that his second most viral post wasn’t something he has put his maximum efforts, whereas, on posts where he does have put a lot of thinking in arranging and clicking the picture, it has received normal engagement only. And his first viral post was of a crab tandoori. It all boils down to what your audiences love. He has observed that his followers love when he posts about street food. “I also post street food which is local, and I do search for some local street food,” he says. “Nothing can beat that “Mendu Wada” Drenched in coconut chutney and sambhar from that cycle wala Anna!”
“I HAVE CHANGED SO MUCH”padmaj narkar
Padmaj notes all the things he has learned and has changed accordingly about being a food blogger and influencer on Instagram. Previously, he used to post raw, unedited pictures on his feed, but now he is conscious of what type of posts he puts on his feed. “I used to post unedited pictures just like I had clicked them on my phone. Later I started enhancing the pictures which helped some colour corrections, light corrections,” says Padmaj adding that his quality of content has improved over the five years.
Using the right hashtags is another thing Padmaj has taken seriously now. “I used to use random hashtags, but now I use only relevant hashtags that help get to your targeted audience,” he reveals.
“I THINK IT HAS BEEN THE FASTEST WAY TO REACH TO THE DEMOGRAPHIC THAT IN THIS CURRENT AGE, AND THAT TOO, TO A SPECIFICALLY TARGETED FOLLOWER BASE”padmaj narkar
He perceives influencer marketing as an effective way for brands to market their products as it helps to target and reach the desired potential customer base. While talking about what brands look for in a content creator or an influencer, he says that it completely depends, as different brands seek different things. “Some brands want blind reposting of their readymade content; some are interested only in their promotion,” he explains. “Some have few guidelines, and some are really supportive and give freedom to make the content as I would like to.” Over his journey, Padmaj has worked with some food and drink brands, where he had to post about their food/drinks and promote their products.
“AS I SAID KEEP UPLOADING YOUR CONTENT, DON’T COMPARE WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S ACCOUNT EVER!”padmaj narkar
The most important piece of advice from Padmaj to all the upcoming influencers is being consistent. He says that there will be a time when your page will become stagnant as he has faced it himself but be consistent, explore different things, and find out what attracts your audiences. “All you have to is show up, be proud of your content it’s your baby!” he says.