Anders Husa (@anderhusa) and Kaitlin Orr (@carnivorr) are Scandinavia’s most influential restaurant bloggers with an audience of over 300,000 people on Instagram, YouTube, and their website. Both Husa and Orr are global jurors for the 360° Eat Guide, which promotes sustainability in the food industry, and official TasteHunters (digital ambassadors) for The World’s 50 Best. They are also behind the food community The Hungries. In this episode, we talk about how Husa and Orr got into blogging, their process for reviewing restaurants, what makes for a memorable dining experience, and the impact of COVID-19.
- 9:00 How Kaitlin and Anders met
- 15:20 Criteria and process for recommending restaurants
- 30:00 The impact of COVID-19
- 41:30 Strengths and weaknesses of the Nordic food scene
- 49:00 The power of food communities
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech Podcast Host 1:44
So, I would love to just start with some backstory and have each of you tell the story of how you got into food blogging, and kind of made your way into this industry.
Anders Husa 1:56
The short version, I started blogging almost 10 years ago, I guess. It came from a passion for food and cooking at home. I started with a cook at home recipe blog. Going from being a student to having a job, I had the money to go out and started exploring the city of Oslo, which I lived in back then. And I thought it was super interesting. Ten years ago, there weren’t that many people writing about food apart from the traditional media. So, I guess that helped me get some attention around my blog back then. And then about five years ago, I was at a point where I was spending all my time, all my money, all my weekends, holidays, everything on either traveling or going to restaurants. So, I figured, okay, I have to do something about this because it’s taking up all my free time. So, I decided to try to pursue it as a job. And I mean, it worked out.
Kaitlin Orr 3:08
For me, I’ve always loved food. My family loves eating. And since I was little, I would joke with my mom that she was asking, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” And I said, “I wish I could just eat for a living,” which I didn’t think was possible. And especially in the US, the only food critics were like old, white men at that time. So, I was not thinking that that was going to be any part of my career. And I went to New York for school and I was actually studying psychology, so nothing related to food at all. But living in New York was just like an eye opener to how many amazing restaurants there are. And the diversity of food. You have Chinatown and you have all these things that I was exposed to for the first time. So again, I didn’t have money from a job like Anders. But it was the same, like a hobby, like a passion to go out and eat during my free time as a student. Having a blog made it like a job for me. It was an excuse. “Okay, I can go spend my money on this meal instead of eating at the cafeteria.” And it was just fun for me. I started an Instagram first, just documenting what I was eating. Which at the time was like cronuts and rainbow bagels. Nothing elevated at all. But quickly, I began to learn a lot more about food and about chefs and started reading cookbooks, memoirs, and watching more food TV. Chef’s Table came out and it just kind of all happened at the same time. And then I started traveling internationally, wanting to go to more talked about restaurants around the world. And yeah, that’s how it all started.
Anders Husa 4:49
I guess I should also add that a large part of why I started writing about restaurants was because whenever I was traveling, just like for a holiday, I would be so annoyed at the bad food I would find. It was so hard to find good food, like right there on the spot. All you had was maybe Tripadvisor, which I never thought was a great service. And I just started doing a lot of research in advance before every trip, and because of that, I accumulated a lot of knowledge and eventually got a network of people I could ask where to eat. And so, it just came from a need and a want to share that with people and guide them to better food experiences around the world.
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech Podcast Host 5:36
So, for both of you, it grew out of passion. Is there a tipping point you remember where it went from being what you were doing on the side to really being what it is today?