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Meet the Maker: Ryan Connell

The season for a lot of celebrating isn’t over yet. If you still have plans to go to a (safe) gathering, what do you look forward to the most? For some, it’s getting to hang out with loved ones. For others, it’s the music and the general feeling of a party. The exchange of presents is another highlight. 

But for most, if not all, they come for the food.




Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash



Food leaves an impression on us, whether they’re our focus or not. When we enjoy a meal, we want to have it again, or return to the place where we enjoyed it. When the food is bad, we can’t stop complaining about it. Seldom do we give a bad food experience another chance. 

Ryan Connell values food experiences, and not just great meals! He believes in combining eating with memorable experiences.

“I love this concept of ‘experiences’ versus just focusing on the food itself,” he explains. “For example, ‘Get take out from this restaurant, and walk 2 blocks and sit on this bench where you get an ocean view.’ The pairing of food and location, or unique food combinations always intrigued me. That's what I like sharing with my audience.”

Like many food lovers, Ryan’s affection for food started at home. “I grew up cooking with my family, watching my mom create affordable, healthy meals. I always loved eating!” 

But his passion for food that goes beyond taste began a little bit later in life. “My true love of food started when I worked at a high end restaurant while in college. I'm not a trained chef. I actually spent most of my working career in the front of the house. I just love eating and creating food experiences.”




Gooey goodness!

The pairing of food and location, or unique food combinations always intrigued me. That's what I like sharing with my audience.

 

And Ryan creates quite the visual experience for anyone who has ever scrolled through his Instagram account. His love for food is clear: he posts just about anything from desserts to pasta to seafood and full-on meat feasts! It’s enough to get the belly rumbling.


As diverse as his choices are, Ryan does still have a favorite. There’s a particular kind of edible joy that always gives him comfort. “For me, handhelds are what really gets my belly rumbling. Sandwiches, tacos, wings.” But he’s not averse to getting his hands close to where it’s hot. “A very close second is grilling. I love being outside and enjoying the basics of cooking with fire.”





Grabbing a bite!

Instagram food posts are so popular because they resonate with so many. People love food, and not just for necessity or taste, but for the look of it. The sight of something delicious stimulates emotional and physical reactions in us. Ryan, who loves to post his experiences on Instagram, readily admits to “spending time trying to show off what I eat,” but not to brag. His reason is quite generous.

“I don't believe it's superior to anyone else's cooking, I just look at photos of food and say, ‘OMG I need that!’ It brings me joy, and I want to give that to others.”

It’s clear how much he enjoys what he does; he even has little trouble staying motivated. “It's a passion, so wanting to cook and wanting to eat, is never a problem,” he says with a laugh. “My Instagram followers absolutely keep me going and the constant love and support is such a warming network of friends.”

Maintaining his Instagram presence means Ryan is well aware of food trends, and he gets to make his own special spin on those too. “I love mixing humor with my food habits. When it comes to Instagram trends, I try to take funny videos or audio and make them related to food or something I think my audience will enjoy.

 

It brings me joy, and I want to give that to others.

 

“With food specifically, I tell everyone I'll try anything once no matter what it is!” This is a claim that he wants to back up one day with a unique “try” that sounds like loads of fun! “A local restaurant created a hot dog with an octopus tentacle and I cannot wait to try it!”

Ryan’s joy in his passion might stem from his mindset. When asked what important life lesson he has learned from pursuing his passion, he offers this as an answer, “Don’t give up! Infinite mindset allows you to realize that there is ahead and behind and you're not trying to ‘win’, you're just trying to keep the perpetual ball moving forward. Never give up.”

That’s a great attitude to have when one’s passion is something that keeps evolving over time. You can find Ryan Connell on Instagram at @bigrys_kitchen.