City Countdown Food Columnist Juti K is a woman with her finger in many pies (as well as cakes, puddings, soufflés etc). Not only is Juti a successful food critic, Instagram influencer and marketing guru, but the lady recently found time to become a presenter too – with a brilliant You Tube food channel called Wear.Juti.Eats.
Underpinning everything Ms Konguanruan does however, is an all encompassing love of good food. The restaurant mad Londoner lives to eat, frequently visiting as many as ten restaurants in a typical week. That most of these meals are invites, underlines just how keen local eateries are to have the lovely Juti pay a visit.
In the last six months alone Juti has completed campaigns for Wagamamas, Popchips, Kelloggs and many more.
Juti, how do you fit it all in? (and we don’t mean food)
It’s definitely been a learning experience, I’ve never worked freelance before and having to be self-motivated and fund my own visits takes a lot of time and commitment. I find making a schedule for the week ahead gives me more structure however, and it makes it easier to tick things off my to-do list.
How did you get started as a Food Blogger?
I actually started with a good friend. Sadly, due to her work commitments, she was unable to continue. This meant I had to carry on by myself which was hard. However it did me give the opportunity to stamp my personality on the site. It also enabled me to share my other passions (although food is still my main love, nat) which means that the website is now food AND lifestyle focused.
What are your earliest food memories?
When I go back to Thailand, there are foods that I just have to have. Things like Khao Man Gai, which I actually found out originated from a Chinese meal called “Hainanese Chicken”. It’s a steamed chicken dish served with chilli soy sauce, and it reminds me of being little and visiting Thailand.
What restaurants should Londoners be visiting in the coming months?
It depends on your budget but there are definitely some great options. I love Blixen in East London, Bob Bob Richard, if you have a bit of cash to splash, and Dalloway Terrace, for the beautiful setting and food. Then, there’s dim sum at Young Cheng in Chinatown, and great vegan food from Genesis in Shoreditch.
Do you have a favourite type of food?
It’s got to be Thai! It’s not because my parents have a Thai restaurant or that my Dad’s cooking is amazing (although that obviously helps), I just find that Thai food has so much variety and flavour – it’s never boring. I`m absolutely obsessed with tamarind sauce too!
If someone asked for recommendations for a complete day of dining out in London, what would you recommend?
Breakfast at Dishoom, brunch at Catalyst Cafe – it’s amazing, but always busy, lunch at Pachamama East – for beautiful Peruvian food – and dinner at Galley in Islington. They have super-fresh seafood and I’m super surprised that more people haven’t heard of it.
Your images always look incredible? Who’s responsible for the photos?
Thank you so much! I edit my images on Lightroom to ensure consistency, filterwise, across the photos. I’ve learnt over time what works for my feed, and I know my angles a bit better now. Plus, I get a tonne of inspiration from Instagram. When it comes to actually taking the photos, I generally go to bookings with a plus one. It’s their job to set up the shot and physically click the button for me!
You’ve recently branched out to You Tube. Did you find it daunting to go from posing for still photos to appearing in full length videos?
Definitely. It’s a lot of work. I’ve only just started but I’m enjoying it a lot. I was comfortable talking to the camera for my Instagram stories but it’s definitely a step up to present something from start to finish. However, as with everything else, you need to put the effort in to see results – so I’m just sticking to it for now!
Wear.Juti.Eats (the You Tube series) is amazing. What has been the reaction to your videos?
I’ve had some super positive feedback and some constructive feedback and I appreciate both a great deal. With any new platform,it’s really all about learning and acting on feedback, so that’s what I’m doing and hopefully the series will grow in time.
I know from talking to you that you are very interested in fashion too. Do you have a personal style and where do you like to shop?
I’d say that my style changes all the time, I used to only really wear black but now I’m super into colours and prints. At the moment I am really big on over sized blazers and satin midi skirts (either together or separately). They are super easy to style and you don’t have to spend loads of money to find something nice.
City Countdown are obviously counting down to the next edition of your You Tube series – Where Juti Eats – but what are you counting down to?
Holidays of course! I’m lucky enough to be going to some new places this year. I’ve got Porto lined up and also my first ever press stay (Malta). It’s a super exciting summer and I’ll be sure to take you all with me – albeit digitally. I don’t think I can fit you all in my suitcase, sadly!
There has been a lot of discussion in the press recently about the pressures associated with being a social media influencer. What has been your personal experience?
People still don’t understand how much work goes into it. I can’t remember who said it, but our role is to bascially spend loads of time making it look like we do nothing at all. That’s where the confusion lies. Having said that, I’m proud to be doing what I’m doing because the industry is predominantly female and I think that’s amazing.
Being a social media influencer has also helped me in terms of confidence and social skills. Not that these skills were lacking before, but having to go to events and meet new people by myself has really helped me. I’ved learnt how to hold my own when having conversations regardless of the company.
Blogging has opened so many doors that I could never have imagined when I started nearly two years ago and I’m forever grateful for that. Being able to work with the brands I have, has unlocked new employment opportunities for me.
It’s important to consume social media in moderation, however. If you find that you are beginning to compare yourself to others and you are not using the platform to spark creativity, then you should try to limit the amount of time you spend on the platforms.
Where do you see Juti K in ten years time?
Ten years is such a long time! I’ll be 35 by then, so I would like to think that I’d be settled family wise. When it comes to my career however, I’m hoping that I will be travelling the world to share the best places to eat all over the globe. I have always had a keen interest in events and marketing, so maybe I’ll have a role within the industry while I’m based in London. However, I’d really like to use my site to build some great connections and grow to a level of influence on a more global scale. I strongly believe in giving back too, so if my blog were successful I would definitely like to use my success to help allieviate homelessness within the city.
For more information on Juti K, please click here.
For information on food related events in London and great places to eat, please click here.