You never know where a bite of food will take you–what the presentation, seasonings and texture will do to your senses and perspective.
The right bite of food can change your life, even if only for the time it takes to fully savor and devour it. Who doesn’t enjoy good food? Especially when you don’t have to cook it and it’s served to you. It’s reasons such as this, that the National Restaurant Association recently reported that eight in 10 consumers say dining out with family and friends is a better use of their leisure time than cooking and cleaning up.
We enjoy food so much, we found a way to make an experience of it on a large scale: food establishments (brick and mortar, mobile or otherwise).
This year alone, the National Restaurant Association’s projects sales totaling $709.2 billion. Rather unsurprising since they also found that half of consumers identify restaurants as an essential part of their lifestyle.
For the Philadelphians responsible for starting a growing foodie movement, their love for food gave way to a chase. Every bite sends them “chasing” another delectable experience.
They’re known as the FoodChasers and they operate anonymously.
I first encountered them on Instagram. My own food pic chase had led me to their profile (@FoodChasers). I haven’t been able to stay away from it since. In fact, it led my chase even further…to their website…and then their email inbox…and now, an interview. Through their social media presence, I came to realize that they capture something much more than a chase; they capture the thrill of life and the pursuit to obtain that which fulfills us. Nourishment in any form.
So yes, you never know where a bite of food will take you, or in my case, a quality picture of delicious-looking food.
Say hello to the #FoodChasers. Be sure to keep your shoes near by. By the end of this you may find yourself ready to embark on a chase of your own.
Sincerely Syreeta: When was FoodChasers officially introduced to the world?
FoodChasers: We officially started our FoodChasers social media accounts 2 ½ years ago and our website was introduced last year.
SS: How did you all come up with the name?
FC: One day we were at a radio station with our friend, Quincy and we were just throwing out names and decided we want the word “food” in our name then said, “We chase down good food.” The rest is history.
SS: What is the official definition of a FoodChaser?
FC: Anyone and everyone that chases down good food regardless of its locations.
SS: I’m a FoodChaser. Got it [laughs]! Now, you all “chase” anonymously. What was your reasoning for “chasing” in that manner?
FC: We just want to keep it all about food. We are a “no selfie zone.” Our goal is to share good food not to become famous. Also, we want to be treated like our Chasers. If owners know who we are we might get special treatment and we want the same service as our Chasers. We want our recommendations to be fair.
SS: That’s very sound reasoning and decision making on your end. So, you all are from Philadelphia. How has Philly shaped the way you chase and feel about food?
FC: Philadelphia has countless restaurants so it enables us to find an array of food and encourage us to find more. If we lived in a small town surrounded by fast food places it would have been tough.
SS: It definitely would have been tough…and far more expensive I bet! What are your thoughts on the evolution of the foodie scene in the city?
FC: We are absolutely in “food heaven.” Philadelphia has definitely become a food city. Chefs are taking so many chances. C’mon, a hummus restaurant just opened (Dizengoff). Also, there’s so many entrepreneurs in the city. We constantly are asked to chase down stores with young owners using their own recipes or family recipes. There are so many young people starting their own home baking businesses. We are just enjoying the chase .
SS: Me too! The fatkid in me rejoices daily [laughs]! For me, eating is nearly sacred–a time to really savor the taste of life and
the fulfillment it brings you. When is the first time that you all can recall appreciating—really savoring—a food dish?
FC: We were in San Francisco about 17 years ago. We enjoyed great Dungeness crabs and ate sushi for the first time. We actually took pictures then with our throw away camera [laughs]. We remember the guy at the table said, “go ahead and take the picture first,” before we ate. True story.
SS: Oh, so you all have been about this foodie pic life. What is it about food that fuels you to “love the chase”?
FC: We love exposing great food. It’s also an inner competition: when we eat a good pizza we get determined to find a better one [laughs]. We realize so many people get stuck in a mode where they eat the same thing from the same place, and we refuse to get stuck in that mode. The world is too big to eat the same thing over and over.
SS: I’ve definitely found myself in a “foodie rut”. The habit is so hard to balance! Given your “o.g. status” to the foodie pic life [laughs], how did social media change the way that you pursued and built your vision of “chasing”?
FC: It has built our brand. Honestly, we were just two people wanting to share good places to eat. However, because of social media we have built a brand. A woman emailed us from Singapore and asked for a chase list when she visited Philadelphia and she actually chased down our suggestions. We were able to connect through social media with the restaurant editor of Food and Wine magazine and we actually had dinner with her. There’s no way this all happens without social media.
Click here to check out the FoodChasers on Instagram.
SS: The power of the digital world! What is one of the most memorable chases that you all have had and why?
FC: We took a road trip to chase down good food. We drove as north as Chicago and down to North Carolina. That was a good idea and bad [laughs]. We rented a coupe, [and] after a while the space became very small and we began to argue about the smallest things [laughs].
Besides, our feet and knees begun to hurt. The good part is [that] we found some memorable food: the Hot Brown in Kentucky and burgers and fries fro DMK Burgers in Chicago. This was 7 years ago, and we would text our friends food pictures from every stop along the way.
SS: I would have loved to be you all’s friend back then. My goodness [laughs]. As of now, is FoodChasing simply a hobby or has it evolved into a brand or business with a revenue model?
FC: It started as a hobby, then became a brand, now becoming a business.
SS: Way to put in work! You all travel all across the country on a chase, which may leave some to wonder: do you actually have 9-5’s or is chasing your life right now?
FC: Yes, we actually work.
SS: Hmm…so then, what has the journey of chasing taught you or revealed about yourselves?
FC: We actually like meeting people and talking about food. It has taught us to focus on others and not ourselves.
SS: Are there any interesting habits or preferences that you have when it comes to cooking, eating and/or dining?
FC: When it comes to chasing we prefer the daylight and bright restaurants. Ha, dark restaurants drive us crazy [laughs]. The best food pictures are taken with the best light, sunlight. If we could start a petition it would be for restaurants to brighten up [laughs]. We hate when it gets dark outside early for four months. (#ChaserProblems)
SS: How do you all stay in shape with all of the chasing and eating that you do?
FC: We actually workout. We sweat a lot. Also, we have learned to pace ourselves. We taste it all, but actually eating every crumb, oh no! We love eating with large groups because that way we can taste a little of everything. Also, doggie bags are our friends. We give our leftovers to family, friends and homeless people when we are in other cities. We don’t believe in waste!
SS: This year calls for the expansion of our palettes (says me). What are your top three restaurants in Philadelphia that you would recommend for this?
FC: This is a tough question. Everyone always wants a Top List [laughs]. We chase food more so then certain places; we can find a helluva sandwich at a corner store. As far as restaurateurs, we love any and everything by Michael Solomonov. Other good restaurants are Amis, Barbuzo, Rex1516, In Riva, and Blue Cat. As far as consistently good food always chase down Cucina Zapata Food Truck. Sketch and Good Stuff Eatery has great burgers. Thai Kuu and Umami Umami (Dresher, Pa) are our hidden gems. See, told you we could not simply name three, lol.
SS: Is there a membership or subscription opportunity for others to officially join the FoodChaser community?
FC: Ha, there’s so much going on with building our brand. We are working on building a membership. We consider everyone that finds good food and share it with our community, #foodchasers. We love when people chase down our recommendations and tag us to share their reviews. We truly want to build a food community that recognizes great cooks, bakers, and chefs.
Want to stay in touch with the FoodChasers? Visit the website: www.FoodChasers.com
SS: What is the most challenging part of building FoodChasers? And the most rewarding?
FC: There is no challenge because this is something that is happening organically. It’s not forced it’s just growing and that’s the most rewarding part!
SS: In regards to turning ones passion into a gift/resource for the world, what advice would you offer?
FC: Stick to your goal of what you want your brand to be. So many people tell us what to post and say but we know our focus. We focus on positive reviews. We never post any negative reviews. If we chase down a place and we do not like the experience we simply won’t post it. If you post a negative comment on our page, we will delete it. We just believe that these owners work too hard for us to write negative reviews. So we stand on that as our foundation.
SS: That’s very noble of you. So, are there any upcoming projects, events or chases that we should keep an eye out for? Any final thoughts?
FC: The chase always continues. We are just thankful of our following. So many people have followed the chase. A storeowner wrote and told us that post led to him gaining 300 new customers and his sales were up 90% compared to last year at the same time. That was truly humbling. So, again thank you to everyone that trusts our reviews. We are so grateful.
SS: Your passion is changing lives–and appetites–for the better. Thank YOU! Lastly, what’s your key to “Sincerely Lovin’” life?
FC: We truly believe, “if you have it, give it.” We give away so much food just because we can. We also encourage people to be positive, that’s why we believe in only saying positive comments. Lastly, chase not just good food but everything, chase your dreams too!
– Sincerely Syreeta