Food for Thought: Advice from @Twotastebuddiez

Written by Mary Carolonzao

Whether you’re looking for the perfect brunch spot, curious about seasonal offerings, or looking for ideas to satisfy a late-night craving, Boston food account @twotastebuddiez has you covered! The account is run by friends Maddie Gatto, who goes to Boston College, and Rachel Eng, a fellow Northeastern husky. Gatto and Eng have enjoyed great success with the account, which recently celebrated 20K followers and has worked with popular food brands like Panera, Magnolia Bakery, and Playa Bowls. I had the opportunity to interview Rachel. Since she and Maddie have worked together for so long, she was glad to speak for both of them and represent the account. Having worked with Rachel on service committee for Alpha Phi Omega, I’ve always admired her work ethic and was thrilled to speak with her about what it takes to run such an artistic, successful account and the lessons she and Maddie have learned from it. 

 

Photos Courtesy of @twotastebuddiez

 

Why did you start the account? What was the initial inspiration, if any?

Maddie and I always liked going out to eat and taking pictures of food, so when we realized we were going to the same city for college we knew we would be able to continue going out to eat together. In Boston, we started taking pictures of food and sending them to each other and I would send her food Instagram accounts, which made me realize that she and I could do what these accounts were doing! In 2018, we decided to create an Instagram food account and from then on we’ve had success.


We see the aesthetically pleasing Instagram posts and creative captions, but what goes on behind the scenes?

We try to do work equally when we can, but we usually specialize. Maddie writes the captions, and I edit all the photos. I learned how to use Lightroom and Photoshop and used the VSCO app to find a filter for editing photos. Additionally, I taught myself how to use a camera with the money that I had earned through the account. The account makes money when we post about a place on our account, if a place wants to use our photos on their social media, and/or freelance work. 


You’re both very resilient and hard-working. What advice do you have for balancing a busy schedule, and how do you come back from failure? 

The calendar is my best friend! I use it to plan everything I do and put in due dates for homework and school events as well as business deadlines. Maddie and I have also gotten to the point where we know exactly how long something will take, like editing a photo or a specific photoshoot, which makes it easier to plan your schedule. We’ve learned to communicate well and have a plan, which makes running the account more efficient. We’re on the same page with the foods we want and make sure to get one “power shot” at every event. Our communication skills and confidence has also grown. I would say that it’s alright to face a setback because there’s always going to be a failure. Account for failure by having a plan in mind so if you know that something’s not working you can make adjustments to not make the same mistake again. 


What inspires your work and keeps you motivated? 

I’ve always loved taking photos of food, and one unique thing about Boston is that a lot of restaurants are owned by small businesses. Meeting restaurant owners and learning about their passion for food makes me want to represent them well. For example, we regularly partner with Kane’s Donuts with frequent posts where we display a box full of their seasonal flavors. It’s also exciting to experience different events and partnerships. For Boston Calling, we got to preview the food and cover the events as media, which is something I never thought I could do. The media passes we had allowed us to connect with several of the vendors at Boston Calling to previews some of their dishes for the festival and also go behind the scenes at their food stands. Some highlights were working with Southern-style barbeque restaurant and caterer Sweet Cheeks. We met Tiffani Faison, their owner and head chef, who was a runner-up finalist on the television show Top Chef! We also partner with companies to do informational sessions and talks. When we partner for talks, some frequent questions we receive relate to what is it like running a popular social media account, what are our favorite places to eat, where do we envision our account going, and trends in social media and the Boston food scene.


What is it like having a hobby become so successful?

Having a food Instagram is something I’m passionate about, but it’s very different than my major, which is Health Sciences. For me, this account will always be something that’s fun and relaxing. My advice for students balancing their hobbies with school is that you should pursue your passion but not let it overtake you!


Once you graduate, where do you see the account heading? 

We would love to hit 30K before we graduate and would also like to do more brand partnerships. It’s also very important to us that as we grow we stay true to our original content and keep our followers in mind! 


When you go to a new restaurant, do you have a favorite food you always try? 

I always try to order avocado toast if a restaurant has it on the menu. I know it’s basic, but every restaurant does it differently and you can really tell when a restaurant knows the best way to elevate avocado toast, which is traditionally a very simple dish. For brunch I almost always order pancakes—you literally cannot go wrong with them!


It was inspiring to learn how Rachel pursed her hobby with such passion and success, qualities that are evident in every @twotastebuddiez post. The account’s feed caters posts for every foodie: a sugar-rush of sweets, healthy options beyond the salad bar, and enough comfort food to get you through the Boston winter! It’s also conscious of the college student budget by offering frequent giveaways. Visit @twotastebuddiez to discover what 20K followers already know: this account is the best in Boston!

The Avenue Magazine