Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Blogging with Jessica in the Kitchen

Published:Thursday | April 19, 2018 | 12:24 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

There is something about food that pulls us together; it has a language of its own. It is that magnetic force paired with the ability to prepare and share recipes which influenced Jessica Hylton-Leckie to create Jessica in the Kitchen.

“I love the ability of food to connect people and bring them together. Food has long been a very powerful means over history - it’s been used to demonstrate health, love, money and even politics. It has the ability to make people abundantly happy, too. I love that when a reader makes my recipe and loves it, I’m actually positively influencing their day and their life,” she tells Food. 

Industry players are taking note, as she has received awards for her vegetarian and vegan recipes website. As recent as January, Hylton-Leckie won the Best Original Photography Award at Shiftcon’s Awards Ceremony in California, USA. She was the only Jamaican nominee throughout the categories, not to mention one of the only non-American resident finalists at the entire conference, as well as one of the youngest. 

She started blogging to showcase how easy it was for individuals to create tasty vegan dishes, previously owning a Jessiker Bakes which did well in Jamaica. 

“I created my current business, Jessica in the Kitchen, and began to share my creations to show people how easy vegetarian cooking can be and that it can be sustainable and delicious. Now that I’m vegan, I drive this message home on my website even more. It’s amazing to see that I’ve been able to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of readers just because I decided to share my passion openly and honestly with them,” she admitted.

Blogging has also fuelled and helped with her own creativity. Having to create 12 meals per month for her blog has facilitated an intimate relationship between Hylton-Leckie and her kitchen. The kitchen is a partner that she is closely involved with.

More experimentation

Understanding its moods, no longer having to test the temperature and weigh her options, the familiarity has created a more fluid movement with her in the kitchen which even allows for more experimentation with flavours and spices. 

Admittedly, there is not one dish that she can pinpoint as her favourite to prepare since being in the kitchen is an experience of itself. 

“The act of cooking brings me joy - whether that’s oatmeal for breakfast, a burger for lunch or saucy cauliflower wings for dinner, or a new blog post. I do love trying new things because I love challenging myself,” she notes.  But if she had to pick what makes her salivate, it would be a split between Indian cuisine and a hearty veggie burger. 

Tips for food bloggers

Jessica Hylton-Leckie has made Jessica in the Kitchen her full-time career and is most proud of it. She offers three main tips for individuals like her who have an absolute passion for food and would like to make it in business through blogging. 

1. Blogger/influencer/entrepreneur, don’t expect anyone to do the hard work for you. One of the hardest realisation is that there is not a magic list that will guarantee your success. There isn’t one or even 10 specific things that worked for me or someone else that will definitely work for you since we’re all on our own path. It is a lot of hard work filled with lots of sacrifices. It’ll also probably take a few years before you get any recognition. If you can see the big picture at the end, it will be worth it. 

2. My second tip would tie into the first one, which is to be consistent. Consistency and grit are, to me, some of the most important driving forces behind a successful brand. It’s pushing through and digging deep even when you don’t want to. It is sticking to a schedule and following through on it. That’s what will get you there! 

3. My third tip is to get some blogging friends. Not just to promote your brand or to hopefully give you some blogging secrets, but instead, to develop a community, since this entrepreneur life can get lonely. Find friends who you’re not always explaining/justifying your online business to, but instead ones who get it, so that you can all grow together! This is something that helped me so much! I have a lot of blogging friends who I love attending blogging conferences with. Knowing that you’re not doing it alone can really help in those lonely or really frustrating moments. That way you can naturally learn from each other, and naturally, help each other’s businesses to grow.

For all Jessica Hylton-Leckie's posts and food, journeys read