Elaine Khodzhayan: Food Enthusiast and Instagrammer (@andachocolatedrizzle)

Year: Sophomore

Major/Minors: Finance/Statistics

Hometown: Erie, PA

 

Her Campus: Tell us a little about yourself! What are you involved in on Pitt’s campus?

Elaine Khodzhayan: Sure thing! I’m a writer for Her Campus, which I’ve been involved with since the start of Freshman year. I also work for Apple as the Pitt Campus Rep, and I’m just now starting my first semester as an official Pitt Pathfinder. 

HC: What made you decide to start a food Instagram?

EK: I think the bombardment of food photos on my personal Instagram was starting to make it look more and more like a food Instagram, so I thought making it would be a great way to document my baking endeavors. I really love food photography, too, so being able to see the changes and growth of my photos through time is really fun.

HC: How long has your account been active for? How did you go about gaining a large base of followers?

EK: I created it towards the end of August of 2015, near the start of the school year, but I definitely took a bit of a break when classes started and got far more routine about it at the end of October. The follower base amazes me every day – I never anticipated having so many people eager to see the things I make, but I love interacting with people on Instagram and having that shared love for food to bond over. I tag my photos with descriptions and other food accounts and sometimes the picture will get reposted on someone else’s and be spread around the foodie community, so I think gaining followers can largely be attributed to that.

 

HC: Do you make all of the food featured on your Instagram yourself?

EK: I do! I make everything I post, and thankfully I have incredible friends who take on the burden of taste testing and taking the food off my hands. My roommate (who happens to be my cousin) will jokingly yell at me about ‘breaking her diet’ all the time, but she hasn’t kicked me out yet, so I think I’m okay for now. I would gladly swap time I spend sleeping or watching TV to bake instead – it’s really relaxing for me. Baking is my way of unwinding and taking a break from school and work and everything going on. 

HC: How do you hope to see your follower base grow? Any plans for a website, blog, etc.?

EK: I would love to have a website! I’ve been toying with the idea because I get lots of questions about the recipes for my posts, so I think that’d be a great way to collect my recipes and keep them all together to look back on later on. I appreciate each of my followers so much, I never imagined it growing as much as it has. This little project began as a way to keep record of what I was baking, but it makes me so happy that there are other people that enjoy looking at my photos besides my mom who is always first to like and comment on every picture. (Thanks, mom!) 

HC: What advice do you have for others interested in starting a food account?

EK: As my hero Julia Child said, “You must have the courage of your convictions.” If you even have a teensy thought about wanting to do it, go for it. There’s so much talent that is shared through social media, and there’s just something wonderful about being able to see it through photos. And not just for food, for anything. I think the most important thing is to not compare yourself to other Instagrammers or try to be like someone else - if you stay true to your style, taste, and ideas, I really think that other people will take note and appreciate your work.

HC: If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

EK: Oh my, the impossible question. If I had to pick just one, I’d have to say doughnuts. I do-nut know what I would do without them. I’ve been on several doughnut crawls where I try them out from different places across town and compare to see which is my favorite. It’s really a great diet, I’d recommend it to everyone. 

 

HC: What would you like to do after graduation?

EK: I would really like to have my own business one day. I grew up in the restaurant world because my parents own restaurants in and around Erie, so I’ve really grown to love everything that goes into running your own business. The ultimate goal is to be able to combine all the things I love into one profession - business, writing, working with people, and of course, food.

HC: What are some things you like to do in your free time (besides make yummy treats)?

EK: My favorite thing to do is spend time with people. Back home, I love hanging out with my family, and at school, I try to spend as much time as I can with my friends. My friends are the most loving supporters of all that I do, including having this account, so some nights are spent hanging around my apartment eating, laughing, and baking together. I also love reading, exploring new places, and I especially love trying out new restaurants. I’m trying to start a new habit of grabbing a book and going to a new restaurant every week or so instead of waiting for a special event or the weekend to do so. It’s also highly likely that at any given moment I’m watching, referring to, or quoting the show Friends, it’s hands down my favorite thing to watch. 

HC: What’s a fun fact about yourself?

EK: English is my third language! My parents came to the United States from Armenia right before I was born, and I didn’t really start speaking English until I started school. I used to watch the Food Network religiously, too, and I’d write down the recipes from the shows in a binder that I called ‘Elaine’s Cookbook.’ It’s hilarious to look back on now because everything would be misspelled and some information would be incorrect, but I think that doing this definitely helped me open up to learning English. Even if the things I understood the most were in a culinary context, it was certainly a start!

 

Food Instagram: @andachocolatedrizzle

Personal Instagram: @elainekhodzhayan

Twitter: @elainekhodz

 

Photo Credit: Images provided by Elaine