As part of an ongoing series, we will be interviewing the culinary creatives behind some of our favorite blogs. Dedicated to making delicious and nutritious recipes for healthy living, these recipe masterminds will dish on what makes their blogs and recipes unique, what inspires them, their favorite tips and tricks in the kitchen and more!
Helping us kick off the series is Ashley McLaughlin from Edible Perspective. As an aspiring architect turned recipe developer and food photographer, Ashley spoke to us about her background, favorite recipes and some other great tips!
Q: You have an interesting background transitioning from architect to cookbook author, food photographer, recipe developer and more. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey and how you ended up where you are now?
I graduated from grad school and was working in Charlotte, North Carolina, at an architecture firm when my husband and I decided we wanted to move to Colorado. We had family offer us a place to stay, so we ended up making the trek. I started the blog to document our journey – it began as a reflection of where we were in our lives at that point. I began cooking more and more, and we started eating healthier and paying more attention to ingredients, which is how the blog began to evolve.
As for my food photography, I basically picked up my husband’s camera and taught myself. I was really interested in it and thought it would be something that could keep me busy. I never ended up finding full-time architect work, so I expanded Edible Perspective from there.
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite foods or dishes to photograph?
Soups, sauces and many ethnic dishes are very difficult to photograph because of color and consistency. My favorite recipes to shoot are dessert because they allow for more fun and creativity. In my recent cookbook, Baked Doughnuts for Everyone, it was quite the challenge to photograph so many doughnuts while keeping the photos unique. I relied on a lot of fun toppings to help!
- Try to use natural light when you can by taking photos near a window.
- Keep your photos simple by eliminating any distracting elements, especially on Instagram. I love photos with a minimalist look. They give off a more powerful feel and are very catchy when scrolling through your feed.
Q: What is your process and how long does it usually take when it comes to creating recipes and taking great photos of them?
The process is very fluid and progresses from jotting down notes and approximate ingredient amounts, to a mixture of photographing and cooking, then plating the final dish and taking the last few photos. After that I upload and edit the photos and then start drafting my post. I would say that each recipe/blog post takes about 8 hours from start to finish.
Q: Your cookbook “Baked Doughnuts for Everyone” includes 101 delicious recipes that are all gluten-free. What made you decide to focus on gluten-free recipes?
After about 10 years of digestive problems (but not celiac), I experimented with a gluten-free diet to see if it would have any impact. After just a few weeks I felt so much relief and haven’t looked back since! Eating gluten-free is what works best for my body.
The idea for my cookbook came when my publisher approached me to write and photograph a gluten-free baking cookbook featuring doughnuts. I already had numerous recipes for baked doughnuts on the blog and the trend had just started taking off, so the timing worked out really well!
Q: When did you become a fan of Ancient Harvest, and what makes the company’s products a good fit for some of your recipes?
I started using Ancient Harvest pastas and quinoa flakes a couple of years ago for dinners and breakfast cereals and love them from the start. Ancient Harvest products fall in line with my food philosophies, which include minimal, non-GMO ingredient lists that are nutrient dense and also taste fantastic. I always mention to blog readers that Ancient Harvest is my favorite gluten-free pasta and it will even appeal to those who aren’t on a gluten-free diet.
Q: What are your favorite summertime fruits and veggies? How will you use them in your kitchen this season?
Summer produce is just the best. We are constantly eating greens and huge salads all summer long and the fruit consumption is off the charts. I can pretty much eat an entire cantaloupe in one sitting. We grill nonstop in the summer months and throw on every type of vegetable you can think of, even romaine lettuce!
Q: What is one of your go-to, easy-to-make meals for weekdays?
My husband and I really like my recipe for veggie lemon pasta. We change it up depending on what fresh produce we can get, but basically, it’s a simple lemon, olive oil and garlic sauce mixed with pasta – Ancient Harvest pasta works really well. We throw in tomatoes, peas, kale, spinach, lentils and whatever else we can to load it up. It’s perfect when served warm for dinner, but it’s also awesome cold out of the fridge for lunches the next day.
About Edible Perspective:
Ashley McLaughlin created Edible Perspective as a way to document the journey of her and her husband’s lives. From moving across the country to living a healthier and gluten-free lifestyle, Ashley has transformed from being an aspiring architect to finding her true passion becoming a cookbook author, blogger, freelance food photographer and recipe developer. She offers plenty of delicious homemade and healthy gluten-free recipes to enjoy.