Utsa Madan describes herself as a ‘typical Delhite.’ She was born here, raised here, and now she captures the myriad cuisines of Delhi on her camera. Utsa Madan manages a food account on social media: @yumyumeateries. She also has a YouTube Channel.
Utsa Madan talks about the spectacle that befalls the life of a food blogger, particularly a female food blogger in Delhi. “In Delhi, if a girl with a camera is making a video…everybody in the market forms a crowd behind, and they start whispering. And I was like, oh, they’re talking about me… Awkward and weird, yes, and yet strangely, it has a food blog that instilled confidence in me. That was really awkward and weird.”
Any social media manager knows this is not an easy task. Yet she somehow seamlessly fits all her interests into her daily schedule. What drives the young blogger, and how does she sustain her creativity behind the camera? IcyTales had a chat with Utsa Madan about her work behind the scenes.
Q. Could you tell us something about yourself – your childhood, where you come from, and where you grew up?
Utsa Madan: I’m a typical Delhite. I was born and brought up in Delhi and did my schooling in Delhi. And then University from Delhi as well. In my childhood, I was a shy person. My parents used to know that she was a Chota packet bada dhamaka. But in front of others, I was an introvert. I was shy. But in university, I was like, no, I have to come back with something. That’s not how things work. You can’t remain an introvert and achieve something.
I was never a camera-shy person. I decided that if I needed to do something with a camera, I needed to be extroverted, and that’s how the camera would represent my personality.
Q. With @yumyumeateries, you now get to explore a diverse range of cuisines. How has your relationship with food changed after you opened the page?
Utsa Madan: Before becoming a blogger, I went to a typical restaurant where my family and I had been going for several years. And we used to order the same dish we had been ordering forever.
Now that I’m a blogger, I keep saying let’s try this, and let’s try that. Why get stuck on one thing? I go on trying Korean cuisine trying Japanese cuisine. Because I feel like if somebody from my audience opens my Instagram feed, they shouldn’t see everything I like, they should get a variety of stuff. (They should think) Ye Bhi market me hai. We can eat this, and this is what’s good.
I try things for my audience – they should get a brief about it. Also, I go to try different street foods. Earlier, if you’d ask me, I’d go to try the street food of only my area or locality. But now I go to different cities, so people get to know me – “okay, yaha pe ye milta hai.” (you get this food item here) Because they need to find a variety (of cuisines) on my feed, that’s how it (relationship with food) has changed after becoming a blogger.
Earlier I was stuck on one thing, but now I try more for my audience, so they get variety and good suggestions.
Q. Can you tell us how you amassed such massive and successful Instagram followers?
Utsa Madan: Firstly, I don’t consider myself successful yet. If I consider myself successful, I will stop doing hard work because I will have a benchmark – I have achieved it and am successful enough. Every day I am learning new things. I feel there’s a lot to learn.
When I started the page in the last year of my university, I was pursuing B.Tech. So in the last year, we’re supposed to prepare for our placements. Ghar baithe baithe bore ho rahe the (I was bored sitting at home) And how much time can you give to your studies? I needed some entertainment. So that was when I began my page.
I also started (posting) recipes because I felt that putting a picture of the food was not enough. I consider myself an audience. I also consider myself a viewer of my page. I used to create very simple recipes like Maggi. Everybody can make Maggi, but I used to share that so my audience could connect with me. That’s how the journey started.
And that’s what my audience likes about me – they can see what I’m doing – very honest, very spontaneous in front of the camera. When I don’t upload recipes, they are like we need your recipes; they will ping me, asking for easy recipes. That’s how my audience and I are connected. And I felt that this is good. I can do something in this (field).
Q. You’ve mentioned that you love to go out and record preparations for street food. Are there any stories that you can tell us about your experience?
Utsa Madan: About two to three months ago, I went to explore the street food cuisine in Karol Bagh. I was supposed to go with my friend, but she ditched me at the last moment. I told myself – why would I need her? She asked me to wait an hour, and I was like – an hour?! I would have completed (browsing through) the Karol Bagh market in one hour. I have my camera, and I can record it myself.
So I went down to the metro station and recorded whatever street food I was getting. In Delhi, if a girl with a camera is making a video…everybody in the market forms a crowd, and they start whispering. And I was like, oh, they’re talking about me…That was really awkward and weird. Thanks to the mask, I realized they couldn’t see my face. I am totally covered. They don’t know who I am. I was doing all this for my content when my friend arrived, and I told her mera to ho Gaya you see what you want to do now.
I remember this because I was doing everything on my own. Otherwise, we are a group of 2-3 bloggers. At that time, you’re less awkward, and it’s fine because you have two others doing the same thing with you, so it’s less awkward. That time I was completely alone, and people came up to me and said madamji ye kya kar rahe ho aap? (what are you doing, madam?) That was very awkward for me. I became quiet and wasn’t replying.
Q. You have mentioned on your YouTube channel that you also experiment with food. Was always cooking a passion for you, or did it happen after you started your page?
Utsa Madan: After I started this page. Because what happened was that I was staying at home during my last year at university and studying. I was not able to go out to explore cuisines. Because at that time, there was pressure for (job) placements. So then, I used to cook at home – bahar baarish ho rahi hai (it’s raining outside), so I would start making Maggi and record that thing. I wasn’t even able to make Maggi before this.
I have a food page, so it’s not like I can upload fashion content. Before my page, I used to chop something or maybe stir something. I would ask my mom about the procedure, and I remember this one time – the kitchen was on fire. My mom said to me aaj ke baad, and you will not step into the kitchen (laughs). All this happened after I started my page.
Q. Who has been a constant support throughout your journey?
Utsa Madan: My father has been a constant support throughout. He loves to explore. Like if I ask him, “Let’s go to a new restaurant,” he will be ready. He likes reading the newspaper and would show me articles: “Look, this thing is famous. You should go out and try this and tell your audience your views on it.”
Then, later on, my mom also joined us. She was very new to this and didn’t understand what was happening. But later, when she understood how things work, she also supported me. And now, whenever I have to upload something, it’s like teamwork in the house. My father is telling me something, my mother is chopping something, and I am recording.
Utsa Madan’s story is exactly what Gen-Z has got right. Managing multiple pages while also juggling a full-time tech degree? That’s rough, and yet Utsa Madan has only just begun.
You can connect with Utsa Madan on her socials:
YouTube: Utsa Madan
Find the full interview with Utsa Madan on IcyTales’ YouTube channel here.