"When I started thinking about blogging in 2008 or so, there were not a lot of African or Afro Caribbean recipes online.
I was following writers, and there wasn’t anybody that looked like me really doing this. So that pushed me back a little bit — I feel like I could have started this earlier if I had seen somebody looking like me out there. It made me say, nobody like me is doing it, so why do I think I can do it?
But that feeling kept coming back every time like, Oh, you gotta do this, you gotta do this. So, around 2012, I said, you know what, I’m going to do this. I don’t care. So somebody else can look at me and say, Oh, look at her, she’s doing it; I can do it. That was really one of the biggest things that made me start blogging. Like, Hey, go out there and let other people of color look at you and say, we too can do it. So, I said, okay, let me start and let me be one of those teachers. That was huge for me, and I’m glad I did. But I wasn’t expecting how people would really follow along. When I started Immaculate Bites, it was a hobby because I love cooking. But when I posted a recipe and then within two hours, somebody said, I made this already, and it tasted good, I was like, Holy moly. It made me pause and say, this is huge. You can’t just take it lightly. You really have to spend time on this.
This blog has grown so much; I’m pinching myself every day. If you had told me years ago that this is where I would be, I would have said, you lie. It’s become so successful that I can hire people. I’m responsible for other families. It’s just not about me now.
My readers are awesome. The most rewarding thing is when I get an email from someone who says, Oh my goodness, I made this recipe. And that gives me the fire, the drive to keep doing this. Sometimes I’ll do a happy dance, you know, I just made somebody happy. That is why I love this job.
The first time I posted my gumbo recipe was crazy. The traffic was overwhelming. I was trying to re-create gumbo, and I put tomatoes in it. And it was just so controversial! Like, how can you add tomatoes? It’s a no-no! But my overall thing was, does it taste good? It does taste good. If you really don’t like tomatoes, just take them out. No big deal. And there is this other huge set of people who are like, you know, I love it with tomatoes. A lot of people had a lot to say about it!
I once met this man who told me that he would be forever grateful to me because I saved his marriage. He said, We were having a lot of problems, my wife and I, and then she stumbled on your blog, and she started cooking, and things just got better. She loved the way you cook, and making your recipes made her happy, and I had something to eat all the time, so I was happy. I thought, Oh my goodness — that really touched me.”