Blog Spotlight: Maayeka

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Anjana Chaturvedi shares traditional vegetarian and vegan recipes from India on her Maayeka blog. She spoke with MediaSource about her blogging experience, the UAE’s food blogging community and opportunities for collaboration.

What inspired you to start blogging?
After both my children grew up, they kept reaching out to me for recipes every time they wanted to cook something – so I started playing with the idea of making a permanent record of our home recipes on the Internet so they could access it any time in any time zone. The blog didn’t start with the intention of having a public following, but once they started sharing recipes with their friends, it just took off. 

Why ‘Maayeka’?
Maayeka means ‘a mother’s home’ in Hindi. All of us identify comfort food as the food that we’ve been brought up on, which usually is made by our mothers. As kids grow up and move out, this is the kind of food they miss often, and no restaurant offers this kind of food. As a result, the food, the aromas associated with it, the cooking process itself, all become triggers for childhood memories. As this was a blog made for my children, this was the exact effect I wanted the recipes to have on them. Hence the name Maayeka.

How do you measure the success of your blog?
Technically – the Alexa rank. Maayeka’s Alexa rank keeps shuttling between 300 – 400k, which to me would have been unbelievable when this blog was started.

Personally – reader emails. Every once in a while, a reader will send a very touching email which makes my day. It keeps me motivated that there are young people across the planet, who are able to enjoy that little bit of homeliness in their daily lives through my recipes. That my efforts are making a positive impact on someone’s life.

What’s been the highlight so far?
Moments of media recognition I guess. I was recently on the 5 judge panel for Topchef Arabia, along with Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar. I never imagined that could happen.

How do you make a food blog stand out from the crowd?
By focusing on creating value. Readers come to your website seeking something so make sure it’s worth their time. If I’m not sure of a certain recipe or photograph, I’ll never post it online. Content is king.

What’s the food blogging community like in the UAE?
It’s excellent. Fooderati Arabia is the largest community of food bloggers in the UAE – and it’s an open forum of very warm and welcoming bloggers. I have had the fortune of attending several meetings, and have met some great friends and mentors through it. The moderators of the group are doing a great service to the UAE community and deserve applause.

How has your thinking about food blogging changed over the years? 
It’s changed from a hobby to a part-time job. I put in 4-5 hours of work on the website on a daily basis. What has remained constant is the path forward. There is always a lot to learn.

Are you happy to be contacted by PR and marketing professionals?
As long as they have a valuable proposition.

How do you prefer to work with them?
I’m open to working with them. I'd prefer they get in touch via email. While I do not do restaurant reviews, I'm open to collaborations such as food styling, menu development, recipe development, recipe reviews, photo reviews and product reviews.