Davy Khy, Love In My Belly
What pulled me into Davy Khy, a consultant and food blogger, was the fact she is a Cambodian-American, and she’s working on a Cambodian cookbook. *screaming* Timing could not be more perfect either. She was on her way to visit New York City, and all it took was sliding into her DMs for us to get together over lunch to discuss her background and what influenced her art. Hear from Davy how social media is changing how we view cultural foods and her next adventure: publishing her first book.
Davy, why a “food” influencer? How has instagram/ social media change the way we look at food?
It was never a goal of mine to become a “food” influencer. I originally created my Love in My Belly Instagram account because I needed an outlet to express my love of food and cooking. Once I decided to pursue my passion project of creating a cookbook of my mom’s Cambodian recipes, I started putting more effort into my photography, styling, and plating. It has been a journey and I wanted to share it with others.
Instagram/Social Media has definitely changed the way we look at food in that it has made it easier to find ideas and inspiration for recipes and meals and also learn about the latest trending restaurants. Basically, I can’t look through Instagram without getting hungry! I follow many food bloggers and restaurants so I’m constantly looking at food.
We are seeing a shift in this need for diverse voices, how do you think your cookbook will contribute to this?
Cambodian cuisine is delicious but it is an underrepresented cuisine in our country. I would love for my cookbook to be a starting point for others to learn more about the food, culture, and country.
Can you walk us through what the process of developing a cookbook is like?
I’m kind of learning as I’m going. This has been a new process for me and an investment in myself. Because I quit my corporate job to pursue this project, I have treated the cookbook like a full-time job. I launched a food blog and rebranded my Instagram to build a following to share my journey.
Sometimes I’m running around to 5 different grocery stores in 1 morning to get all of the ingredients I need for a recipe. I invested in some props for my photos, played around with food styling. I’ve hosted many dinners with friends to share some of my dishes. I’m constantly cooking, freezing leftovers, or giving food away. I’ve traveled back and forth to Boston to test out recipes with my mom. I’m now at the end stages of the cookbook and still figuring out what I need to do next.
What has been one of the challenges? And a reward?
Because I’ve always worked in the corporate world in a very structured environment, everything about this process has been a challenge. The first step in committing to this project was probably the hardest to make. It involved me walking away from a corporate job and a salary. But I knew it was something I had to do. I could always find another job, but I couldn’t buy back time to work on a passion project.
The greatest reward has been learning to create all of my favorite Cambodian dishes! Some of the dishes were really challenging to make. I can’t believe I’ve learned how to cook them all! It has also given me insight into how much work my mom put into creating delicious meals for me and my sisters.
You mentioned you understand Cambodian more than you speak it, in the process of creating this book, does it inspire you to learn the language fluently?
Yes, definitely. It’s hard to retain a language when you don’t use it very often. When I’m back in Cambodia, the words come to me more easily. Maybe after this project when I have more time, I will look into taking lessons.
What’s the next milestone you’re looking forward to, Davy?
Finally publishing the book!
Interviewed by Chary