Despite my ever-expanding efforts to get out and find/meet more exciting people in YYC to present to you, these days more and more fantastic locals are the ones approaching me to work together on projects. Maria happened to be one of those awesome people, and she certainly doesn't fail to make a first impression. Let's just say if you don't have any loud Greek friends, I would highly recommend making some.
On a professional level, for those of you blog-inclined locals, you will likely know Maria better by her notorious namesake Food by Maria blog. Personally, it was super exciting to meet someone who produces some of my favourite (and most delicious looking) digital content in Calgary, and even more exciting to work with her on exploring her stylistic side. Check out our interview for her thoughts on mixing food and fashion, her favourite foods, and more.
First off for the people, what’s your name and what do you do here around town?
My name is Maria Koutsogiannis and I am the founder, photographer, recipe creator, and artist behind foodie platform FoodByMaria. I am a healthy food and self love advocate that spreads positive awareness about food and its ability to help heal you! You can find my treats around the city in local shops!
How did you get into food blogging and reach such a prominent point while doing it in a place like Calgary where few bloggers succeed without moving away?
It all started in London, England but I knew in order to succeed at this, I would need to move somewhere that I could take complete control over the market using my social media platforms. I worked my ass off, went nights without sleeping, and knew deep down in my heart that I could do anything I worked hard enough for.
I’ve heard it said that one’s food preferences may have links to their personality. Do you have a favourite food, and do you see any links between what you eat and who you are as an obviously eccentric and outgoing personality?
Oh dear, haha, this is funny. So I have two favourite types of foods/dishes. Fast + Easy/Comforting + Warming. Fast and easy because I never stop… and comforting and warming for when I have completely worn myself out and am in need of something my Mama would make me if I still lived back home in Saskatchewan.
As most of YYC would know, you’re first and foremost a food blogger, but you definitely seem to have a side affair with fashion as well. How would you describe that relationship and your own style as a result?
So true! I think I was a lover of fashion before I knew I loved food too! I get it from my Greek roots and my exposure to gorgeous women and stunning fashion at a young age. I believe less is more. I am not really into many patterns or colours. I like to keep it simple with staple pieces structured to my body type, and I let my hair take place of the little make up I wear. I think for fashion it's important to find what works best for you and to rock the hell out of it. Be confident and anything is sexy. I promise.
What sort of influential figures or movements do you look up to, whether it be in food, fashion, or life in general?
Oh there are so many but I would have to say that Celine Dion, Jamie Olive, Amy Winehouse, Robin Williams, and Gordon Ramsay are my favourites. They all came from nothing and worked their way to the top. I don’t have many fashion icons but more so believe that each individual inspires me everyday, people I am surrounded by, and even the music I listen to.
Your own Instagram runs the whole gamut on photo topics, ranging from photography, interior design, fitness (you seem to particularly appreciate the butt pictures), and more. Outside of food and fashion, are there any other cultural or artistic scenes that you take a particular interest in, or do you try and get a little of everything?
I enjoy dabbling in everything. I love sports; I will play anything but I am super competitive..so it kind of sucks playing against me at anything. I try my best to help the homeless in my community my donation clothing and dropping off food to the Mustard Seed or simply by walking down the streets at night. There is really nothing that I don’t love, apart from musicals. That stuff makes me cringe (my opinion).
I saw that you’re having a pretty huge charity birthday event coming up next month (check out her ‘Gram for anybody who hasn’t got the invite yet). Considering awesome ideas like this, what sort of other (non-secret) awesome projects do you have on the go right now that people would want to know about?
Oh dear, I don’t know how many of this question I can reveal to you without giving anything away. Let me just say that 2017 holds a lot in store for myself and FoodByMaria. You will be noticing a much vaster amount of events, workshops, and products going live. I wish I could tell you all more but you will just have to wait and see for yourselves!
Lastly, if you were stranded on a desert island and you could bring five things, what would they be?