Meet a food influencer: Tea Kingley
Tea Kingley, who calls herself the pickiest eater in the world, started posting about Hunger Games when she was 12. By the age of 15, Tea was followed by 160,000 people.
She became a foodie two years ago – after a trip abroad and experiencing local authentic food. On her Instagram (@teaseats), she also reviews restaurants around Boston. Tea is passionate about sharing her interests and we spoke with Tea about her passion for food.
How did your food blogging journey start?
My journey to become the food blogger that I am today is kind of a funny one: for the first 19 years of my life, I was the pickiest eater in the world. Seriously, if you think you or someone you know is the most picky ever, I’m sure I could prove you wrong with my old habits. I think this pickiness was because I’m a supertaster, meaning that my tastebuds are more sensitive than most people’s. But now, this supertasting ability allows me to appreciate unique and flavorful foods even more!
I became a foodie almost two years ago during my semester abroad, when I made it a point to try the local cuisine of every city/country I visited to more fully experience the culture of each place despite my picky eating. Although I started the semester ordering plain pasta with no butter in Florence, Italy, I ended it eating escargot and duck in Paris, France. Ever since then, I’ve gotten more and more adventurous and have now made a full 180 from where I used to be — I’m now probably the most adventurous eater in the world rather than the most picky one.
I started my food blog last Summer after this newfound love and passion for good food took me to many amazing restaurants. I always took pictures of my meals just for myself, but after the urging of my friends and family to start a food blog due to my supertasting and my Instagram savvy background (an account I made when I was 12 years old reached over 160,000 followers by the time I was 15), I decided to create @teaseats to share these pictures, reviews, and recommendations with the world, and boy am I glad I did.
Can you tell us about your favorite childhood food?
My favorite dish is a super hard choice, because I love pretty much everything. I tend to say sushi because that’s kind of a cop out answer — the term “sushi” encompasses so many different actual foods, so it’s an answer without actually having to choose one thing. I cheated the system! As a kid I was a super picky eater, and my favorite dish for the first 19 years of my life was plain pasta with no butter, no sauce, no cheese, and not even salted cooking water (because I could taste that and I didn’t like it).
What did food mean to you before the lockdown?
Ever since I became a foodie, food has been such a source of enjoyment in my life. It’s a great way to learn about different cultures, explore different parts of your city, and spend time with your friends and family.
How did your food choices change during the lockdown?
I am a college student, and throughout this lockdown I have been able to stay in my college dorm in Boston. That being said, the dining hall options are not quite up to par as the service is very limited due to COVID, so I typically order takeout or delivery. It’s a great way to support local businesses during this pandemic, and to treat myself to delicious food while I’m at it!
What do you miss the most? What did you discover new?
I miss eating with other people the most, because not only was it an opportunity to socialize but I also got to try even more dishes because I would order a bunch for the table and split everything. However, I’ve been able to discover some new spots while some of my favorites have been closed, and I’m really glad that I’ve been able to try so much new food even in this situation.
Do you have a food hack or a 2 mins recipe you can share?
Not quite a food hack, but I love eating my cupcakes sandwich style — I cut/break off the bottom of the cupcake and put it on top of the icing, making a cupcake sandwich and optimizing the cake to frosting ratio in each bite.