Interview

Singapore Food Instagrammer of the Month: Cancer Survivor Jennifer Yee @JellyLoveFats

Every month, we feature a Singapore food blog or instagram: (1) to cultivate goodwill and camaraderie among the online community; (2) to encourage more people to blog and instagram about food; and (3) to empower bloggers and instagrammers through an insight and understanding to their lives.

This entry is dedicated to all the brave and strong fighters against cancer, including my mom, and their families.

What brought @jellylovefats to my attention was the salted egg yolk croissant saga, which we talked about in this interview. But after the saga, as I got to know her through her instagram, she is a rara avis with her straightforward and cheerful disposition. Many people are hung up over many things but perhaps it’s her near-death experience that this cancer survivor calls a spade a spade.

She also blogs at Jelly’s Tastebuds.

Tell us something about yourself.

– Used to work as an administrative exec before cancer struck.
– Started IG because too much free time when recuperating.
– Happy-go-lucky person.
– Love to eat, must have variety each time but usually can’t finish.
– Preferred hawker food/ local fares to cafes; also a junk food person.
– Straightforward in feelings when comes to food.
– Started blogging recently to train up writing skills.

You’re a forthright person; you say whatever that comes into your mind. Have you encountered any problems when chefs ask you for your opinion on the food? 

I’ve never met really nasty chefs but I have encountered chefs who love to argue back at me; they get very defensive because of their pride, and they don’t listen to what we, their valued customers, want on our plates.

Many times, chefs like to walk over to your table to ask you how their food is. When they approach, it means that they are ready to take comments, right? But in actual fact, NO. You could see their expressions on the faces turn into frowns in split seconds once they hear negative comments. The purpose of my feedback is for them to make improvements, not to tarnish their names. Big names don’t mean good food anyway.

My recent trip to a restaurant situated inside a hotel proves my point. It serves fusion local fare. When the chef asked about his signature char kway teow, I commented that it was too sweet and lacked the “wok hei” aftertaste that we locals love. He became agitated, and then used more than 20mins to defend the dish. My point did get across but the chef chose to ignore it even when their main aim is to please the “locals” and introduce our authentic local fare to tourists. It eventually spoilt the mood of every diner on my table.

One thing I find problematic about instagram is that people take nice photos but do not provide feedback on the food. After seeing beautiful photos, I visit the restaurant and often feel angry at the food, and a resentment for the instagrammers for wasting my money and calories. Do you state your opinions when you post a photo? Why or why not?

When I first started IG, just like the group of instagrammers you mentioned, I didn’t state any opinions because my thoughts were “pictures say a thousand words”. But due to an increase in queries from friends/followers on my posts, asking me about the taste, I decided to drop a few lines describing my own palate.

Although description is not a must, because taste is subjective, I slowly realize that it’s useful to others as my opinions could be informative. At least they know what to expect. Therefore it’s better to state your opinion on the food.

Let’s talk about the salted egg yolk croissant (SEYC) saga. During the recent fad, some instagrammers kept posting photos of SEYC. Then, there was a backlash, and another group of instagrammers bitched about the first group for posting SEYC photos. Can you elaborate on the saga in your own words? On your instagram, you defended the original instagrammers who posted photos after photos of SEYC. Why did you defend them?

Well, it could be that some senior instagrammers were trying to demonstrate their “influence” on social media, thinking that they could move the world and restrict others from posting photos. But to me, they’re just crap! These senior instagrammers even commented that the junior instagrammers didn’t taste the SEYC themselves, and were simply following online reviews blindly.

Honestly, my friend posted multiple SEYC photos because she loves it and it was the hype at that time. I felt a need to defend her because there is no right or wrong for people to post SEYC photos back to back (or any other food). It’s an individual’s preference and he/she has the RIGHT to post whatever they want on their instagram account. It’s social media anyway, if it bothers you so much that these people post SEYC photos, don’t follow them.

What is your favorite eatery (a) in Singapore, and (b) around the world?

(a) None, but love any eateries that sell curry fish head. Have a soft spot for curry, love the spices.

(b) None, but love to explore street foods of different countries.

You may also be interested in interviews with these bloggers and instagrammers:
Jan 2016: Iris Goh’s Easily Satisfied, Hard to Please
Feb 2016: Chef-Blogger Hairil Sukaime’s Eat Food, Live Food
Mar 2016: Ipoh Boy, Ridzuan Khaw @Mr.Duwe
Apr 2016: Criminal Lawyer, Sunil Sudheesan
May 2016: Universities’ Dining Clubs, NTU Deli Aprecio Club @NTUDAC and SMU Gourmet Club @SMUGC
Jun 2016: Actress-Singer Cheryl Wee
July 2016: Stock Photographer Cecilia Joven Ong’s All About Ceil

Written by  and Jennifer Yee.

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