Interview

Singapore Food Instagrammer of the Month: Art Director Kenneth Lim @klzw

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.
kenneth-limI’ve been following @klzw for a long time but I’ve not met him before. I follow his instagram because the photos have a distinctive style, and because he is out-spoken about the food. I like people who can give reasons of why they like or dislike the food.

Tell us something about yourself.

Hello, I am Kenneth Lim and I am Art Director by profession, Photographer by passion and cafehopper by occasion.

The vibes at @prodigalroasters are spot-on.

A post shared by Kenneth Lim (@klzw) on

Your ig has a dark-white theme. Why do you have a theme? Do you purposely seek out places that suit your theme or do you process the photos?

To digress a bit, I once received a comment on my food shots about a year back or so, she commented, “Not only do you showcase the food, but it also carries along a story with it” and I thought that was poignantly put. It was something that I am conscious of doing when it comes to food photography, but I never quite knew how to put it into words until I saw her comment.

But yes, I do have the penchant to shoot a single dish at a time with some distance from the food. The background, parts of the decor, the table setting are components that I like to include into my shoot because it shows the general ambience of the place. There were many a times where I don’t recall seeing a dark spot in the cafe that was reflected in “so-and-so’s” photos only to realized that a black cloth or paper was used to construct that shot.

Also, I have a preference to shoot food from a distance reason being I don’t really like seeing food so close up and in my face, cause it is abit… overwhelming.

As for the dark and light theme, I just had quite a few shots that were dark and light and thought that I would try to stagger it on my Instagram. HAHA!

I don’t really seek out places that fit my style because it would be hard to find such places! Instead, I would try to have the place influence my style without compromising it. Other than the occasional crowds, I don’t really have much of a difficulty getting a shot that I like.

I don’t really edit that much on my photos, the main edits that I do is to drop the contrast (cause I like a sense of dreaminess) and pump up the saturation (to make the food look more appetizing), other than that, the photos on Instagram stay pretty true to the ones in my camera.

What I like about your IG is that you’re honest; if you like the food, you’ll say it. If you don’t, you will also say it. But most igers merely describe the food. Why do you think most igers don’t make a judgement on the food?

It is the whole notion of, “You don’t know about cooking and you still dare to comment on my food?” that prevents us from saying what is on our mind. However, as a paying customer, we forget that we are allowed to have opinions of the food as well. Of course, we should not abuse it and go “This is the worst thing I have ever tasted!” or “I hate this!”, that is just plain rude and uncalled for. Instead, it is important to state what is it that you do not like and why do you not like it. Is it too sweet? Is it too salty? Does it have an insect in it? Etc etc.

Handling out constructive criticism is always helpful to the establishment (whether or not they listen is another story) to do better and improve. For myself, if I do not like a dish, I make the effort to explain what is it I do not like about the dish instead of just saying “it is terrible”. Saying the latter is just ambiguous and does nothing for anyone because (1) the establishment would not know what is wrong with the dish and (2) it would be just be not credible to people reading your caption.

Another reason is incurring the wrath of the owner (and this just happened to me recently), which is why I tend to come across a lot of diplomatic food reviews online. The owner of “said establishment” gave a passive-aggressive rebuttal to a comment I made on my Instagram about their food 18 months ago. To make matters worst, they told my other friend (who came later) that they did not want to sell me any of their food initially.

Unprofessional and rude aside, I was shocked they took such offense about the review I wrote 18 months ago. In my defense, I did explain which part of it I did not like and why I did not like it instead of going on a rampage and cursing your food or anything.

Needless to say, I will not be visiting them anytime soon.

Was there ever a time that you can’t be honest about the food on your ig?

Not really, I still maintain the same level of honesty even when it comes to food tasting sessions. Because whatever I say about the dish on Instagram is the same thing I tell the owner (albeit with proper sentence structure and grammar). It is important to stay true to yourself and your honest opinions, instead of being extra nice just because it is a hosted meal. People who go through Instagram are not stupid, they can call a bluff when they see one.

What are your favorite eateries in Singapore and around the world?

Old Hen Coffee Bar, because there is a sense of belonging and familiarity when I go there, and recently South Union Park, cause they really do put a lot of heart and soul into their food. Overseas-wise, I’ll have to give it up to Dominique Ansel Kitchen at New York (not the bakery where the cronuts are at) because it has this made to order fresh Fraises des Bois Tart which is pretty much the most amazing thing I have tasted in my life thus far.

Lemme have that scoopful of banana granola parfait.

A post shared by Kenneth Lim (@klzw) on

Totally agree with South Union Park; it is my favorite cafe this year. Will have to visit Old Hen and Dominique Ansel soon! Thanks, Kenneth!

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
Aug 2016: Cancer Survivor Jennifer Yee @JellyLoveFats

Written by  and Kenneth Lim. Photo credit: Kenneth Lim.

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