Food blogging kept Jess Jann connected with her family and is the start of her food empire

Food blogging kept Jess Jann connected with her family and is the start of her food empire

HK's small food-blogging scene is growing as snap-happy diners find fame and influence online. Jess Jann tells us how she got started


For Jess Jann, the food world is a hobby and an aspiration.
Photo: Jonathan Wong/SCMP

Model and food blogger Jessica Zhan Chi-chin, aka JessJann on Instagram, is looking to carve out a food empire on the back of her popular food blog, Eat with Jess.

She currently boasts more than 20,000 Instagram followers, more than 2,000 Facebook likes, and has been featured by Baccarat and Oriental Daily News.

Food has always played an important role in Zhan's life because "it is important to have dinner and lunch together as a family" and she often goes to dinner with her sister, Janice.

Zhan started her food blog three years ago - one year after moving to Hong Kong from Los Angeles, in the US.

She began showing her cousins pictures of food that she had taken and was persuaded to start writing a blog.

She would regularly share pictures of the dishes she was eating because she "enjoyed eating out in Hong Kong" and thought it would be a good way to keep friends and family back in LA updated.

She knew she had made a name for herself when she was recognised by fans at an MTR station one day. Two people wanted to take pictures with her, and told her that they "went to the blog for food advice".

Zhan says "it was a fun, surreal moment where I was like 'Whoa, people read the blog?'"

Readers will email to say they spotted her in restaurants, but were concerned approaching her while she was dining would be "creepy".

Find out how Hongkonger Cindy Ko has turned fashion blogging into a successful career

One of a few on Kong Kong's growing foodie scene, Zhan says: "There is a close food-blogging scene in Hong Kong. All the foodies know each other and often gather together at dinners."

She does not usually take part in these events because of her hectic schedule but "looks forward to meeting these foodies" at tastings that she gets invited to.

She raves about successful food-bloggers like Daniel Haddad (DanielHungryHK on Instagram) and Janice Leung Hayes (e_ting), saying that they "really know what they're talking about".

When it comes to blogging, Zhan believes that her success is in part due to her commitment. She used to post three to four blogs a week, but now has cut down to two or three.

She encourages up-and-coming foodies to use platforms like Openrice to launch their blogs. "I got a lot of traffic when I posted my reviews on Openrice. I kept getting emails saying 'I read your post on Openrice' afterwards when they got linked back to my blog," says Zhan.

Despite her relatively recent introduction to the food industry, Zhan says that she would eventually "love to have a food empire", including her own restaurant.

However, it's a goal she's working towards one careful step at a time.

"For Jamie Oliver, he's a really good cook. For me, I've just started to cook more at home through cooking videos on YouTube," she says.

"I tried making Gordon Ramsay's Italian meatball in coconut soup last week and it wasn't too shabby." Zhan admits "it didn't look like what he made", but she says she is looking to learn more in the coming years while trying to use her knowledge to get her food business off the ground.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Watch what you eat


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