Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories profiling the people behind some of our favorite local foodie Instagram accounts.
Picture this: You are scrolling through Instagram, flipping rapidly from one photo to the next, when one makes you stop.
Maybe it’s a perfect cheese pull on a giant mozzarella stick, an eye-catching twirl of pasta, or a towering ice cream sundae. Instantly, you’re hungry.
Chances are that photo was posted by an influencer, a food-loving social media user who shares their favorite bites with the world.
Cat Richers is one of these influencers, sharing her adventures in food with more than 16,000 followers on her Instagram page, @njfood_travels.
“I honestly did not think it would blossom into this whole foodie world, but it’s been an amazing and inspiring experience,” Richers said. “I get to meet so many amazing owners and workers, hear their stories, actually feel like I am helping promote their business and passion — and of course having insanely amazing eats and drinks along the way.”
Read on for more from Richers.
Who is @njfood_travels?
Riechers, 29, of Clark, works in marketing and communications in the fashion industry. She also teaches private softball lessons: “That, by far, is my favorite job of them all, teaching girls the sport that I love.”
“I love to travel, watch and play sports, go to the beach and of course visit restaurants all over the map. On top of all of that, I love to bake, specifically my grandma’s secret crumb cake recipe!”
Why did you start a food-focused Instagram account?
I started my page back in July 2019 with the thought of, if I’m going to tell you a place you should go, I should probably show you a picture why you need to go. Everyone was tired of me taking a photo of them with their food, so they said just make a food blog on Instagram — so @njfood_travels was born!
How often do you post, and how did you build your following?
I usually post once or twice a day. With the exception of all my friends and family saying “hey, follow Cat’s food blog“ at the bars, everything is organic.
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What kinds of posts do you find get the most attention?
I feel like steaks rule the world when it comes to grabbing the most attention, and pasta dishes. Reels that have voiceovers seem to get good traction as well.
What do you like to make most – posts, reels, stories?
I think reels are a lot of fun to make. We have a cheese-pull challenge between all my friends to see who can do the biggest pull.
Videos are fun to take, and when you mash them all together, they turn out awesome!
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Any advice for an inspiring influencer?
Just do it! You literally have nothing to lose. Post often, and you never know what could happen if you don’t try. It’s always a conversation starter because who doesn’t like food? You have something in common with everyone.
What is your favorite food?
Penne vodka has my heart! Coming in a close second and third would be pizza and soft pretzels.
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What does your perfect day of dining look like?
First we have to stop for a cup of coffee from my favorite coffee shop, PJ’s Coffee in Fairfield (or Newark). Shout out my college roomie from New Orleans for introducing me to PJ’s! (Or) How you Brewin’ on Long Beach Island — … an absolute must-stop for all beach days.
Then, breakfast would at Turning Point! I love the Westfield location.
Lunch would be grabbing a sandwich from Taliercio’s in Red Bank. “The Cat’s Meow” is my signature sandwich that we created with corned beef, pastrami, creamed spinach, cheese and bacon on a Portuguese roll with garlic spread.
Dinner would be Cara Mia in Milburn, a cute BYOB Italian restaurant with insanely amazing penne vodka. (Or) Proving Ground in Atlantic Highlands: I make reservations here weeks in advance for all occasions.
(For dessert, I) have to get that ice cream! Colonia Dairy Maid in Colonia is my favorite, the soft black raspberry ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.
And then, the Happiest of Hours (after 10 p.m.) would be Applebee’s for spinach dip and a white peach sangria for $10 (don’t judge me). (Or) for late night eats, cheeseballs from Steaks Unlimited in Seaside Heights.
Sarah Griesemer joined the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey in 2003 and has been writing all things food since 2014. Send restaurant tips to email@example.com.