I always love sharing how much social media can bring people together and create wonderful collaborations. And how I first met Gabi Moskowitz, blogger, cookbook author and TV producer extraordinaire, was through Instagram. I soon discovered she was not only a fun Jewish blogger and writer, but that the show Young and Hungry on Freeform (formerly ABC Family) was based on her blog. Gabi is just one of those people you love working with – talented, easy going, creative, kind and generous. And so I was so excited not only when she started writing some guests posts for The Nosher, but also that she agreed to answer some questions about how she got into this wonderful crazy industry in the first place and a little about her latest cookbook.
When and why did you start blogging?
I first got into blogging when I was twenty-six and had just broken up with a boyfriend. I was sad and restless and suddenly found myself with more time than I’d ever had before. I started my first blog, gabimoskowitz.com as a place to write thoughts, feelings, and recipes for what I was cooking. Eventually the blogging bug bit me, and I started what is now my primary website, brokeassgourmet.com, as a place to share high-quality but low-cost recipes.
Does being Jewish inform your love of food and cooking?
Jewish culture permeates every aspect of my life, but my cooking is perhaps where it is most evident. I don’t keep kosher but my husband does and our kitchen is kosher, so a lot of my cooking in the past few years really reflects that. I often make kosher versions of my favorite treyf foods (like potstickers, pasta carbonara, and even bacon).
How did your experience as a blogger and chef get turned into a TV show?
I received an email from an agent in 2011, who was a fan of my blog and thought it might be interesting fodder for a sitcom. He arranged some meetings for me with production companies and eventually, I met one I really loved, who also liked me and wanted to work together (The Tannenbaum Company, which also created Two-and-a-Half Men). I met with several TV writers, and eventually met one (David Holden) whom I felt was the best one to take my story and develop it into fiction. Together, we managed to sell it to ABC Family (which is now called Freeform), and amazingly, the pilot got picked up and turned into a series, which premiered in 2014. We’re now on our fifth season. I still can’t believe it’s real.
Tell us about your latest cookbook, Hot Mess Kitchen. What do you hope people reading it will take away? Is it only for women?
Hot Mess Kitchen, which is coming out this fall is perhaps more geared toward women, but it is in no way exclusively for women! It’s about cooking for the hot mess in us all. We all have an inner hot mess; it’s the part of you that is (or feels) depressed, manic, broke, chronically late, and/or like you’re simply not enough, no matter how hard you try. The book is full of hilarious and heartfelt essays (I co-wrote it with Miranda Berman, a hilarious TV writer who currently works on The Mindy Project and Mindy Kaling wrote the foreword), and really excellent, straightforward, doable recipes accompanied by beautiful photos (thanks to photo genius Frankie Frankeny).
What’s the one dish you still struggle making?
It sounds so lame but I 100% need a recipe to make chocolate chip cookies, or any cookie for that matter. I’m a great free-wheeling savory chef but baking requires more focus than I usually want to give it.
What advice would you give to others who are interested in launching a career in food media?
Be the you-est you you can be, in both your photo content, and your writing. Food is all about perspective–it tells a story. So work on bringing your food story out as much as possible.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only eat one Jewish food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
An onion bialy with scallion cream cheese. Presumably I’m by myself, so nobody else will have to deal with my onion breath, right?