Discover LabNoon – Joining #FBC15 from Italy!

Meet Saghar Setareh the Iranian blogger behind www.labnoon.com (@LabNoon) joining #FBC15 from Rome!
VB5A0020-21 What are you looking forward to learning and enjoying at FBC this year?

I am looking forward to networking and to learning the “secrets” of blogging. I hope I can learn about scheduling and organizing as I always seem to have little time. I also want to learn about good writing and publications.

What first motivated you to blog? 

I got into cooking seriously when I was on a diet and had to lose a lot weight. When I started searching I discovered food blogs and I was awed by the beauty and design in food photography. Given my background in photography and design I was immediately interested.

Is blogging your full time job? If not, what is your day job? Would you like to become a full time blogger and focus your professional career in this area? 

I am a graphic designer and photographer, mostly concentrated on the world of food. That’s why food blogging is very important for me. It’s like a window through what I do. My goal is to create a small branding company for food enterprises and take care of the visual aspect from A to Z. I would love to become a full time food blogger but I don’t see graphic design, editorial design and photography separated from that. I think I have a friendly relationship with some other bloggers but I would like to take it to a professional level.

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How do you think brands could work better with bloggers? How would you describe your relationship with bloggers and industry folk?

I am rather perplexed about the relationship between brands and food bloggers. I have found out I prefer working with non-food brands, such as cooking accessories and etc. Since I don’t like to be influenced on my cooking style and values.

From where do you get inspiration for your blog posts?

I get my inspiration from my Iranian background and my Italian surroundings. I like combining the two things or finding the similarities. For my final thesis in the master of Graphic Design and Photography I designed the prototype of a cookbook with my own recipes and photography. (watch the project here https://www.behance.net/gallery/26298699/Lab-Noon-The-Cookbook-Final-Thesis-Project )

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What’s your ultimate blogging dream – where do you plan to take it in the future? What are your future aspirations – both for the blog and for any related activity? How do you plan to continue to grow and develop your blog? (your own cookbook, a supper club, restaurant, product line perhaps?)  

Now I am searching for editors interested in publishing my cookbook. I would love to have a small café too one day. But for the moment it doesn’t sound very possible.

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What’s your signature dish?

I don’t think that I have one signature dish. I like simple, healthy food and I love it most when there’s a cultural mix. Like the dish is neither from one place nor another. One of these dishes is Narcissus a Persian dish of eggs and spinach.

How do you shop for food?

Well it depends. Sometimes I have a certain dish on my mind and I search everywhere to find my ingredients. Sometimes I let myself be inspired by what I find in the market.

What blogging trends are you enjoying at the minute? Do you follow trends religiously or are you most interested in setting new trends yourself, a bit of both, or do you ignore them all together?

Hmmm, I don’t know if I follow any trends and I’m not sure if I want to. I do try to eat and make more plant based meals though I am an omnivore. I don’t get the meaning of a “trend” in eating, I can relate to that in the world of photography, or styling or design. But as far as I am concerned about food, it’s suppose to be genuine, clean, and healthy. I love to make things from scratch, auto-produce when possible and keep an eye on the origin of my food. Is that a trend?

Have supper clubs now had their day or is this just the start of bigger things to come?

Where I live (Rome) supper clubs have not even started yet! (not true, but there are really a few). I think we still have a lot to do, and I wouldn’t mind having my own at all.

What’s the most unusual restaurant you have ever eaten at?

In Iran we eat at restaurants just outside cities where we sit on beds and food is served on the floor of those beds.

If you had to eat one country’s traditional dish for a year, what would it be? What would be your last meal on earth? 

I could eat Italian traditional food all year round. My last meal on earth would probably be something Iranian and very traditional/rustic.

Finish this sentence: “For me, the ultimate food heaven is …”What’s your idea of food hell?

For me the ultimate food heaven is a small farm, where you pick up your own veggies and fruit and get local dairies. Food hell is all you have is processed, junk food.

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Which other bloggers do you follow most closely?

I follow many blogs closely, the ones I like their style, their language and successful examples of the world of blogging. I’d say Juls’ Kitchen (Giulia is such an inspiration as a woman), Hortus Natural Cooking, and Local Milk to name a few.

Does the proliferation of food programmes on TV aid or hinder your quest to develop and sustain a food blog?

I think the food programs on TV are generally over-rated. Specially the reality shows, a lot of are about whole lot of crap that has nothing to do with food. It really annoys me when food is associated with greed, anger and vengeance. It really makes me mad when food is wasted, thrown away just because it doesn’t taste perfect. Food is important, because agriculture is important, we don’t live in a time when we can afford wasting food.


What are your thoughts on the future of TV? Particularly, what are your thoughts on vlogging?

I have little experience with vlogging, but I know it can be fun. My ideal youtube channel would make healthy, easy, clean food and occasional treats, with fun people, good music, vibrant colors, somewhere with good nature.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.42.26 AMCelebrity chefs who use their profile for the greater good or to make us all eat healthily – is that a good thing or an annoying publicity stunt?

I think celebrity chefs who spread the words on healthy eating are amazing. I myself changed my life style years ago after watching some of these videos on youtube and reading stuff around the internet.

Who is your favourite celebrity chef and / or favourite food writer? Why?

My favorite celebrity chef is Jamie Oliver indeed. I think his food tube channel on youtube is great. I also love Ruth Reichl’s writing.

You’re given the opportunity to cook for anyone – dead or alive, real or fictional, chef, celebrity, royalty, public figure – anyone! Who would it be and why? What would you make them?

I don’t get this whole question of “cooking for someone famous”, I mean cooking is beautiful for people whom you know or you get to know. I love cooking for my family and friends and those who want to taste my cooking.

How many cookbooks do you own?

I don’t have many cookbooks. I have a Persian classic and an Italian classic by Artusi. The other ones are big, coffee table art books (my favorites) with great recipes, stories and astonishing photography.

What attributes make a good cookbook for you?

I like recipes to be easy to follow and to be illustrated. the visual aspect of the book counts a lot for me. I love great editorial design.

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Do you have a favourite kitchen tool or appliance – either a new addition or a trusted old favourite?  What’s on your wish-list right now? 

I have a mini blender that I use a lot. I have recently purchased a kitchen robot that misses some processing accessories that I wish to have.

Generally, I’d love a kitchen aid/kenwood for preparing doughs and everything else. I’d also love a Vitamix to make my own nut butters.

What other influences or interests would you say make for a great food blog?
I think knowledge about food, good taste and design influence a blog the most. Also having a specific, language/point of view.

How is your lifestyle shaped by blogging?

Of course my lifestyle has been influenced by blogging and vice versa. I try to eat what I advocate is good for eating. and I try to publish what I eat.

To achieve a successful blog what comes first – the dishes, the styling, the photography or the words? 

I think a successful blog is made from all of those options, plus a good strategy and a plan. A bold specific language, both verbal and visual.

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