Satisfying our tastebuds is not enough. We want food to tell us stories, inspire us to travel and be adventurous. On Plate Still Hungry is a creative online platform that channels just this – food, drink, travel and culture. Authored by an ever-growing worldwide collective of writers, a catalogue of sensory films and editorial content feeds us the authentic culinary goodness we are all seeking. Founders Kat Popiel, Terence Teh, and Carlos Carneiro share how they began their lifelong dream to spread their love for food and travel, collaborate with the world and what they are doing differently.
NeueHouse: What is On Plate?
Terence Teh: A night of food on film and vivid editorial celebrating creative and cultural food stories.
Kat Popiel: Three friends got together over a shared love for food + travel and a clear passion to make some cool shit together. Our combined ethnic backgrounds include Malaysian, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipino and Polish – add in the fact our shared hometown is London and you have a perfect storm of rich culture.
This is a lifelong project that acts as both our personal creative outlet, for sure, but really it belongs to everyone in our worlds – we have a chance everyday to figure out how we can collaborate with the people we love through the lens of On Plate. In some ways, it’s the ultimate example of a side project – turn it into a business and all those spreadsheets will just break your heart. By separating church + state to some degree maybe we can make our own version of history.
Carlos Carneiro: For me, On Plate is a food, travel and culture platform
NH: Why is On Plate needed now – what is the void you’re looking to fill within culture?
TT: Literal refreshment and satisfaction.
KP: Everything is thoughtfully packaged and sold these days, especially in internet culture. We want to make people feel moved, by the awesome power of food and travel – really, just feel something. Both of these movements have injected everything from science to family values to innovation with the creative prowess of the individual and that’s not something that will ever go away. Our crew of friends and family, from filmmakers to dancers to photographers to writers to entrepreneurs are meeting up for dinner and bashing out good ideas over a Negroni and a taco. I mean, sometimes a taco isn’t just a taco. Moving beyond our editorial, our film series and screenings our ways to get people in a room together with food + films + music in a way that sometimes becomes forgotten. We’re so pressed for time, always, that making people stop to remember their five senses can sometimes be the biggest achievement. It should be as simple as that. If we can do this in Mexico City and LA, Beirut, Manila, you name it, On Plate can hopefully be that connective tissue for a lot of great, talented people everywhere.
CC: I feel there is still space for the stories we want to tell and how we want to tell them. So I guess is the differentiation. What is that difference? How we tell a story, how we frame it, how we share it. Context and package.
NH: Food is one of the mediums that incites the most content around it – photography, art, magazines, movies, etc. Why do you think that is? How is the relationship between food and content forged?
TT: On one level it’s just such a simple and important element of life and culture and family one that is fraught with controversies since the advent of time, it’s an anthropological pillar of the world. Then there’s the absolute craft, technique and creativity that is often misunderstood. It’s an interesting obsession to have an affinity with.
KP: It’s an inherent part of our everyday lives so it’s natural that it’s become a source to converse and converge worlds. It’s just become very formalized – digital has become that vehicle to traverse space and time in a way that decades before never offered us. In some ways it’s an incredibly exciting time as every ingredient and cuisine is attached to deep vats of information, perspectives and knowledge. You can make a new friend/lover via Instagram over a insane love for ramen. But it can also be exhausting and overwhelming. I mean I can research the Manila Galleon trade between Mexico and the Philippines via journals and blogs for days but nothing beats sitting IRL with a historian over coffee who studies this stuff everyday to talk – that’s really when your mind blows up.
CC: The advent of food came with a revolution. And timing. So much has changed in the last 10 years. But how we absorb information has also changed so much during the same period. So looking back these two definitely go hand in hand.. And then people love to eat with their eyes.
NH: What is the future of food content? Where is this going, in your opinion?
TT: A level of depth and love for what people are making should be paramount.
KP: There are tons of stories out there that follow a simple formula that ends up diminishing the story itself, just so it can drive engagement and sales online – you know, all those buzz words. What was the last story you heard that stayed with you? It’s the same with food – when you have a dish or a mouthful that you spend the next few days dreaming about, it’s because it was that damn good. People would rather have one story that drives deep then a whole bunch of nothing. It’s the shiny object syndrome – for every bright light of food storytelling blinding you is the one that makes your myopic zoom in a little closer.
CC: Chef’s Table and so many new documentaries like Birth of Saké are truly amazing. In publishing, Lucky Peach rules but I also feel there’s a lot more rubbish being made. All over the place. Just because “that chef is cool” or “we should pair this with some food,” etc. I feel good food content might have peaked but I am motivated that with On Plate we have an opportunity to share captivating stories.