In the blogosphere, it’s always great to talk to other bloggers, to get to know how and why they started, […]
In the blogosphere, it’s always great to talk to other bloggers, to get to know how and why they started, what works for them, what doesn’t, and personal bits and pieces. I recently stumbled upon ShaneaSavours.com and thought it would be nice if we discussed blogging together! Shanea’s blog is a food and travel review site unlike any other I have come across. She and her husband travel extensively and eat at more restaurants than anyone I know. The majority of her reviews are of restaurants in Toronto, where she is from, Miami and New York City. Her reviews are candid – like she is talking to you, and extremely thorough. I love that about her blog and thought I should introduce her to my readers. I asked her for an interview and she agreed. See below.
DW: Tell us about yourself and the genesis of Shanea Savours.
SS: I was born, raised, schooled and married in Toronto. But I always had a wanderlust to travel the world. My interests were always focused on travel, fashion, art, theatre, music and, most definitely, food. When I was 15, I begged my parents to let me go on a teen tour to Europe. I left from New York and I went not knowing a soul. We did 9 countries in less than 3 weeks. It was one of the best experiences of my life and then I was hooked. I loved exploring new flavours, colours, diversities, of each new country and learning about their lifestyles and their different culinary creations. I became a travel agent/consultant for 18 years just to feed my new habit. Over the years, my husband and I have travelled to many destinations including America, Europe, Asia, Hawaii, India, South Africa and Botswana, and many of the Caribbean Islands. I even was a contributor to an exclusive book called, “ In World Travel”, where I wrote the section on Toronto. I guess this was my first foray into “print media”. I have always had a passion for cooking and baking and have taken numerous cooking classes at home and abroad. I have also enjoyed building friendships with top tier Chefs. I loved reading cookbooks, food magazines and articles as well. So putting my interests of food and travel together, I began sending friends and family members little mini reviews. They kept asking me to write a blog. I didn’t know the first thing about a blog or social media. But eventually, a good friend encouraged me to do it and hooked me up with Erika Bogner, her fabulous web designer. ShaneaSavours.com, which is all the things I savour such as food, travel, fashion, art and culture, was born. I am still in disbelief how quickly it has gained traction.
Toronto is my home base so I will be featuring plenty on my great city in the future. My second home is Miami, and I live here for 4-5 months a year. I have seen it’s transformation from a sleepy town into an international destination for savvy travelers. It’s grown and diversified, and the restaurant scene has followed suit. I tend to eat out every night while I am here, so this section has a lot of content. Thirdly, I love New York, the greatest city in the world, and home to my daughter and her new family, so I will be reporting quite a bit about this amazing city. The rest of the blog features some of my past and my future travel destinations, reporting on my adventures and sharing all the new trends that I see.
ID: What was your childhood ambition? Tell us about your first job in high school.
SS: I always thought that I wanted to be an architect when I was young but, alas, reality set in when I realized I have absolutely no artistic talent whatsoever. I only appreciated beautiful things but I couldn’t create them. My first job in high school was working as an usherette at one of our larger live theaters in Toronto. I always loved the theater even to this day I enjoy Broadway and London shows, they give me great pleasure. I used to sit in on every performance when I worked there. I also taught drama to kids at summer camp.
ID: Your blog is relatively new, did you work before you started the blog?
SS: I have been retired as a travel agent for several years. I have done volunteer work for various charities. I actually worked on composing the menus for many of their gala fundraisers, as well.
ID: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far with the blog?
SS: Doing a blog is a lot of work, long hours and way too much eating. It is also rewarding to get instant feedback and watching your followers grow. Seeing so many talented chefs, artists, and business people in various fields who are so creative. I have seen thousands of other people who share my interests and passion through social media. I have learned there is a growing interest in elevated food experiences. People want to be engaged and more educated about food than ever before.
ID: What challenges have you faced with creating/writing Shanea Savours?
SS: I was never formally trained as a writer or journalist, so I just try to write an article like I am speaking to someone. It is also challenging to always find the latest and greatest trends. I don’t want to supply old news that will soon become stale. It is difficult to find enough time in the day to balance family and writing. I wish I could be more of an early riser, I would definitely get more work done this way. Instead, I am up all hours completing my work. But, when you are passionate about a subject, it compensates and makes things much easier and enjoyable to do.
ID: Favorite post to date?
SS: It is too hard to say what my favourite post to date is. They are all my babies. One day, it is about the most transporting new dish I tried, the next day, I can be joyfully humbled by a magnificent piece of art or a fabulous concert or an exceptional exhibit. Then, that becomes my favourite post until the next sensational discovery.
ID: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
SS: When I am not working, I like to read a good book or a travel magazine. I love to play with my grandchildren. Exercising is a must, but not necessarily a pleasure for me. I am fond of going to a great movie or play. Walking on the beach with my husband brings me much pleasure. Then back to my passion of eating a superb meal, travelling to a new destination or revisiting an old one. Visiting art shows and shopping are also a luxury that I savour.
ID:What’s your guilty pleasure?
SS: If you must know, it is getting a two-hour deep tissue massage.
ID: If you were given free airline tickets to anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
SS: It would probably be to places I haven’t had a chance to travel to yet, so I would say to New Zealand and Vietnam for the beauty, Angor Watt for the history and then Peru and Chile for the food.
ID: Please tell us a random fact about yourself that we would be surprised to know.
SS: I am embarrassed to say that I have stopped cooking and I think the last time I cooked a full dinner was 1994.
Thank you so much for your time, Shanea! We really enjoyed getting to know you and ShaneaSavours and are looking forward to many more fabulous restaurant and travel destination reviews.
Images courtesy of Shanea Savours