If there is one thing that keeps Instagram as the pinnacle of the social media industry nowadays other than selfies, belfies and pictures of gorgeous sunsets, babies and other pleasant things, it has got to be food. Food, glorious food. We can’t get enough of it. Since lockdown kicked in, people have been switching from taking mouthwatering pics of restaurant dishes to cheffing it up in their home kitchens, baking and trying out unfamiliar cuisines and new takes on old recipes. The Facebook-owned image curation and sharing site has been for many years now the go-to place for food-related inspiration and travel ideas, but what really makes it cool is that you do not have to be a restaurant chain or a famous TV cook to get people noticing what you brought out of the oven. Anyone with the right skills and a set of half-decent camera equipment or a smartphone can go viral on hashtags like #foodiesofinstagram and the like.
The ‘Gram has become a trendy source of inspiration to foodies all over the globe, ranging from top chefs and The Great British Bake Off contestants to one-man/woman cooking sessions getting a roast ready for the Sunday dinner with the kids. Not being famous is not a barrier to getting props for your plates though. Some very ordinary and everyday food lovers have blown up on the picture sharing site simply because of their deep passion for what they cook up and dine on.
One Insta-regular who has successfully mastered the thrill and passion of sharing yum stuff in high definition is Mohammed Abdul Aziz, who operates under the IG handle @kingabzcooks. Based in East London’s Stepney neighbourhood, home to some of the city’s finest Bangladeshi and Indian eating establishments, and just east of the food-lovers paradise of Brick Lane, Abdul Aziz has attracted around 285,000 followers with his featured selection of dishes, many of which he prepares at home himself, combining haute cuisine and homely foods from the local shops.
Lately the lockdown has given Abdul Aziz a chance to really throw himself into his hobby, making mouthwatering meals such as lamb biryani with chicken curry, guinea fowl curry and curried salmon, with a distinctive Bangla twist. When not in the kitchen, @kingabzcooks wholeheartedly support his fellow Insta-chefs by sampling, featuring and taking pictures of their creations, often swapping dishes with them for review.
He has collaborated with several local businesses and culinary creatives, joining forces with the Ilford-based artisanal halal bakery Bonita Cakes, British Asian recipe blogger RumisSpice, spicy naga chilli infused spaghetti specialists Naga Donner Spaghetti, and the exotic fruits delivery service Tropical Wave. Abdul Aziz loves his cakes and sweets just as much as he loves a good curry, and his Insta feed is replete with tonnes of images of cakes, cake pops, Asian sweets and other moreish treats from off the beaten trail. Think caramel tarts, milk cakes dripping with Nutella, trays of mixed cookie doughs and rich brownies. He’s practically living the dream in sweet tooth heaven!
Experimenting with food and supporting small-time bakers and food establishments is a full-time job that has kept Abdul Aziz busy for the many years he has posted on Instagram. To date, he has clocked a total of nearly 9,000 posts. Just casually browsing through a handful of those thousands of images and videos, you get an appreciation of the passion for food emerging out there, as well as @kingabzcooks’ own dedication for the cause. He is not about hopping on flashy food trends or promoting must-see eating places. Don’t come expecting quinoa and kale or glamorous studio shots of GI-friendly desserts. Here is a man who loves his food, loves to be creative in the kitchen, and enjoys exploring the culinary world on his doorstep. Bold and adventurous, yet humble and quite incognito in comparison with other influencers on Instagram, he is not afraid to stretch his legs and think outside the (cake) box when it comes to trying new things. At a time when many small food businesses in the east London area are struggling with declining sales during the current pandemic, @kingabzcooks is the unsung hero helping them keep going.
Like what you see? Follow @kingabzcooks on Insta.
Mohammed Abdul Aziz/kingabzcooks, Instagram https://www.instagram.com/kingabzcooks/