Thahmina Haseen, known to many as Golden Tiffin, is a culinary demi-goddess and lover of all things food related. We caught up with the London based Bengali food blogger to find out about her inspirations, food photography tips and her foodie favourites – including enjoying a Michelin-starred dinner surrounded by 400 candles on the Amalfi Coast.
What inspired you to start blogging?
I started Golden Tiffin as a way for me to keep a record of age old recipes that would probably be lost if my grandmother passed. It grew from a passion for food but also a longing to connect with my Bengali roots.
What motivates you to keep your blog up and running?
How would you describe your blogging style?
My blogging style is quite personal and anecdotal. Whether it›s a recipe or restaurant, there’s bound to be a story attached to it.
Where are you when you write?
Mentally, I’m in my kitchen trying to retrace my steps!
What is your writing environment?
Right now, trains. For the past few weeks I’ve found that the London Underground proves best for time-sensitive pieces like travel or restaurant posts. Before that, I’d always write in bed. Since the blog has grown and Golden Tiffin has branched out to YouTube, I felt a desperate desire for a blog-life divide. It’s not my day job so I needed a way to compartmentalise before it all got overwhelming.
What’s your blogging routine? How do you manage your time?
I shoot recipes in bulk and write posts the same way. I now have an extensive calendar mapping out my blog content for the year to prevent me from having to think of content on the spot.
The most challenging thing as a food blogger has been my personal sense of accomplishment (or lack thereof!) My dream is to see Golden Tiffin living offline. As a book or as a restaurant or something else entirely… I’m not sure yet.
What has been the best foodie experience you’ve had?
Most recently, the Michelin starred La Sponda in Positano. I got married and had a beautiful dinner lit by 400 candles. There›s not much that beats watching the seafood being caught in the morning and still being able to taste the sea salt by night! You can read about La Sponda on the blog here.
It depends on whether it’s the food or service. If the food is bad, I will stop eating. The last thing I need is an upset stomach. If it’s the service, I will stay civil as I hate confrontation! I’d rather wait until I get home to voice my concerns diplomatically over a phone call or email.
What’s next on the horizon for halal food in your city?
I think it’s high time Bengali food was put at the forefront of the food industry. Real authentic Bengali food with heritage dishes and flavours unique to the regions, not just an Indian takeaway in disguise.
Who are your favourite bloggers and why?
How do you find out about new restaurants to visit?
Usually through Instagram hashtags or the dozens of restaurant hunting accounts I follow! If I’m looking for restaurants on holiday, then I use Tripadvisor for suggestions.
What is your favourite restaurant in London?
Have you met anyone interesting on your blogging journey?
There are too many people to mention! One of the most exciting projects I’m working on right now are The Body Narratives, an organisation who I’ve been since I left university. It’s a very proud and surreal moment that I now get to launch my first ever brunch club in collaboration with their literary event.
What tips do you have for restaurant owners to provide diners a great experience?
All it takes is a smile. We consumers are a fickle bunch, we just like to feel valued!
That depends on what you mean. I spend collectively maybe 3-4 hours a week writing posts, but I spend 24-7 promoting it. One of the commandments of blogging is consistency. You may gain popularity on social media for posting great pictures but if you’re not regularly updating your blog, all that effort becomes fruitless.
What camera do you use to take photos?
You don’t need fancy equipment, just a camera and natural light. My favourite spot is in front of the garden door, where light comes pouring in but food doesn’t go off in the sun!
What would you say is the biggest challenge to food blogging?
In the past, I’ve found it really difficult to stay motivated about posting Bengali recipes. It’s what I’m most passionate about but I’d often wonder whether anybody really cared about a niche subject. I’m glad I stuck to my guns though. I created a small community of Bengali food enthusiasts who keep me going!
What would you say that is the biggest perk of being a food blogger?
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Find Golden Tiffin on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. View her website here.