The Diet Starts Tomorrow
By Kelly Thomas | January 27, 2017, 7:26 EST
BOSTON — When you have a background in engineering, starting a food blog wouldn’t be the first thought that comes to mind as a potential career. Yet that is exactly what Boston-based Brittany DiCapua is on her way towards accomplishing with her fast-growing Boston Food Journal, an online forum that focuses on the dining scene here in the Hub.
When she graduated in 2014 with a degree in biomedical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, DiCapua, 24, saw a lot of her friends entering the research sector. But she told New Boston Post she couldn’t see herself in that arena, joking: “I don’t really like labs. It’s a lot of white walls and hanging out with cells.”
Instead, she sought to mix her technology background with business, working first at Velir, a digital marketing agency in Somerville, and then at New Balance as an information technology project manager.
But while out at dinner in the fall of 2015 she got the idea for her latest venture: a website devoted to the food and dining industry in Boston and its surrounding towns. As DiCapua tells it, she realized she wanted to take her passion for food, and for photographing food, and turn it into something more than simply an Instagram post for her friends enjoy.
Thus, Boston Food Journal was born. Part blog, part photostream, and part food reporting, it is dedicated to providing readers with a constant stream of the latest in “food news” around the city, from featured specials to restaurant openings, while maintaining the mantra “The diet starts tomorrow.”
DiCapua’s older sister and roommate, Caitlin, was among those who heard her idea, and though she admits having her doubts at first, she was soon sold on the BFJ. “I had no idea how deep my sister’s knowledge for building a brand and website design went,” Caitlin told New Boston Post. “[I] realized I should never have doubted her — as with most things Brittany does, once she puts her mind to it she is successful.”
“I’m a crazy idea person,” DiCapua says, “Some things I push through and others I let go. So some thought this might fizzle out, but once they realized how serious I was, they have been very supportive.”
And Boston Food Journal has done anything but fizzle. Although the site has yet to produce a revenue stream that would allow DiCapua to leave her current job and pursue it full time, it has grown exponentially in the past year. The site now boasts about 12,200 followers on Instagram, to say nothing of the contacts she has cultivated throughout the food community in Boston.
Restaurants, or their PR agencies, contact bloggers like DiCapua to drum up publicity for special events or new menu items, inviting them to sample a meal on the house in exchange for a free blog post and the ensuing publicity. To stay relevant and maintain an edge over others in this field, DiCapua says she tries to update the BFJ’s site at least once or twice a day with new posts, and usually accepts up to four or five invitations to restaurants a week.
When asked where her favorite place to eat is, DiCapua acknowledges it’s nearly an impossible task, since she has been to so many in the past year. But a few have stood out. Brunch at the Bostonia Public House is not to be missed, she says, scoring points both for its delicious food and fun vibes.
Abbondanza in Everett is also near the top of her list. It’s a small, family-owned eatery north of the city that serves hearty homemade Italian. “I like places with heart,” DiCapua says.
She shies away from the title “food critic” and never posts negative reviews, preferring instead to offer only the highlights of the city to her followers.
DiCapua admits that the Boston Food Journal is a time-consuming venture which, at the moment, produces little monetary gain. But she hopes it will expand over time, and that she will eventually be able to transition to doing it full time. More importantly, she says it is worth it to feel like she is doing something she loves.
It’s a message she brought with her when she returned to her alma mater this fall, where she was asked to address a group of sophomores as part of WPI’s “Vision with a Mission” initiative. There, DiCapua focused on communicating to her audience that no matter what you study in college, or where you find yourself working, you don’t need to settle for less than what makes you happy.
“I know a lot of students can feel locked in, like they have to follow a set path. I want them to realize that if you push for it, you can make time for what you love,” she said in an interview. “You can make room to pursue what your passion.”
You can follow Brittany and her latest food adventures around Boston on Instagram at @bostonfoodjournal.