Meet the Chef
- Berlin, Germany
- “Do what you love.”
- Food influencers, cookbooks from other cultures, and the changing seasons.
Pauline Bossdorf feels fortunate to have been able to make a career out of her different hobbies. Not only is she the food blogger behind Living the Healthy Choice, a cookbook author, and a food photographer, but she’s also a doula and birth photographer.
She became plant-based not as a means to substitute foods she had “lost,” but rather to enrich her culinary life with interesting new products. Bossdorf began sharing her culinary adventures on Instagram in 2013, when she was 20 years old, and expanded to a blog that has a loyal following.
Pauline Bossdorf's Recipes
Cindy Brzostowski talks to Chef Pauline about her plant-based journey and her passion to make eating well accessible to all.
You’ve said that you started paying more attention to what you ate and cooked when you moved out of your parents’ home. How did you ultimately decide to focus your work on food?
I was young. I was already working for three years. I had finished my apprenticeship. So, I moved back to Berlin, and I had my very own first flat. I was like, okay, I have my rent to pay, I have my insurance to pay, I need to pay for my food, and now let’s try to make this happen. I just created and created and created, and after a year, things picked up. I probably would’ve been really sad if it didn’t work out but I was willing to take the risk.
As a food blogger, photographer, and stylist, you wear many hats. What motivates you as you juggle all these different roles?
I want to get better. I’ll come across something that I’m like, “Wow, I want to know how to do that.” A big thing for me is investing in myself and not being afraid to spend money on knowledge or acquiring new skills.
I feel like for a couple years my work didn’t develop as much as I had hoped because I felt very stuck, so I decided I don’t ever want to feel that way again—like I can only do this and nothing else. That’s why I ventured out to get some stability.
Meanwhile, it’s very important that I really enjoy the things I do. As a freelancer, you create your own legacy in a way and that really is motivating.
With your cookbook, Living the Healthy Choice, you want to show that eating healthy doesn’t have to be time-consuming, expensive, or complicated. Why is that message so important to you?
Because it’s delicious. It’s good for your body. You feel so much better. I know how healthy and fresh food can make you feel and it’s so important for me to show that.
When I started cooking, all I had was Penny [a discount supermarket] and I couldn’t afford going to the organic store very often. I needed it to be inexpensive. I was so overwhelmed by online recipes and there was so much I didn’t know.
For my cookbook, I knew I wanted to keep it simple. I want everybody to be able to have access to the ingredients I use in my recipes.
You started your Instagram in 2013 and now you have 179,000 followers. What makes your platform stand out from all the other plant-based bloggers out there?
I know that I focus on the food. For me, as a photographer as well, it was always important to let the pictures speak. I publish content that I also like to look at. If I follow a food account, I don’t need much else. I like the focus on food so that’s what I choose for my account.
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You were just 20 years old when you began sharing your culinary adventures online. How has your cooking evolved over the last few years?
I’m a bit more relaxed now because when I first entered this whole health food thing, I was so focused on the health part. I would not buy bread if there was a certain percentage of wheat in there. At one point, I needed to take a step back and evaluate my outlook.
I think I’m also more flavor-defined now. When I started, I had no idea about any combination of herbs and spices.
For you, “living the healthy choice” means eating plant-based. How has following that diet changed your life?
It’s been so nice. In the beginning, it was more for health reasons. I wanted to see what it felt like cutting out animal products and then with time it became more and more ethical. It’s great knowing that no animals were harmed or used for my delicious meals.