I am so tired after a long day of work. I don’t have the energy to go to the store and cook. So we usually end up getting take-outs… "Does any of this sound familiar?" asks Sharon Chen, the blogger behind the recipe- and meal-planning website DelishPlan.
On her blog, Chen offers practical tips for prepping and batch-cooking beforehand, provides tried and true (gorgeously styled) recipes, and lays out multiple done-for-you meal plans to meet your different cooking needs.
DelishPlan is set apart and made special by the expert food photography and beautiful food styling, but what I personally found equally compelling was Chen’s voice and how she addresses her readers. Yes, she markets herself (it’s a business after all!) but she is not self-serving; the mission of her blog genuine and is approached with relatable honesty — she even offers a free download of her mini-cookbook: Top 7 One-Dish Meals.
Check out our interview with Chen below!
The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?
Sharon Chen: To help busy professionals and home cooks put delicious, healthy meals on the table in less time than they ever thought possible through quick and easy recipes, practical prep and batch-cooking tips, engaging videos, and vibrant food‐porn‐style photographs.
How’d you get started?
I originally started my food blog (it was called Gourmet Persuasian at the time) to keep in touch with my mom since I moved to the States and she is still in China. My mother is an excellent cook and she always wanted me to learn cooking, but for some reason I didn’t cook in China at all. After getting married in San Francisco, I learned cooking through Skype calls with my mom 3 to 4 times every day. Sharing her recipes on the blog is something that keeps us close, even though we are physically at two opposite sides of the world.
Over the past three years, the little food blog turned from the personal connection with my mom to something greater. I realized that I could help and encourage more people to cook at home more, eat healthier, and spend more time with families over homemade food. So I rebranded the blog to DelishPlan with a mission of helping busy professionals and home cooks prepare delicious, healthy meals in less time than they ever thought possible.
What are some foods you can’t live without?
Noodles, especially pho.
Are there any foods you can’t stand?
Hmmm… I don’t think so. I love all things edible, as long as I get to play with it.
What is your proudest post?
What is your biggest blog blunder?
I completely ignored marketing for the first two years of blogging. If I could start over again, I would put as much time in marketing as in creating the content.
Do you have a memorable comment from a reader?
“We moved to Austin three years ago and I recently discovered DelishPlan and love the helpful tips, great photos, and creative ideas! I am vegetarian but have been able to modify DelishPlan recipes to meet my picky needs and they are just a wonderful! This is a wonderful city with great people, food, and adventures. Thank you DelishPlan for making cooking fun!
What’s on your cooking to-do list?
Lots of lentils — lentil falafels, curry lentil soup, etc. In addition, I am working on many slow-cooker recipes, as I am writing a slow-cooker cookbook.
What are some other blogs you love?
What are some food apps you love?
What is the best thing about blogging?
Being able to share my voice and recipes to (potentially) the world.
The worst thing?
My brain doesn’t shut down ever… I am constantly thinking about what topics to write, what recipes to make, how to put my blog in front of more people, etc. It’s tiring…
Is there a recipe you’re currently obsessed with?
I am obsessed with my Chipotle Pecan Pesto, which is something I had in a very good vegetarian restaurant here in Austin. I successfully reverse-engineered the recipe.
What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?
I have very small feet — size 5.
What are five of your all-time favorite posts: