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Check Out Jessica Formicola ’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Formicola .

Hi Jessica, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
I was trained as a psychotherapist and worked at Sinai Hospital for 12 years. My hobby (and self-care) was cooking. My husband always knew if I had a hard day because there would be a 3-course meal on the table after work. We loved Sunday dinner and would invite over friends since none of our family lived nearby. I’d try new things and techniques, but people always wanted the recipes. One day I Googled “how to start a blog.” I had no idea that a world of food bloggers was out there. I’d write up the recipes from the week before (many didn’t even have photos), and sooner or later, I realized MORE people than our little friend group were reading them. The day I first paid attention to my analytics, I had 30 visitors to my site. Today, Savory Experiments alone gets over 1 million page views per month.

Over the years, I’ve raised the bar and become an SEO expert (search engine optimization), digital marketing, dabbled in HTML and coding, social media algorithms, food photography, and more. When my daughter was born 4 1/2 years ago, I decided I couldn’t work at the hospital and continue to follow my food passion, so I took a leap of faith and went a full-time food blogger. The success has been fantastic. I write and photograph for national publications and appear on TV shows and news programs throughout the US. Worked with national food brands on recipe development and product promotion, coached other bloggers, and recently wrote my first cookbook from Storey publishing called Beef It Up! My team has grown from just me to 16. It’s amazing to think where I’ve come from, but I’m even more excited about what is next.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Oh no! Blogging was long seen as a cute little hobby, not an actual career. People still ask me how I make money and snicker that I don’t have a real career. I still deal with that stigma regularly. The truth is that I work close to 50-60 hours per week, and I never really get to take off. I love what I do, but it is not a “side gig.” I struggled to go full-time, and I regret not doing it sooner. My husband has been fully supportive, but it was still scary to jump off the cliff without a steady paycheck or health benefits. Now looking back, I’m sad I didn’t do it sooner. There are still days that I worry this whole business will disappear. I tried to diversify what types of things Savory Experiments does (like writing books and contracting with other businesses) and also launched 3 additional food sites. Like any job, things are always changing and fluid. You have to be flexible.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Savory Experiments (and me) is known for our 4S philosophy. It is quite simple, but I specialize in teaching the average home cook how to elevate their meals and customize and take a regular box of mac and cheese and make it magical. The 4s are sauces, seasonings, swaps, and salt. Knowing whether a meal can benefit from these, knowing them, and understanding them are what sets home cooks apart in the kitchen. I don’t want you to follow my recipe; I want you to create something of your own and enjoy doing it! Cooking doesn’t need to be a chore. It can be a fun and family-inclusive event.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those just starting.
Know that it is a long, hard road. There are so many influencers and writers out there. If you are passionate, do your research, are good at wearing many hats, and are committed, then go for it!

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