Dear daddy food bloggers and home cooks to follow

Dear daddy food bloggers and home cooks to follow

Derek Campanile with his son and daughter, Brayden and MakenziePhoto courtesy of Derek Campanile

Derek Campanile with his son and daughter, Brayden and MakenziePhoto courtesy of Derek Campanile

The mom blogging empire is a huge and busy space, filled with confessional parenting stories, advice on raising healthy children, and plenty of family recipes to fill countless cookbooks. But there are also plenty of dads out there who have jumped on the game, with actionable tips and tricks for raising mindful eaters, recipes for creative lunchbox ideas, or snacks for birthday parties that impress.

Derek Campanile started his blog Daddy with a pan as a “hobby-first” project and today has amassed a following of more than 50,000 on its various social media channels.

“I have had a huge passion for food and cooking from a young age,” he says. “I remember my mom teaching me how to cook eggs when I was 8 and ever since then I’ve always loved learning new recipes and constantly tweaking my favorites to see if I can make them better.”

His website is made up of thousands of recipes that he and his young son and daughter, Brayden and Makenzie, make in their Southern California home. They’ve prepared everything from brisket mac and cheese and steak and egg tostadas to fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and grilled s’more cookies.

Photo courtesy of Derek Campanile

“Growing up, we always gathered at the dinner table every night, enjoying Mom’s cooking or Dad’s barbecue,” Campanile writes on its website. “Now that I’m a father, I see how important it is to have the same routine and I want to teach that to my kids by not making it a chore, but something they look forward to.”

For Denver’s Nick Evans, documenting his recipes began as a necessity when his then-girlfriend “wasn’t very fond of cooking.” So in 2008 he started machesmo as a space that would help both men and women build confidence around cooking, and its website now features over 2,000 recipes.

“I live with my wife and our official taste testers, our boy Theo, our girl, Darby, our dog, Porter, and our cat, Tipsy,” he says. He even published a cookbook, Love your leftoversthat shows the best way to reuse food – think a roast chicken that turns into tortilla soup or creamy pasta with chicken pesto or a flank steak that turns into spicy beef wontons or Vietnamese noodle salad.

Photo courtesy of Nick Evans

The food writer’s lifestyle allowed Evans to be even more present as a parent. “I get to coach the football team and never miss a dance performance,” he says. “It makes everything a little easier on the family calendar.”

Eating has also been a close moment for Beau Coffren, who has been walking Lunch box daddy for the past 10 years, since his daughter started kindergarten. The Oklahoma City-based father now has three children and many packed lunches under his belt.

“I wanted her to bring a special lunch to school and looking at it would let her know I was thinking of her,” he says. “I started the blog shortly afterwards to keep track of our lunches and encourage other parents to cook meals for their children.”

Lunch box daddyLunch box daddy
Lunch box daddy

Coffron’s creativity seems to know no bounds, artfully designing a kiwi to look like Baby Yoda or decorating a Babybel cheese to mimic the Spiderman logo.

But these parents who have made cooking their profession insist it’s not just carefree days in the kitchen. There’s a lot that goes into keeping the social media accounts alive while maintaining fresh content and an engaged audience.

“Blogging isn’t just taking a few pictures,” Campanile says. “There’s SEO keyword research, creating all your social posts, and exploring video content creation – there’s a whole beast to tame out there.” Laughing, he adds: “And bribe your kids to take a picture with you.”

“Sometimes the overall experience can also be isolating,” admits Evans. “But through social media I am very connected with thousands of readers and chefs around the world. The world is a huge place and I find new people every day to connect with and it’s amazing.”

Coffron agrees, saying his website is a comforting outlet for other parents. “There is an online community that likes to come together and support each other,” he says. “The internet doesn’t always have to be a dark space, but it can also be a space full of love, support and positivity.”

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Sonal Ved is a Thrillist contributor and the author of: Tiffin: 500 Authentic Recipes Celebrating India’s Regional Cuisine† She is the content lead at India Food Network and Tastemade India, and the food editor at Vogue India