Most meals, snacks and particularly bakes are uploaded to her Instagram account, by the uber foodie for her 55,400 followers to gobble up with their eyes.
Spector’s growing social media profile has now elevated her to ‘influencer’ status, which means the invitations to dine out are coming thick and fast. “I don’t eat at home much” admits the 50-year old Cambridge and Harvard graduate. She has first class degree in politics, philosophy and economics from the former and attended the latter on a scholarship.
But Spector doesn’t even work in food. Her career is in news, having worked for ITN for nearly 30 years, currently as chief news writer.
“About 10 years ago, I was writing some business stories. It was a bit tedious — all the normal businessman types — so I thought I’d look for some women entrepreneurs. There seemed to be a lot of women setting up food businesses. Some who’d diversified from farms which had been hit by foot and mouth. I went to the first Real Food Festival, a huge business show for small businesses at Earls Court, met some of the producers and was really inspired by writing about them.”
Initially, she wrote food features for website, Great British Chefs. “I didn’t want paying — I did it because I was interested.” Her intiation into social media and Twitter came nine years ago, fuelled by a desire to engage with other foodies and kick start her social life.
“No one at work was really interested in food — there was no one I could go for a meal with and I wanted to try new restaurants. My friends from university had moved away and there wasn’t anyone I really knew.”
Twitter brought her a community of new-foodie friends — “People with food blogs or who were interested in meeting up and trying things. It was great! I live on my own and would rather not sit at home on my own.”
The photography began after her brother gave her an Amazon voucher, suggesting she put it towards an iPad as she didn’t have a smart phone. “I’d take it to restaurants. Everyone laughed at me, whisking out this massive thing. Three or four years ago, I eventually bought myself an iPhone and got a bit more sophisticated.”
She says her huge social media following was a happy accident. “It really is purely a pleasure thing” she says.
It’s also a bonus for the businesses she visits. A post from Spector can do wonders for their profiles. “I recently visited Popham’s — a bakery I’d been wanting to try for ages. I took a picture of the pastry I bought (top left) and for some reason it got a massive response. There were hundreds of comments on Instagram and Twitter. The owner said they got an extra 200 followers on Twitter on the morning of my post and loads of enquiries.”
Spector may be an untrained amateur snapper, but her pictures are always works of foodie art. How does she do it? “I go to a bit of effort to try to make things look nice and have tried to learn just by looking at what other people are doing. I imagine what would make it look nice.”
Some of her favourite flavours are from Israeli and Jewish food, and she has made more than one foodie pilgrimage to the promised land.
Her love of Jewish food wasn’t fired by a particularly haimishe upbringing, event though both her (late) parents (Cyril and Renee Spector) had grown up just off Brick Lane — surrounded by the Ashkenazi foods of the East End.
They had moved to Birmingham to bring up Felicity and her two older brothers. “Mum worked full-time on the Labour council and so Dad did most of the cooking. She sometimes made chopped liver and was a very good, but had no real time cook for us. Dad made simple food.”
Spector was one of the first to write about the so-called ‘Newish Jewish’ trend, which she’d seen in New York and was delighted to see this side of the pond with the opening of eateries like The Good Egg (in Soho and Stoke Newington) and the East End’s Monty’s Deli. So impressed was she with The Good Egg that she became an early crowd-funding investor in the business, using some of her parents’ inheritance.
“I thought my dad would have loved the big sandwiches. I was quite sad that he was never able to go, but it’s like a little bit of mum and dad are there.”
Her mother’s memory also lives on in Spector’s tiny, Clerkenwell Green, kitchen in the form of a vintage Kenwood mixer that is older than her. It is used bake selected recipes from the countless cookery books she’s sent by hopeful publishing companies, angling for a mention on her feed. “I do get sent a lot of cookbooks, and I like to show that I’m enjoying and using them” she says, sharing that she often gets up in the early hours to bake and photograph goodies before starting her morning shift.
She loves the foodie side of her life: “It’s just so different from work, which is all very serious. A nice antidote to the daily news cycle and is quite creative. Food people are so great.” But has no intention of giving up her day job and for now, is happy to keep food as fun and the backbone of her social life.