How this Dallas-based Asian recipe blog found major success on Instagram

In a world of social media where creators use torpedo speed and trivial antics to capture as many views as possible, Plano chefs Mei Lui and Kyong Han take a different approach: slower cinematography and intentional content to educate. home cooks.

A love affair around food, Lui and Han met at cooking school and became even better friends while training in Paris. Upon completion of culinary school, the two chose to enter the restaurant and baking industries and, as many food-conscious people do these days, ventured into the world of blogging. culinary.

Lui grew up immersed in the restaurant world as his parents owned and operated Chinese restaurants in New York and Louisiana. For Han, choosing the food industry was a bit out of his comfort zone, but as Lui says, “You can’t choose the food life. The food life chooses you. Han was meant to cook.

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Both followed their hearts and graduated from Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in December 2018. The creation of their blog and Instagram page, Two plaid apronsin December 2019 would become fortuitous as these two young chefs found the need to pivot and adapt to the professional uncertainties that COVID-19 presented to them, and many other chefs, in 2020.

Having lost their full-time jobs during COVID, Lui and Han have pursued their culinary careers in restaurants and artisanal cooking while maintaining their blog, social media and new YouTube channel.

“We tried to sell baked goods while we were in cooking school, mostly macaroons,” Lui explains. “In November 2019, Baton Rouge started hearing about us, so I think that’s when we became a true artisan bakery. Our artisan catering and bakery duo began in September 2020 when we were inspired to bring Korean flavor and food to Baton Rouge.

Kyong Han and Mei Lui cook and photograph all of their meals from their apartment in Plano.(Lola Gomez / Staff Photographer)

Still, by the end of 2021, the Dallas siren song was too much to resist, and the Two Plaid Aprons decided a move would cement their decision to fully commit to their growing online presence. In December 2021, Two Plaid Aprons landed in Plano and quickly felt at home.

“We decided to move to Dallas because we heard a lot of positive feedback about the food scenes here. It fits perfectly with our goals because we wanted to be exposed to a diversity of food and culture without the whirlwind and fast pace of cities like New York,” says Lui. “We immediately fell in love with the community, cultural diversity and food scene on offer in Plano and Dallas! We are able to enjoy so many amazing things while being able to slow down and smell the roses. Life in Dallas is the perfect pace for us.

This decision to move to North Texas and continue educating home cooks via the Internet has proven successful. Two plaid aprons are catching the attention of online viewers, especially Instagram.

“If you consider the very first reels we shared, the growth was quite slow. Then when we started grinding and releasing more consistent reels [December 2021], our Instagram account began to gain popularity, faster. It’s only February [of 2022] when we saw consistent growth in our IG account,” Lui says. “We’ve gone from around 3,000 to now 134,000 on Instagram. Traffic to our blog has probably doubled. As of July 17, they had 174,000 followers on Instagram.

A quick view of their Instagram will show you why they’ve grown so fast; I was definitely hooked the moment I came across their Tonkastsu Reel (Japanese Pork Cutlets). This quickly snowballed into a frenzied session. Biang Biang noodles! Eggplant ‘Unagi’ vegan giveaway! Mayak Eggs!

Their instruction is not a bombardment of splashy ingredients. The two checkered apron reels engage, instruct and entertain.

“Generally, we would call our Reels ‘Cooking/Recipe Reels.’ They’re presented in a more cinematic way, as in, we create our Reels with the intention of keeping them therapeutic and entertaining while being educational, like a semi-guide to making certain recipes,” Lui says.

When I watch their instructional videos, I am drawn in to learn more. While I appreciate their slower-paced instructional segments, what strikes me most is their inclusion of cooking sounds. From chopping to slurping, these videos engage the senses and stand out because of it. Their coils are refreshing, slower, simple and creative; the perfect blend of instruction and escape.

“We don’t want people watching a 30 or 60 second video to learn how to cook a dish. This is very unfair compared to the overall quality of the dish. And while some viewers expect the entire recipe to be found on the quick video and description, “it just doesn’t work for us,” says Han.

Kyong Han makes Bibimbap with ground beef at his home in Plano.
Kyong Han makes Bibimbap with ground beef at his home in Plano.(Lola Gomez / Staff Photographer)

He and Han use social media as a platform to direct others to their blog and YouTube channel to learn the technique and skills needed to cook authentic Asian recipes. These mediums are where Lui and Han show their dedication to intentional instruction and a desire to teach others the intricacies and vast expanses of Asian cooking.

For many, diving into a new kitchen can seem daunting, and Lui and Han understand that. They focus on experience, fundamental technique and reliable, tested recipes.

“Experiment and practice in the kitchen. As long as you enjoy the process, you’ll end up enjoying the food you make. Nothing is more important than if you are able to cook for yourself, your family and your friends,” Lui says.

Han agrees and adds that it’s important to “have fun and not think about it too much. Enjoy the process and don’t stress yourself out. You create a dish from raw ingredients and feed others. Know the importance of what you do.

Two Plaid Aprons is a breath of fresh air. It’s easy to become an instant fan of what Lui and Han are up to – they’re moving forward in their new town, chasing their culinary dreams, and winning over viewers online one reel at a time.

Find two plaid aprons online at twoplaidaprons.com, instagram.com/two_plaid_apronsand on Youtube.

Nama Chocolate is a popular dish on Two Plaid Aprons.
Nama Chocolate is a popular dish on Two Plaid Aprons.(Lola Gomez / Staff Photographer)

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