Thomas Alcayala is a humble yet impressive food creator. Madet Mere is the name of his outstanding blog, where he’s orchestrating everything. Please make sure you’re not hungry before entering his fascinating world. The drooling is unavoidable.
I highly encourage you to read this interview from start to finish. It is a great lesson of hard work, perseverance, passion, and maybe a bit of luck. I don’t want to ruin the moment, so I’m going to stop here.
I am quite passionate about what I do. Everything that I do. So after about 10 days I was owning a food blog, I made the 10 dishes I was able to.
Q: Who’s Thomas on and off the record?
Thomas: I’m a wannabe food photographer, stylist, blogger and foodie. Off the record, I’m just another proud dad because I have a two year old boy and because I’m married with Karen. Nothing fancy beside that. Living in the Copenhagen suburbs in a little house. Addicted to ceramics and truffles.
Q: Would you say that you’re a chef or just an enthusiastic food lover?
Thomas: I have worked professionally in kitchens when I changed my career path four years ago. Before, I worked as technical product manager for an international fashion company. But the work in the kitchen was just to fill up some time and get experience. Now, I do just as much cooking as I photograph and write.
Q: Where does this genuine liaison with the culinary comes from?
Thomas: I really do not know. I come from a really average family, eating crappy to mediocre at best. But I guess I was pretty much intrigued by the food shows on the telly – especially mister Oliver. However, I was watching more than actually cooking. Then suddenly one day in 2012 I started cooking and haven’t really stopped since then.
Q: How did you start blogging and what keeps your wheels spinning?
Thomas: At first, I started a blog without any plan or direction. Just as writing a postcard home or a diary. I was working 300 km away from my girlfriend. But I quickly ran out of things to write. Guess you don’t experience much when you are working 14 hours a day, so I slept on the idea of blogging.
One night in 2012 I was lying in bed not being able to fall asleep, and I was thinking about the name “Madet Mere”. I don’t know why. Because I didn’t really cook. But for some reason I bought the domain “Madetmere.dk”.
For those who don’t speak danish, it is kind of a word play on “a lot more”, but adding a bit of food to it. It is tough to explain. So actually I had a food blog before I was able to cook a proper meal.
I hope I can inspire people to be a bit playful around their meals. But also to learn the classics. I think both are equally important.
I am quite passionate about what I do. Everything that I do. So after about 10 days I was owning a food blog, I made the 10 dishes I was able to, and I started to learn some new ones. I bought myself my first DSLR camera after five days. Had no idea what I was doing, so I had to learn.
For me, it is the process of getting better that motivates me. I have done campaigns for some of the biggest food companies in Denmark – Arla, Danish Crown, Carlsberg. But I am not satisfied, I still want to push on.
Q: How do you stand out in a world where the culinary experiences are the new hit?
Thomas: I do not know if I stand out. I just try to be as good as I can. But I am pretty fortunate — the male food blogging scene in Denmark is quite limited, so I get typecast a lot to be “male food blogger”.
I actually picked up Julia because it looks different and in my opinion better the everything else on the market.
Q: Where do you get inspiration for creating such authentic recipes?
Thomas: I get my inspiration from everywhere. It could be everything from chefs on Instagram to the local food marked, where I suddenly find a beautiful beetroot, that I can turn into something great.
Q: What do you want your audience to learn from you?
Thomas: I hope I can inspire people to be a bit playful around their meals. But also to learn the classics. I think both are equally important.
The rise to glory is long. I know a lot of people stop blogging quite fast, because it doesn’t instantly come with thousands of followers and free glamorous stuff.
Q: How did you come across Julia and what grabbed your attention?
Thomas: I guess I have had about 20 different themes on my blog in the past 5,5 years. I’m always eager to try something new or better. Something that suits the food and so on. And for some reason I am really good at picking up trending themes before they actually are in trend.
So soon after, what I thought was quite unique was suddenly looking like everybody else. So I actually picked up Julia because it looked different and in my opinion better than everything else on the market.
Q: Could you name a few ways in which our theme helps you?
Thomas: I like that the theme is so configurable, that I can decide what is shown where. When doing commercial work, it is nice that you can give those posts extra exposure.
I enjoy that it is thought of as blocks rather than just a way to show your posts from A to Z.
Q: How do you manage to be a one-man-show: content, photos, cooking?
Thomas: It is quite easy. Because I am really bad at listening to others and not being in total control. I have had 40+ people working for me in former roles, but the thing is that when it grows that big you end up doing all the boring stuff and very little of what you actually want to do. So I have decided that in my small company I should only take in assignments that I actually can do alone on a daily basis.
I work with others, but that is in a different way. I do not want to employ anybody because the focus moves from what I want to do to what they should do. And checking up on them.
Q: I guess you have a love-hate relationship with Julia. Could you share more?
Thomas: My only pain is that currently you have to fill in shortcodes for the recipe part instead of just have a form you are filling out. I would rather use something native to the theme than adding another plugin. But overall I am a very satisfied customer.
Q: How’s working with us and what are your expectations?
Thomas: Great, or else I wouldn’t be here. I haven’t got too many expectations. As long as it works I am satisfied.
Paying it forward can lead to a better blogging ecosystem, so I asked Thomas (as I did with Steve) to share a message for all the people who love stories and believe in the power of them to make the world a better place.
The rise to glory is long. I know a lot of people stop blogging quite fast because it doesn’t instantly come with thousands of followers and free glamorous stuff. But you really have to wait and push through the long period, even though it feels like you are feeding the internet with pure gold, without getting anything in return. But be patient, it will come in one way or the other.