Over the last few years Natalie Taste and her Instagram Page & Blog, YourInnerFatGirl, has grown from just sharing pictures of the best cuisine that New Orleans has to offer to a full blown body positivity movement. Natalie’s positive vibe has encouraged women to not choose fork over fashion, but embrace both and your curves. Recently Woman To Woman Talk had the opportunity to speak with Natalie about her role as a food critic, the rise and role of women of color in the culinary community, how YourInnerFatGirl came to be and the plans to continue the brand’s message, and of course we had to get Natalie’s professional opinion on some great eats in The Big Easy.
W2WT: What prompted you to become a food critic?
NT: My passion for food and being a part of pushing the culture in New Orleans and beyond. I consider it my calling.
W2WT: Has your work ever been critiqued or judged by other food critics? If so, how was that experience & what did you gain from it?
NT: Not to my attention. I find that I don’t group myself under an umbrella to ever fit within a lane of anyone else in the restaurant/tourism field to be critiqued.
W2WT: There are a lot of people that define themselves as influencers that effect food culture. How do you blaze your own trail and stand in what you bring to the table?
NT: I believe I walk to the beat of my own drum by not trying to fall into any particular category in the food influencer space. When I think I could either be a chef, a recipe curator, food blogger, food critic and/or
W2WT: The food and culinary world historically haven’t had a lot of spaces for women of color to be visible leaders, have you seen this shift in recent years ? If so, how ?
NT: When you think of a head chef, the image of a man may come to mind. However, back in the day at home a woman was seen to run a kitchen. It seems as though when recognition is involved, the man is highlighted. Back to your question. Yes I’ve seen a tremendous shift! I’d say this is a result of the women empowerment, and the black girl magic movement being driven through social media. There’s buzz around seeing women of color excel. In the past years, you’ll see networks, publications and media alike in search of women doing great things in the kitchen. For example Nina Compton of Compere Lapin, Bywater American Bistro, and Pinky Cole of Slutty Vegan.
W2WT: How and why did you choose to name your brand; “YourInnerFatGirl?”
NT: It honestly just came to me and I went with it. My nickname is Fat, and the IG page was my path of showing my inner self or inner Sasha Fierce. My passion for the food was the icing on the cake. The name, YourInnerFatGirl stuck.
W2WT: How is YIFG helping to further the message of body inclusivity and positivity ?
NT: YIFG is continuing this message by breathing body positivity and inclusivity through the YIFG community, and the brand messaging.
W2WT: What are some of the new and exciting things happening for YIFG ?
NT: Right now I’m most excited about my collaboration with a New Orleans woman-owned ice cream company called HoodCream. We came up with two flavors inspired by my latest campaign, Good Fat V Bad Fat. And we will be hosting a pop-up to get into the consumers hands. Also, my team and I developed a restaurant program that will help me towards YIFG’s long-term goals.
W2WT: What’s something that most don’t know about you that you wish the world knew ?
NT: People don’t know that I studied Fashion & Business in college and YIFG is actually my side hustle. Even my family members that follow along with YIFG’s journey are shocked when they find out I work a 9-5.
W2WT: What’s the best advice you ever received ? What’s the worst ?
NT: I wasn’t given this advice directly, but this tip resonated with me when I was watching the Social Proof YouTube . Grant Cardone did an interview and said, “Overcommit, overdeliver, and get loud.”
W2WT: Over the last few years NOLA has been having a big moment, what makes it so special for you?
NT: Yes! In the music industry, culinary, film and more. The moment is special because it fosters opportunity for my community and widens the view of what New Orleans has to bring to the dinner table.
W2WT: When people plan to visit NOLA they usually stick to Bourbon St. for everything. What’s a few hidden gems that locals know that everyone should be going to when they visit ?
NT: Great question because I’m fed up witnessing tourists being misguided when in New Orleans. They need to be visiting Vyonne’s in the warehouse district for a French/creole meal, Barrows for a fish plate and chargrilled oysters, Heard Dat Kitchen for your seafood/soul food basics, and Hanks Bar & Grill for a loaded, seafood baked potato.
W2WT: What are you looking to accomplish in the next two years?
NT: In the next two years, I’d like to resign from my 9-5 and be able to support myself solely off YIFG. Hopefully in a new city. A Fat’s Food Tour sounds like a plan too 🙂
Many thanks Natalie for sharing part of her story with W2WT. Go to yourinnerfatgirl.com to learn more about Natalie, the brand, and to buy merch. Be sure to follow YIFG on Instagram by clicking the links above.