The taste of real – a conversation with the Gnambox

A genuine, heartening story, endowed with that special something that makes it unique and definitely addictive. Gnambox, cuisine and lifestyle blog, is for its founders, Stefano and Riccardo, a way of life. Container of experiences, tastes, advice, and get-togethers, today Gnambox has already turned into a seasonal and contemporary cooking blog, a supercool guide of Milan and, most importantly, a social entity with thousands followers. We have interviewed them to understand what inspired this genuine and fresh blog, grasp the limits imposed by a 3.0 job, and steal the secrets of their success.

Gnambox: a job or a way of life?
We started by posting whatever we liked, thus creating a container of recipes and many other passions, as the name suggests. Without giving it too much thought, we could see it change and develop with us, until it became the natural transposition of our taste, our aesthetics, hence, doubtlessly our lifestyle. Building an editorial line in this way, based on our style, was the main ingredient for a winning project. We feel we are incredibly lucky to be able tell about our daily life, turning it into a pleasant experience for those who decide to follow it: the recipes we post are what we eat, the same applies for the dishes used to served them, everything comes from our pantry, which allows us to never compromise and to communicate something we believe in. As the project expanded, it also became more articulated, so it also became necessary to establish some rules. Basically we have one simple tenet: only when we feel like it! (They state with rare and priceless artlessness. EN). We never force ourselves to publish something for engagement or visibility purposes, even though, sometimes, we feel we are a wee bit too reserved. We could “ride the wave” of the social macro-trends of the day, but, for the time being, it is not a strategy we are interested in. Some weeks back, we were having lunch with our families and published a group post, something we would do with our friends. We received hundreds of messages from people who were surprised and thrilled by that type of sharing…we did not expect this! If we were that kind of trend catchers, we would organize a social lunch with our families every Sunday (they laugh), but this is not what we are interested in.

For a blogger/influencer to be successful, versatility and novelties are essential. You clearly managed to keep your “Gnam box” open, how did you do that?
One should never be self-referential; always introduce new topics and ideas to keep the box open. Although our blog is a personal container of the things we love, it also represents a chance for ongoing interchange with the outside world. All through the first year of our project, we went totally unnoticed, we appeared for the first time with a pic we shot on Valentine’s day, in 2013, and we understood straight away that it was the right thing to do. Showing who the cooks actually were, who hid behind Gnambox, was the answer all our followers were waiting for. “Who are you? How many of you? Is there an editorial board? Where is it? How does it look like?” These were the most frequently asked questions by our followers; answering them turned the project into what it is today. Versatile? Gnambox is a blend, a mix of shades: we started by talking about food, which has remained the common thread connecting all the other contents we have gradually introduced. The travel section, for example, is now the most substantial part, after the food one.

What is your advice to those who want to follow in your footsteps and turn their passion into a job?
First-of-all, it has to be a great passion. This path requires much dedication and energy; as far as we are concerned, that fact that it is two of us has been a great bonus, above all in consideration of the assiduousness it requires; whatever one cannot do, the other can. Having clear ideas as to what you want to communicate, while keeping in mind that the quality of the project lies in the personal slant it is endowed with: even the umpteenth food and lifestyle blog can still be absolutely unique, if it features a personal and subjective perspective. The key point is consistency. Being consistent with yourself or with the line you have chosen. In our case, the two things coincide. Consistency, assiduousness and uniqueness are the rules that we would suggest others to play by, as we are the first to do so.

Does being and influencer implies having a busy agenda, how has your daily routine changed? How much stress and how much fun is there to it?
We have never regarded the “influencers” part of the project as a job, while the editorial part of Gnambox is more demanding: planning, doing research, producing contents; influencing people is a natural consequence of these. We do not wake up in the morning thinking: “What a wonderful influencer life we are leading!” (So Stefano, laughing. EN). This is just a necessary step, an evolution. Whenever your followers appreciate what you do, they will be, to some extent, influenced by it. Our agenda? Yes, it is very busy, also because there is no clean-cut separation between work and private life, or rather, our everyday life is our job. Events and meetings are a crucial part of it, and they are very thought-provoking and inspiring, but they can also be stressful, at times even alienating: that’s why finding some time to be off-line is critical… The most glaring example is travel: it is an occasion for communication, hence for research and production (they show us some vibrant snapshots of their journey in Africa). If we allowed this activity to prevail every time we go on holiday, we would never get a chance to enjoy our free time. So we have to decide well in advance when we are going to be on-line or off-line, establishing a priori what is meant to be “exclusively” our very personal memory. The funniest part is certainly having the chance to discover a wealth of interesting things about the places we visit, thanks to the contacts we make with many different people who end up becoming part of the project. Not being overly focused on what goes on online is another mantra that has helped us remember that not everything that happens has to go public via the web.

Business partners, but also partners in life, how has this influenced your project?
100%, that’s the reason why it was born in the first place. We both had creative jobs, which did not fully satisfy us, hence a common desire: developing a project together, to grow together. Thinking of all the couples who choose never to collaborate professionally, we feel we are pretty lucky, as we agree on many things and we were both ready to embark on the project. Focusing the project on our personal life as a couple has definitely helped, plus it has made it more consistent. Feigning empathy for the cameras not only works, we do not need to do that, we are at our best, and at our worst, around the clock…We could never end up being fake! Since we live together, we have grown together, and the project with us!

Beauties in the kitchen. Tell us about your Gnambox style
Aesthetics is an essential factor for us, it enhances Gnambox while making it really our world, as it is what best mirrors our personalities, while avoiding to turn it into a mere style exercise. Defining our style? We were unable to give it a name until we read an interview on the New York Times on the “new normal”. A reassuring kind of normality, never excessive, and yet never boring. A contemporary and amusing sort of normality, like our cuisine, with that special something that makes it interesting and irresistible.

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