Eating out with your sibling seven days a week might not be every 20-something’s dream pastime, but for Melbourne foodie duo Ashley and Jordan Brown it’s all in a day’s work.
Ashley and Jordan operate Instagram account Top Food Melbourne, which has over 69,000 followers keen to track their visits to cafes and restaurants where they take mouth-watering photos of their meals.
Instagram has become the go-to social media site for inspiration on where to dine in the city.
Jordan and Ashley established their account three years ago to share pictures of their semi-regular coffee outings. “We thought it would be a cool idea to take photos and post them on Instagram while we were out and about,” Ashley says. “We didn’t actually know it could become such a big thing.”
As Top Food Melbourne gained a following, they were encouraged to make it bigger and better.
“Eventually we hit 10,000 followers, which was our goal. That’s when we started getting invited to cafes, it was so exciting,” Ashley says.
The pair have now lost count of the number of places they’ve eaten at. “We’re now looking to expand Top Food into a website.”
Stories to share
Jordan says the most important part of the experience for them is hearing the stories behind a cafe or restaurant and the people who run them. “The stories are worth sharing as much as the images of the dish they created,” he says.
Ashley says this gives them insight into why a cafe opened, what its owners are trying to achieve, and the thought behind a dish. “We feel that when we go into a cafe we get a different experience to the average customer,” she explains. “The owner or the chef will take time to come and talk to us. They put their soul into these places.”
The pair have now moved beyond running TopFood as a hobby, and have recently started charging for their time and travel to eateries that invite them. But what if they don’t like the food?
Ashley explains she and her brother “aren’t here to be food critics, so we try not to comment. We are here to show what is on offer in Melbourne and to give people more options.”
For two young Melburnians who have been to hundreds of restaurants, what is the best meal they’ve ever had?
The answer is unanimous. “Mr. Miyagi tacos in Windsor. It is the best meal we’ve ever had!”