‘My stomach runs my feed’

Yakof Debono is a Home Economics lecturer by day and an Instagram foodie sensation the rest of the time.
Yakof Debono is best known for an Instagram feed packed with delicious Maltese recipes with a twist.

Describe your social media game: my social media game revolves around one of my many obsessions, food, which is why all my accounts are 99% pictures of food, mostly snapped using a basic Samsung phone. I constantly think about food: what I want to cook or what I would like to eat. I often think of something during the night or when I am forced to socialise. I get home, wear something comfortable, open the fridge or cupboard, and whisk something up. Snap a good photo, write a recipe, and post on social media. I don’t worry about the number of likes: if I like it, I post it. So, there you have it, that is my strategy. 

Your followers tend to be: My Instagram page is both my personal feed and where I share the food I cook and eat. Therefore, my followers are a colourful mix of friends, family, foodies, food businesses, and people who share the same interests and passions as me. 

What made you take up such a career? My stomach runs my feed. Jokes aside, food and cooking are actually not my career and I do not make any profit out of it. My actual career revolves around education – I teach Home Economics and Hospitality at Secondary level and I lecture part-time at the University of Malta.

What do you believe is the role of an influencer? Honestly, I cannot stand the word. We are living in a world where many people thrive to become influencers while others glorify people for simply looking good. For me, ‘influencers’ are people who use their platforms to educate, create awareness, and express creativity. Do I call myself an influencer? Definitely not. Do I aspire to become one? Definitely not. 

Why do you believe your content is relatable? Some people simply enjoy eating, while others enjoy creative ideas to cook something different during the week. I also think that many people feel that traditional Maltese cooking is becoming somewhat extinct and therefore appreciate the fact that we can make something really delicious if we play around with local ingredients. Additionally, since I post food which I love to eat on a daily basis, people relate with the simplicity and humbleness of it all. I am not a chef, so my cooking is flawed but I feel that also makes it relatable. Home cooking is not about performance or art. It is a moment of comfort and happiness. 

Who do you follow online, and why? I enjoy following content creators across many spans. Apart from food, I love art, music, interior design, Range Rovers, memes, tattoos, and fashion. To give some examples of Maltese talent, I follow Gabriel Buttigieg for his cathartic art, The Lazarus Club by Tom Camilleri for his local interior design aesthetics, Rebecca Bonaci for her astonishing tattoos, Marilù for her food (and plates), Jeandor for his fashion and The New Victorians for their artistic music. The list goes on and on, though!

TikTok – evil or amazing? Why? I don’t have an opinion on this one, really. I don’t use TikTok and I cannot understand its success. Having said that, I don’t hate it or anyone who enjoys it obviously. 

I want to up my social media game. What do I do? Invest more in the website first and foremost. Also, one of my dreams with food is to go visit and document Maltese grannies’ cooking in their houses and cook with them. Imagine if all this is documented on Instagram and then developed into a book perhaps. I also plan on collaborating with videographers to bring my recipes to life in an interactive manner (hit me up if you are a videographer and reading this). Finally, doing short cooking videos with Maltese legends would be fun, too. Imagine cooking a dish of Timpana with Eileen Montesin or Stuffed Marrows with Renato? Heaven. 

How often do you post? I don’t have strict time frames. I try to post daily, but I often get caught up with work and forget to post anything. 

Can spontaneity and influencer co-exist? I think so, yes. While being a content creator often involves creating content (duh) and developing a consistent brand image, it does not mean that everything has to be planned out in advance. In my experience, being spontaneous can make you more relatable and authentic. 

Any nasty stalker stories? I am not well-known or famous, so not exactly. But let’s say that some people are not on my feed for the food. 

Follow Yakof Debono on Instagram on @yakofdebono. For other Sunday Circle magazine features about content creators catch up with stylist Caroline Paris or influencer Raphael Pace.

Related Posts