Visualize And Bring Your Ideas To Life - Annika J Panikker

Emotion. I think that is the biggest captivator. People need to relate to the content, it should be easy and understandable in order for an impact to be created. There are many more aspects to this however this is the most important one based on my experience in my industry. 

1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I grew up being curious about the kitchen. Why flour and water forms a dough and how when cooked with different methods yields different results. It fascinated me to see the science behind cooking and baking but what made me realize this was my passion, was to feed people around me and see the joy on their faces. So I can say with absolute honesty I am one of those blessed people who knew what their passion was at a very young age.

From then on it was normal for me to buy cookbooks as bedtime reading material, watched cooking shows while everyone else watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S (don't get me wrong I am totally Monica), tried out new foods at various restaurants with my family and friends, all of which was in Bombay, India. 

Until I moved to Dubai to study further which was one of the best experiences of my life. Culinary school was a definite game changer. International exposure was a great way for me to know that there was more to the industry. 

What I learned as time passed, having worked in the kitchen, as a culinary trainer, forager through my travels, food blogger, culinary based panelist, a food writer, a food photographer and stylist is that my passion was not only cooking and feeding people but creating an impact. I currently reside in Dubai and am self employed as a freelance food content creator for various platforms/brands.

2. What led you to start your page on Instagram and what is it about?

My instagram account was created over 8 years ago however when I joined Instagram it was not for work. It is only a couple of years ago that I invested my time into sharing more about my culinary journey. As time passed and as I shared my life (which is always around food) things started to change and a community was created which I refer to as my Ninja Foodie Community.

Why Ninja? To cook/bake you must be prepared, aware and ready for what lies ahead - much like the demeanor of a ninja. Today my page has become a great culinary space for my community to share their special culinary experiences. I help them with their baking queries while I constantly update new recipes from all genres of the books.

Also, I love sharing out of the box recipes like my Sunflower seed bread. The content on my page is solely me, how I see and eat food. Ever since the lockdown this year, I started something called the NInja Bake Along which is every Saturday at 2pm UAE time. We make quarantine friendly recipes aka with tons of substitutes and cooking methods just to get your mind off 2020 and all that's going on. Cooking/Baking has been a sense of therapy and calm for me hence sharing that feeling was important to me.

3. How would you distinguish the term blogger from an influencer?

At the outset I don't consider myself to be either of them. Reason being, I believe the terms have been used and abused in the past 10 years when the power of social media came to the forefront. I think it is vital to believe in something, to create an impact for the better, to work towards change, etc.

These are the reasons for doing what I do on social media today. In saying this I do have a blog where I share my recipes and anecdotes of my kitchen adventures including my travel escapades. Sharing my mistakes and problems so you can avoid them in the kitchen.

The Blog is recent and has just come into existence there is a lot more I want to share and express on that space as time progresses.Today having a large number on social media platforms creates the concept of an influencer however being able to own up to something is important in my opinion.

4. Is it financially sustainable to be an influencer today?

Yes it is, however if you are working for yourself and are an influencer full time, it is important to develop multiple revenue streams to create more stability with your business and growth. You always got to hustle and push for better.

5. What do you think influences consumer behavior?

Emotion. I think that is the biggest captivator. People need to relate to the content, it should be easy and understandable in order for an impact to be created. There are many more aspects to this however this is the most important one based on my experience in my industry.

6. What is your idea of success or your mantra in life?

My idea of success is being able to impact change for the better, creating better lives through mine, finding ways to sincerely spread joy through food. My mantra in life to always be grateful for the plate half full rather than half empty, I am an advocate of positive energy and I believe it does wonders when
employed into your daily mindset, hence #PositiveNinjaVibes

7. How can someone become a successful social media influencer?

Content & Consistency. You need to create good content, find ways to visualize your ideas enough to bring it to life so it can become relatable to others. Sharing these ideas consistently showcases passion, persistence and personality which creates a comfort level with the audience and allows them to trust you leading them to listen and even invest into you.

8. Which is your favorite book and why?

I have soooo many! Okay let's break this down, I'll give you a few book authors as well as titles:

CookBooks - Julia Child, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Madhur Jaffery, Maunika Gowardhan, Erin Mcdowell, Nigel Slater, Dianne Jacobs, Alice Waters, Ottolenghi, Anthony Bourdain, Rick Stein, etc.

Books - The Alchemist, The Prophet, Becoming, Daring Greatly, etc

- Annika J Panikker, Influencer

- Interviewed by Shilpy Sharan

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