Candace Boyd is an Indianapolis-based food creative who prefers to live her life well-seasoned.
In addition to being a full-time mom to her seven-year-old daughter, she’s the creative director for her blog, FoodLoveTog. Named after her love of food and photography, Boyd uses it to share her flavorful recipes in hopes of inspiring others to get creative in the kitchen.
“FoodLoveTog started out as a blog of sharing recipes,” she says. “Someone started asking me about how I cook certain items, so I kind of started sharing that and started writing. I’ve always been a writer, always sharing recipes, way before the foodie lifestyle was a thing.”
One thing Boyd is especially known for is her personal spice blends: Signature House Seasoning, Garlic Goodness Signature Seasoning, YoungBae Signature Seasoning, and LemonPeppa Signature Seasoning. So much so, it’s earned her the title ‘Spice Slanger’ among other local chefs. Her seasonings are even used in a handful of professional kitchens around the city. And, like a true Hoosier, she’s also known for her ranch recipe.
We caught up with Boyd and picked her brain for some meal planning tips, insight into the Indy food scene, and which woman she’d like to have dinner with the most.
Maven superpower: Connecting people. In whatever space I’m in, I’m going to curate that event to make sure that the people are going to mesh well, and the food is going to mesh well.
What does your day-to-day work routine look like?
Well, right now we’re in a panini. I’m focused on working from my home office and eLearning a first grader. I manage my day job and then work on creative things like getting spice orders out, hosting virtual cooking demos, writing and testing recipes as my brain allows and enjoying the Indiana weather from my back patio. I’m often on social media making jokes and responding to food conundrum DMs while eating croissant toast every chance I get. Most days start early around 7:30/8:00 a.m. and don’t end until 11 p.m. or so.
What inspired you to start your blog, FoodLoveTog?
To be a vehicle for people who aren’t necessarily comfortable in the kitchen. Learning that so many people weren’t comfortable and just knowing basic recipes, like how to boil rice and how to make roasted chicken. I realized that there are few people that don’t necessarily know that. So, just wanting to share and help people out, really. Helping is kind of what happened and how it got me started.
What was it like starting a blog from the ground up?
I would tell them to just start somewhere and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect for you to start. Remember that you have something to share and a gift to give to the world, so do that and do that unapologetically. I would say connect with other foodies in your city and your area and be willing to reach across the aisle and express your creativity but don’t be afraid to just start.
What’s your earliest memory of loving food and cooking?
My dad likes to tell the story that I fried my first egg at the age of 6, but that’s not my first memory. My first memory is probably being in the kitchen with my mom, picking vegetables for a big Sunday dinner. That was always my job. I’d help pick the green beans or scrub the potatoes, that sort of thing. And then my grandparents had a garden, so I remember going out to their garden. I spent a lot of time with them and I would go out to our garden and grab a tomato or some cabbage or something like that. Just knowing food was the center and is the center of my home.
Who is a guest chef that you’d love to have in your kitchen?
I would love to cook with G. Garvin. I’m a huge fan of his and I just think he is so handsome.
What are three of your must-have items in the kitchen?
Seasoning for one thing because I’m known as the Spice Slanger. Also, probably a great deep skillet and parchment paper.
Tell us more about your spice line. How’d it start?
So, I have a spice line that’s been curated since 2014, but I’ve been making my spice blends for years. It started out as helping my dad with his blood pressure and making a seasoning blend that was a little less salty for him. Then in 2016, Chef Oya reached out to me to make a blend for her restaurant. It’s kind of just ballooned from there. I now season The TRAP, Goose the Market, and Cleo’s Bodega. It’s four different blends and they’re all small-batch, hand-crafted, by me.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Indy?
I love Northside Social and Sangrita Saloon.
Do you have any tips for getting home cooked meals on the dinner table during those crazy busy weeks?
So, meal prep. Definitely start on Sunday and get an idea of what you want to have for dinner. Make meals that you can stretch. So, for instance, if I’m going to make a pot roast on Sunday, we can then turn that same pot roast into delicious beef sandwiches and all of these different things. So, think about if you’re going to have a major protein and think about a protein that you can use in multiple meals.
Who’s a chef that you admire?
How do you see the Indy food scene expanding in the future? What could be added to it?
The Indy food scene is super expansive and super creative. I love what Garage Food Hall is doing. I’m loving what I’m seeing in terms of pop ops and accelerator kitchens. I think the melting pot of culture is exploding in our food scene right now. What could be added: I’d like to see more soul food restaurants on the northwest side! That’s me being greedy.
What’s the hardest part about being a chef?
For me it’s staying creative just for my own benefit. I think sometimes I’m so focused on what I do with and for others that I forget to just be creative for me and enjoy that part of my life.
If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
My great-grandmother. She really shaped a lot of how I feel about food and she was just this amazing woman with southern roots. She taught me how to catch a fish, how to fry a fish and just do all these things. I would love to be able to eat with her because she died before I was able to really hone my cooking skills. I was a young teen when she died so I didn’t really get to flex for her. So, I would love to just sit at her table and feed her and give her back some of what she gave to me.
Samantha Kupiainen is a regular Indy Maven contributor.
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