Meet Ingleside's Own Food Content Creator Charlene Louie

Ingleside's own food content creator talks about how she picked up her delicious side hustle.

Woman holding coffee
Charlene Louie | Anne Marie Kristoff/Ingleside Light

Between working as a technical recruiter for a start-up and spending time with her family and French Bulldog Ziggy, Charlene Louie highlights local businesses through short form videos.

The San Francisco native and Ingleside resident started her social media side hustle during the pandemic.

“I worked in the food industry since I was 15,” Louie said. “Restaurants started opening up and TikTok was a big thing. I started posting on TikTok and then Instagram Reels. Everything just came naturally after that.”

Her go-to spots on Ocean Avenue include Beep’s Burgers, Sakesan Sushi & Robata and Acai R. Other favorites are Super Star Restaurant in the Excelsior neighborhood and Niku Steakhouse on Division Street.

Now, with over 48,000 followers combined on her social media channels, she takes to the Bay Area streets every week to do both paid and unpaid videos about what’s good to eat.

“I feel very lucky and blessed to have this platform and I get to do things that I really enjoy,” Louie said. “Now I get to do it and have a bigger platform and share it with more than just my friends and family.”

The Ingleside Light caught up with Louie to talk about her content creation.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What is your content creating process like?

In the beginning, I was going to places that I've been wanting to go. I would pay for it myself because, the restaurants are not comping your food. Now I have a setup: I have this obnoxious light. I need it to make the food look good. Especially if a restaurant's asking me to go there and make marketing content for them. So I go there, I ask the restaurant, “What do you want? What do you want to showcase?” I usually let them pick ‘cause they probably know what looks best on camera. I eat the food. I always bring either my mom and dad with me or my friends so they can enjoy the food too. I'm not going to eat all this food to myself. The food is comped usually, which is very nice but I always make sure to tip because it's usually not the owners who are providing the food for me or serving. Then I use an app called CapCut to help edit and then I post it on TikTok and Instagram. I try to upload the week after, maybe like one to two weeks after, especially during the holidays. It's just a busy time.

Woman with burger.
Charlene Louie at the one and only Beep's Burgers. | Courtesy Image

Do you have any memories that stand out to you from your content creation?

There's so many. I think, maybe, my first time ever getting invited to an event or where they wanted me to go there, try out the food and make a video for them. It was actually my friend Angelina [Hong]. She runs a food PR company called Gourmand Group and she invited me and that was really fun. I felt really cool. I was like, “Oh wow, this is what it's like to be a food content creator.” And then me and her are now really dear friends. It's great to see how that relationship progressed.

What has been the hardest part about being an influencer?

I would say probably having to have thick skin when you read the comments. I've realized that you just got to ignore it and scroll past it. That’s hard. Also just time management too because sometimes I do get creative blocks during the times where I'm free and I can edit but I don't want to edit. I want to not do anything. I get lazy because it's like a second job but sometimes I'm not doing everything paid, so I'm doing it because I know that it’ll help grow my page or I because I want to share it with my platform.

What is something you want people to know here?

I just want them to know like what they see online is what they get with me. I'm just a girl from the Bay Area who likes to eat food. I hope no one takes it too seriously. It's just fun. I hope people watch my stuff and it makes their day a little better. I'm not too serious with it. I'm not a food critic or whatever. I mean, I grew up eating everything like I eat spam. I'm Filipino. I eat canned food so my palate is everywhere. I like to have fun.

Do you have any advice for people trying to branch out into this online space?

I would say do it because you like it, because people are going to find out if you don't like it. It's going to come through. Try to find something that's going to put an edge on your content. I'm not really good at cinematography — I never took a videography class — but I try to compensate with my voiceovers. I try to add some personality. Show my face. Really just try to figure out why people should watch your content over anyone else's. It’s pretty saturated, right? So that's important. Just don't stress. Just have fun with it because you have to have fun. Don't be so serious about it or else it's not going to feel fun and you're not going to want to do it anymore.

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