There are two things that are guaranteed to do well on Instagram: babies and food. When you combine the two, it's like catching lightning in a bottle. That's exactly what Mike Chau did when he combined his two passions: great food and his kids. His Instagram account, @foodbabyny, has gained 161,000 followers since it was created in June of 2014, and its success has just as much to do with Mike's ridiculously photogenic children as it does with the amazing New York food scene. Is there a sound between yum and awww?
People on the street often recognize Mike and his little family from their Instagram page. Matty, Mike's son and the oldest of the Chau siblings, is the most easily recognizable. Sammy, Matty's baby sister, is quickly gaining notoriety though, as she replaces her brother as the "official" Food Baby. Mike says it's not unusual for people, usually young girls, to stop them in restaurants or around town for a quick selfie. Matty is never camera-shy and will act like a complete ham for his fans. Still, when they were just starting out, all that attention was a bit surprising for Mike and his wife, Alex. "We started getting thousands of followers and Matty was getting recognized on the street. It was pretty fast and pretty crazy," Mike told Reader's Digest.
Despite all the fame this foodie family stumbled into, they actually had very humble beginnings. Both Mike and Alex work full-time, so going out to eat was just a fun hobby. Yet Mike's foodie roots showed even back then. He started a Yelp account back in 2012 and soon became an elite contributor for the site. Between the time he started the account and 2017, he posted an astonishing 1,375 reviews. All of those reviews had photos attached and that is how Food Baby got it's unexpected start. While snapping a picture of his sushi takeout, Mike happened to catch baby Matty in the background. He was charmed by the picture, thinking it was kind of cute and funny, so he kept it. Soon after, Mike joined Instagram and began regularly posting his pictures of Matty and delicious foods. The rest is history.
Though that's how Food Baby got its start, Matty isn't a baby now, so the title doesn't quite fit him anymore. Luckily for the Chau clan, baby Sammy soon came along and is doing quite well in the role of Food Baby. Affectionately called "Food Baby 2" by her parents and fans alike, she seems to be taking her newfound fame in stride. While Matty's tastes are becoming a bit more typical for a kid his age (he loves hot dogs, candy, pizza and Pringles), Sammy is still open to new experiences. She even tried brain, though she spit it right back out.
What are the must-visit restaurants in New York that Mike and his family just can't get enough of? Nom Wah Nolita, Mimi Cheng's Dumplings, Soft Swerve, and Emmy Squared. "I could go on and on! We have lots of favorites," Chau told Reader's Digest. If it got a recommendation from Mike, you can trust that the review is his honest opinion. Though Mike and his Insta-famous family often dine for free in exchange for reviews or the chance to be featured on Food Baby (which can mean an instant boost of business for restaurants), they only post food and endorse companies that the family actually loves. "Our followers have come to trust what we order and I don't want to steer them astray," he said in an interview with Reader's Digest.
Though it's not his day job, Mike still loves what he does. He told Cosmopolitan, "I love to eat. I love to spend time with my family. And that's what I do every day. We get to be together. I can't ask for more than that." It's also great to see the next generation of foodies, and it doesn't hurt that they're so adorable, to boot. It's almost enough to make you forget all about the food. Well, almost. That food looks so freaking good.