Sometimes, it seems like most of the food photos on Instagram are just brags of where or what people have eaten. Sure, it keeps you informed of what you can expect at certain restaurants, but they're hardly helpful when they're just captioned with "OMG, this is ah-mazing!" Food writers and chefs, however, offer a very different look at food, giving you a sense of time and place: what's in season, what's local and what the most talked about techniques are. If you're tired of bad food photos with boring commentaries, then you need to follow these pros.
Ayden Kitchen and Bar (Saskatoon, SK)
We do throw back to Ayden Kitchen and Bar in Saskatoon a lot, but rightfully so, as these guys always keep us interested. Whoever mans its Instagram account (we suspect it's a joint effort) makes good use of professional imagery, videos and candid snaps inside the restaurant. And, thankfully, they don't use a million hash tags at the end of each description. We really like that.
Temper Pastry (Vancouver, BC)
Get your social media sugar high from this sweet (literally) Instagram feed. This chocolate and pastry shop in West Vancouver makes everything from artisan truffles to chocolate "sculptures", like artsy, orb-y chocolate bears that look almost too charming to eat. Having said that, there is nothing in this world made with chocolate that is too beautiful to eat.
Chef Dave Bohati (Calgary, AB)
Food porn isn't just about beautifully finished plates on the diner table; it's also about the ingredients and preparation. And that's why chefs are great to follow. You get a glimpse into the kitchen: the fresh produce that just arrived, the butchering of a whole animal, the pasta being shaped, the sharp tools and sometimes, even the cut fingers. Chef Dave Bohati from Calgary's Market is an active Instagrammer who posts exciting behind-the-scenes pics that make you feel like a part of the kitchen team and give you a deeper appreciation of where food comes from.
Food Writer (and soon to be cookbook author) Gwendolyn Richards (Calgary, AB)
The Calgary-based food writer not only has a cookbook (Pucker, available for pre-order on Amazon.com) coming out this fall, but has also kept us wildly entertained with her humorous recaps of the two most popular culinary competition series in Canada this year, Top Chef Canada and MasterChef Canada. When she's not dining around North America and documenting her food adventures with snapshots, she is baking, roasting and cocktail-shaking in her kitchen. Caution: images on Instagram may make you so hungry that your stomach will digest itself.
Chef Jason Bangerter (Toronto, ON)
Highly acclaimed Toronto chef Jason Bangerter of award-winning Langdon Hall tells a story about the restaurant's food with his snaps of the scenery, ingredients and animals, and dishes. The restaurant has long been known as one of the best dining destinations in this country (and possibly in the world, for that matter, according to the San Pellegrino Best Restaurants list back in 2010), and Bangerter keeps his plates contemporary and stunning. There's the occasionally selfie, too, because we can all agree that it's important to able to put a face to the plate!
Chef Matty Matheson (Toronto, ON)
There are chefs who take photos of polished fine-dining food, and then there are chefs who take pictures of those dishes, as well as foods that are outrageous, delicious and guilt-inducing. Matty Matheson of Toronto's Parts and Labour is the latter. The chef of the popular restaurant and host of Vice Canada's Munchies video series takes you on a journey with photos that are equal parts absurd and tantalizing, like mile-high sandwiches with fried chicken or gigantic meatballs. Either way, the feed is simply awesome.
Chef JP Pedhirney (Calgary, AB)
You know you're doing something right with your plating when you're noticed by the always drool-worthy Instagram feed of @theartofplating. Calgary-based Chef JP Pedhirney has an unabashed love for the molecular and at his restaurant, Muse, the gentleman creates quality tasting menus that are equally pleasing to the palate as they are to the eyes.
Chef Antonio Park (Montreal, QC)
Sure, there are sushi restaurants practically in every strip mall in Canada, so there is no shortage of sexy naked seafood on your news feed. But, if you're looking for pics of truly artful and masterfully-prepared sushi dishes that are fish heads above the rest, you simply must follow chef Antonio Park from Montreal's Park restaurant. The photos of his daily offerings — colourful and creatively arranged sushi — will make you want to book a flight to Montreal. We're serious.
Chef Danny Smiles (Montreal, QC)
Chuck Hughes right-hand man charmed Canada on the third season of Top Chef Canada and continues to be fun to follow. A vibrant mix of kicks, glimpses into the Le Bremner kitchen and the chef out on the town makes you want to tag along with Mr. Smiles for the food, fun and everything in between.
Tres Carnales (Edmonton, AB)
Calgary may get a bit more recognition than Edmonton when it comes to excitement for food, but Tres Carnales rallies hard with its top notch taco offerings. Couple the Latin-inspired cuisine with some fun personalities at the growing restaurant empire (Rostizado), and you've got an Alberta culinary account that you should definitely be keeping your eyes on.
Food Blogger Mijune Pak (Vancouver, BC)
To say Mijune Pak is prolific is an understatement. In the past year, Vancouver's top food blogger and columnist for The Westender has been all over the world. San Francisco, Hong Kong, London — you name it, she's been there, snapping pictures and giving her feedback on all the dishes she has been served along the way. When she is at home on the West Coast, you can count on Pak to make you hungry at almost any time of the day.
Writer Aimee Bourque (Montreal, QC)
Young mother Aimee Bourque is a great illustrator of the beauty of home cooking. Running the popular website, Simple Bites, she shares a ton of unique, but never too elaborate recipes, while tying in family life and emphasizing the importance of a local mentality when cooking in your own kitchen. Now, we just wish she'd invite us over for dinner already.
Chef Justin Leboe (Calgary, AB)
@justinforabite (get it?!)
Punny alias aside, chef Justin Leboe's account is follow-worthy for its blend of topics that play a role in influencing one of Canada's most celebrated chefs. It's a collage of his inspirations, style and sensibility as they relate to food and drink; and a great documentary of food culture: bourbons, happenings at Calgary's Model Milk bistro and his other restaurants, cookbooks, vinyl records and of course, ingredients and creations in the kitchen. If you are ever skeptical of the food in Alberta, thinking it's just beef and Caesars, check out his feed and prepare to feel like an idiot.
Bar Isabel (Toronto, ON)
Countless chefs in Toronto name Bar Isabel as a favourite spot, and for good reason. Grant van Gameren, who really brought charcuterie and meat-centric cuisine to Toronto's culinary forefront when he was at Black Hoof, brings Spanish-influenced plates to the city at Bar Isabel after his trek in Europe. How many Instagram feeds have pics of goose barnacles?
Food Writer/Blogger Kathy Jolllimore (Halifax, NS)
We really tried our best to leave her off of this list since Ms. Jollimore is a regular contributor to our site, but when it comes to cuisine in the gorgeous city of Halifax, we challenge you to find someone else in that city who keeps us just as enticed as Kathy does. Her balance of pictures of home recipes and restaurant outings always perplex us as to whether we want to eat at a restaurant or cook at home.
Damn you, Jollimore!