The first time I encountered Maggie, the mastermind behind Eat Boutique, was at professional social media conference three years ago in Boston. She was speaking on a panel about community while in the process of transitioning from Trip Advisor to Haven in Paris where she had begun to work with. Being an avid reader of Haven in Paris my ears perked up when her bio was given and while I didn’t meet with her face to face until the Parisian blogger meet-up in October 2009 where I met Maggie and Erica, the owner of Haven in Paris.
Turns out that Maggie is just as infactuated with Paris as I am which is why I reached out to her to write for my A Passion for Paris series, but when I realized how Paris and Eat Boutique are linked I decided to profile Eat Boutique instead. This is a very special J’adore since it combines Maggie’s response to why she is passionate about Paris, with an interview on Eat Boutique and a giveaway for one of her adorable gift boxes.
Maggie’s Passion for Paris
I’m actually one of the few who did not dream about the city of light for eons before stepping onto its grey city streets. In fact, I fell into Paris rather unintentionally and its allure found me over months of walks down tiny corridors and hidden passageways. Paris and I had a true courtship filled with moments when we first noticed each other, when we had our first fight and when we finally fell in love. Remembering those moments makes me deeply nostalgic for the magic the city holds for those who wish to seek it.
Surprisingly, my passion for Paris is for the new. Around every corner is a young maker sharing their craft, aiming to put their mark on the food scene. The city, with its romance for all things delicious, is actually the perfect backdrop for the best sort of innovation, the kind that gives due courtesy to makers from yesteryear while daring to be just a little bit or sometimes a lot different. I miss the north Marais the most, as I suppose it’s the spot where I finally felt at home, and when I think about the new food makers taking up residence there, I feel a little pang that makes me want to get there right away.
Until my return, I browse photos of my last adventure there, taken by my friend and photographer, Heidi Murphy, of White Loft Studio.
Eat Boutique – a love for boutique food makers that recreates a sliver of the magic of Paris’ markets
I took a moment to ask Maggie a few questions about her aesthetically beautiful and tantalizing business, Eat Boutique. Supporting locally owned businesses is a passion of mine, throw in owners who are focused on foods and I am enthralled.
(1) Why did you launch EAT Boutique?
I launched Eat Boutique as a place to share stories behind all the hidden food gems I discovered during my travels. I was often the unofficial culinary travel agent for my friends, helping them eat at worthwhile spots, tiny authentic restaurants, during their trips. I started the blog simply as a way to share and get back to writing, but over time, I figured out that it might also be a business.
(2) Your products and posts are carefully curated, what do you look for in a product and in a story?
I look for delicious, beautiful food. I look for unique tastes with authentic stories. I really gravitate toward makers who modernize heirloom techniques or flavors into something brand new and special. I also love potential – perhaps something is delicious but is in its early stages so packaging is still in flux. I love to follow along the ride and do whatever I can to help share the story and even help improve packaging and design.
(3) Tell me a little bit about your markets concept and what you are up to there?
Even before I started the online shop, I wanted to bring makers and food fans together to mix, mingle, taste and talk. Food makers always got lumped onto farmers markets and never had a place to truly shine. I wanted to get to know the people behind the food I adored, and I thought that perhaps there were others who felt the same. Three Markets later, we’ve hosted more than 2000 people in Boston alone and the Markets have made us known for discovering new boutique food and drink makers from across New England. We balance out the event between established small indie businesses and makers who are just getting off the ground. It’s really a fun afternoon, more like a open house and less like a farmers market.
Eat Boutique currently has eight gift boxes in its online store including the New England box containing Nutting Farm Maple Syrup from Vermont, Lark sweet and savory olive wafers called Scourtins, Fat Spice, Blue Egg Baking Company Brownies and Little Bits Sea Salt Toffee.
All the absolutely gorgeous photos are credited to White Loft Studio, except for the gift box photo which comes from the Eat Boutique site.