We had the good fortune of connecting with Kylie Mazon-Chambers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kylie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I graduated college with a degree in PR and was trying to figure out what I was going to do next. I had been applying to jobs in fashion and the entertainment industry but wasn’t passionate about it, I was just trying to check the boxes. In that time I started posting my recipes and photos and that became my career. I don’t necessarily think there was a lot of thought behind it, it morphed into my career after I found something I was truly passionate about and tried to see where it could go.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My food blog, Cooking with Cocktail Rings is inspired by all types of cuisines and types of food. My niche in the food blogging industry these days is that I don’t really have one and my recipes reflect everything that I want to eat! I not only write all the recipes I also do all the photography. Both components have taken a lot of practice to get to where I am – I have always loved photography so it has been fun to learn more about that and get creative with how I take photos of dishes and recipes. When I first started I felt like I was almost imitating others because I didn’t know what I was doing or what I wanted my aesthetic to be — over time I found my own style and voice and I think that my work has become so much stronger and consistent because of it. That is a major lesson I learned – find your style and voice and let that shape your work.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many choices! I love hosting people – I frequently have friends and family stay with us, that’s exactly why we have a guest room! While COVID has definitely changed the way I do things, I will pretend for this itinerary that life is back to normal. Los Angeles has so much to offer, from museums like the Getty and LACMA to incredible restaurants (my favorite part) and beaches and parks, I love it all. For the first dinner I would start close to where I live in Santa Monica with my favorite restaurant Cassia, it’s a Vietnamese-French restaurant with incredible dishes like chickpea curry and kaya toast, an eggy toast with coconut jam. Cassia always comes first on my list. I love taking nightly walks through Palisades Park, the bluffs overlooking the ocean. If it happens to be a Wednesday I love showing off my local farmers market in Santa Monica, I love wandering around the farm stands and checking out what is in season. I would have to include a Malibu day where we grab breakfast burritos at Lily’s then hang out at the beach for the day before stopping at Taverna Tony, a Greek restaurant, in the country mart for lunch. Next would be a stop for wine and live music at Rosenthal followed by lobster rolls and oysters at Broad Street Oyster Co. A good portion of the time would be spent doing a food tour – I love showing off my favorite restaurants like Night + Market, a great Thai spot, and impressive LA staples like Bestia and Bavel, sushi from Hamasaku, xiao long bao (soup dumplings) from ROC, cocktails and pasta from Rose Cafe, Tsukemen ramen from Tsujita, pizza from Pizzana or Jon + Vinnys and of course street tacos from stands on Lincoln in Venice to name a few.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have so many people that I have to give credit to who had a big impact on how I got to where I am. I fully believe that having a community behind you sets you up for success. I couldn’t be where I am without everyone who makes my recipes and follows Cooking with Cocktail Rings. I also need to thank my family and now husband, Aaron, who supported me when I wanted to follow a non-traditional career path in food blogging and made sure I had the resources and tools to succeed. My grandparents live in Florida and are my editors. They wake up to edit my work so that I have it back when I wake up on the West Coast. They have made me better writers and I definitely work smarter thanks to them. I trust their opinions and they also have a great turnaround time! I am also very lucky to have had some great mentors along the way. I think when you make connections with people and they offer help or insight it is important to take them up on their offer and learn all you can from them. Riki Senn was the head recipe writer for the Viking cooking school and she really helped me to learn the correct way to write and test recipes. She then put me in touch with another mentor, Anne Willan, who I interned for and was able to learn so much about cookbook writing and French cooking. My uncle is also a chef and was my original mentor when it came to cooking. One of the first things he ever taught me to make was creme brulee! My manager, Madison, from Smith & Saint helps me to stay organized and efficient in my work!
Image of Kylie, Mallory Holcomb. All others by Kylie Mazon-Chambers