Cloudy Kitchen: Kiwi Instagram baker living in NYC


Kiwi foodie Erin Clarkson may have taken on the big New York City with her husband Richard, but she hasn't lost her home-grown passion for cooking.

The 24-year-old ex-geologist is the baker behind Instagram account @cloudykitchen, which seven months into its digital debut has attracted more than 8000 followers.

The aesthetically-pleasing feed, filled with simple-yet-mouth-watering edibles, brings a splice of comforting Kiwi cooking to a city where most think creating your own food is daunting.

The Nelson-raised Ms Clarkson's passion started young.

"I grew up with a massive family. I have 18 cousins. We have heaps of close friends and there were always people at our house, so I've always eaten everything made from scratch."

After working at an oil rig for a year, marrying Richard and relocating to a tiny apartment in Brooklyn, she started playing around with her hobby.

"I love making my own stuff, looking at recipes and trying them and putting my spin on them," says Ms Clarkson.

In the past Ms Clarkson has experimented with brown butter, sage and biscotti, but, she says, "fresh pasta is our little obsession at the moment."

A New York dinner guest visited the apartment one night and Ms Clarkson made him fresh fettuccini and a "super simple pesto."

"He was like, 'Did you make all of this?' and it was like, 'You know, it's not hard'. He was so in the mind-set that they can't cook because it's too hard."

But she says social media is changing this, with the online food culture booming.

"It has a crazy following. I'm sure I didn't have that when I was younger. I mean, there were food magazines, but as social media got bigger it's grown with it. I think it's really cool. More and more people are being inspired to make stuff."

Ahead of launching her own food blog within the next two months, Ms Clarkson says online foodies tend to go one of two ways.

"You can either be someone who is super relatable, or you can be someone who is like 'Wow, they do crazy stuff, I could never do that'. You're constantly trying out new things. My photo album is all screenshots of things I've found from random trawling on the internet.

"I've got a list on my phone of techniques I want to try, or random flavour combinations I have come up with."

But the combinations aren't tricky and she doesn't stick to one genre.

"I like good food, made from scratch. It doesn't have to be really complicated. I'm a big believer in having a simple meal, but each element is made really well."

Ms Clarkson takes inspiration from bloggers My Name is Yeh and Local Milk.

Although her Instagram account is not full-time yet, she's enjoying the chance to experiment, recently baking four four-inch cakes as collaboration with a cake-stand maker.

"With those cake stands I was just going to go for tiny cupcakes, and then all of a sudden I got carried away and spent all morning making these four tiny cakes."

But it's not just miniature cakes. She made a "four-tier monster" wedding cake a couple of months ago, and even her own wedding cake.

Cloudy Kitchen: Kiwi Instagram baker living in NYC


"Everyone gets food given to them. Wherever I go anywhere I use it as an excuse, like ‘What can I bring?’"