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Meet Kaitlin Orr of Carnivorr

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaitlin Orr.

Kaitlin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a small town outside of Los Angeles, but it wasn’t until I moved to New York for college that I was really exposed to the culinary world. I was studying Psychology and English at Barnard College of Columbia University, but I started my food Instagram @carnivorr which allowed me to explore New York’s best restaurants in my free time.

My passion quickly became much more than a side hobby, and Carnivorr evolved from an Instagram to a full-time job, with a website, a YouTube channel, and an agent. After graduating, I decided to follow my dream and dive into the food industry.

Now, my food blog is my full-time job. I spent last fall reviewing all of Jonathan Gold’s Best LA restaurants (101 restaurants in 101 days!) before heading off on a three-month European adventure. I traveled to London, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, France, Morocco, and Spain, to review the best restaurants in town. I also spent time living on farms in Italy to get behind the scenes and learn about the production of some of my favorite foods (wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar).

I recently became a TasteHunter (a digital ambassador) for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, so I spend a lot of time traveling internationally to dine at the world’s best restaurants. I ended my European trip in Bilbao, Spain for the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony. I can’t believe that my job allows me to wine and dine with my culinary idols – I really feel like I am living my dream.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No way! Just a year ago I was contemplating giving up and deleting my blog altogether.

With the constantly changing algorithms on social media, it’s easy to get discouraged if you focus solely on your engagement, or how many “likes” and followers you have. I had to take a step back and remember why I started my blog in the first place, forget about the competition and the other bloggers, and get back to a place of creativity and passion.

Comparison is really the thief of joy. There’s room for so many voices in this industry, so I learned to lean into my own voice and interests. Even if what I’m posting gets less “likes” than what another blogger is posting, for me it has to come from a place of genuine passion. Otherwise, I lose interest!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I travel to eat! I pick an incredible food city, I research its best chefs and restaurants, and I try to hit as many spots as I can while I’m in town. (And I sightsee between meals, if there’s time, haha). I document my travels in real time on social media, and when I’m back from the trip I put together blog posts on my website highlighting my favorite restaurants from each city.

Probably the thing I’m most proud of is that I have no allergies or dietary restrictions! Haha, just kidding, I have no control over that, but I really will eat anything! Weird animals, offals, bugs, eyeballs, you name it! Any ingredient in the hands of a talented chef can be delicious.

Also, I’ll go anywhere for great food. Sometimes this means renting a car and driving hours from a major city to a three Michelin star restaurant (I have a passion for fine dining!), but sometimes this means living in a homestay with an Italian family in order to experience traditional, home cooked Italian food.

I’m also extremely proud of my “Carnivorr Goes For Gold Challenge” – I set out to eat at all 101 of LA Times Food Critic Jonathan Gold’s Best LA Restaurants in 101 days, and I was successfully the first person to accomplish this goal! That was pretty dang cool.

What were you like growing up?
I’ve always been extremely passionate, and I’ve always loved food. My first “job” was a lemonade stand that my little sister and I would set up outside our house every weekend. Now, this wasn’t your typical Crystal Light powdered lemonade.

No! We lived in an old Southern California grove home, so my sister and I would pick the lemons from our backyard, wash them, juice them, and help our mom make our famous Orr family lemonade. (Our recipe is simple, but that tree taught me a very important lesson about the quality of your ingredients – we moved houses and the store-bought lemons just didn’t taste the same!). We also would help mom make brownies or another dessert to sell with our lemonade.

Selling the lemonade was fun (we were quite the hit in our small town!), but baking with mom in the kitchen was even better.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Jim Birminham

    July 17, 2018 at 18:25

    Awesome Journey Katlin!

  2. Karla Marshall

    July 21, 2018 at 19:20

    Loved reading about how you began your journey and so glad you didn’t give up and give in to the changes that have affected so many. You are an inspiration and I am blessed to know you!

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