We meet in one of the quaint cafes in the heart of Jezyce - one of the districts and a culinary center of Poznan - close to the Concordia Design building, where the interactive agency White Ducky has its office. That’s where the duo works every day, and that’s where it all began. On the one hand, they started getting to know the new media - now, they’re Internet communication specialists for whom Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram have no secrets - on the other, they had to find the way to pass the time during long lunch breaks. That’s how, one day, they headed towards the city to eat. And to take pictures.
Impromptu action? Yup, but a controlled one
- We were searching for ourselves, for our place on the web. Initially, we wanted to go into fashion, but the market is already crowded enough, so we let this idea go. One day in the office we started posting photos on Instagram of what we ate for lunch. In fact, that’s how it all began - says Mateusz.
At first, they published photos of meals they ate in a given restaurant, rating it on the 1-10 scale and always adding a price of a dish and a short description of a place - it’s interior, atmosphere, service. Time passed and, thanks to people’s reactions and comments, they started to develop and decided to pay attention to the quality and aesthetics of their photos and the language used in posts. The aim of MYTUJEMY was not necessarily clear by then. The fun, however, was great.
The more Instagram followers Magda and Mateusz had, the more social media channels they added. Instagram and Snapchat serve mostly as channels for visual communication, while the MYTUJEMY group on Facebook is a platform for exchanging opinions and information. - Friends and strangers alike started writing to us, asking where they could take a girlfriend on a date or where they could eat the best fish, seafood, burgers. It was no longer possible for us to answer all the private messages. The group functions as a forum, a magazine of information and threads. I’m happy that it lives the life of its own, that people give each other recommendations on where to eat well, not only in Poznan - says Magda.
Is it possible to eat for a living?
MYTUJEMY, jointly: - The restaurant industry seems to not realize how powerful social media and the so-called buzz marketing really are. The times when a restaurant could prosper only thanks to good food are over. Competition is enormous and even if you serve food that tastes perfectly, you have to keep reminding people of your existence. That’s why restaurants organize tastings and invite bloggers - reviews keep piling up on the web. Instagram is a powerful tool, but its potential isn’t fully exploited in a local context.
How do they work? - Our Instagram profile is our portfolio while the reviews we write are a kind of investment. It’s thanks to MYTUJEMY and a considerable traffic we’ve generated that we’re now invited to participate in various food projects or share our point of view in an expert magazine. We take special pride in the fact that we’ve been featured in Gazeta Wyborcza, or other professional and trade magazines such as Biznes Restauracje & Catering or Magazyn Galerie Handlowe. We compiled a list of the most fancy and Instagram-worthy restaurants in Poland for ELLE Polska and made a ranking of the most popular food spots in Poznan for F5 magazine and we do it periodically for Radio ESKA.
Sometimes restaurateurs ask them to come and take pictures of their place and food because they like the already characteristic MYTUJEMY style. For Magda and Mateusz such propositions are a job, and they treat them as one. After all, that’s why they invest in their actions. Their relations with restaurateurs remain clear and uncompromising.
- Indeed, we are being invited to degustations and tastings of new menus. At the beginning, each invitation made us super excited, but now, when we sometimes receive 5 or 6 invitations a day, we draw lots to decide which one of us should go (laughter). Of course it’s not like we’re being invited to a place where they offer us money for a favorable review of bad food. It’s unacceptable! When we go to a restaurant, it’s always under one condition - we have the right to judge subjectively. Subjectivity is something we stress a lot, that’s why we come out on top of numerous situations. We would never call ourselves culinary critics; we have no aspirations of this kind. We just write point-blank whether the food is good, the interior is nice and the service is friendly.
There’s quite a number of culinary magazines on the market, considering the recently more and more popular trend for eating well. However, these magazines are usually aimed at specific, well-versed and, one could say, niche readers. So far, there’s been no medium that would be aesthetically catchy and available for ordinary or “random” readers, as Mateo likes to say, who look for a spot with good and tasty food. The power of MYTUJEMY lies in its simple, emotional language and natural or amateurish, if you like, approach to the trade. We shouldn’t forget about capacious stomachs!
Competition? No one eats as much as we do!
- Honestly - we think we’ve found a niche and, in our opinion, we are one of a kind, even though there are a lot of copycats and Instagram accounts imitating our style and language. We’ve got the advantage because daily lunch breaks at work oblige us to go somewhere and eat, whether we want it or not. Sometimes the break takes longer that it should for we stand in a line in front of Kolorowa to buy ice cream (adorable chuckle). We feel comfortable, though, because if we don’t manage to finish the work on time in the office, we can always take it home.
- Every day we review one lunch, but it happens that we visit 3 or 4 restaurants a day. I don’t even have a fridge in my apartment anymore! The old one is broken and I really don’t need a new one. If it happens (and it rarely does ;)) that I have to eat something at home, I buy myself a natural yoghurt ;) - Mateusz admits with disarming honesty.
- When it comes to me, I don’t need a kitchen at all. In fact, only my boyfriend uses it - adds Magda.
Don’t you feel overeaten yet?
- When it comes to certain places - we do - but when it comes to eating outside - never! Also, we will never get tired of taking photos - says Mateusz, pulling out his smartphone for the ordered dishes have just arrived. Without interrupting the conversation he stands up and slightly moves a bowl of soup and a fork… the sound of a click! And the job is done.
- At first, taking photos was very time-consuming. Now, we just need a good frame - one click, and we’re done. We’re not carrying heavy devices with us; smartphones are our only tools. We use them to take pictures, post them online and wait to see what happens to them - Mateusz sums up.
We eat and, meanwhile, Mateo - taking one piece of salad after another - edits a photo.
- Photo editing and description making doesn’t take much time. What does, however, is the supervision of what’s going on around our posts. We have to monitor comments and reply to messages. Basically, we’re online all the time - admits Magda.
They have followers, imitators and a whole bunch of invitations to interesting projects. We can boldly say they’ve succeeded. They’ve created their own space. Did it come as a surprise?
- It certainly did. We had no idea that a simple Instagram profile could shape us professionally. We didn’t expect it to broaden our horizons and possibilities to the extent that we’d start thinking about MYTUJEMY in business terms. But when you can do what you like and derive profit from it, why not do it? It’s a dream come true position.
Menu tasting at NIFTY No. 20
Stories? Only culinary ones
Do you still like to eat? (the clang of cutlery and the sound of chewed food...) In chorus: - Sure we do!
- We like the entire atmosphere, not only food. We like visiting restaurants, looking at interiors, talking to owners. We love these moments when the tasting is over and we are joined by the owner of a place we’re in. There are three people by the table - the ones who’ve had the most wine ;) - and they start telling stories, unrecorded ;) We talk about people for whom running their own restaurant was the only way to improve their lives after reaching the bottom, about quitting a job at a corporation, and various final yet fortunate decisions. That’s precisely the best thing - meeting people by the table, people who are unique and whom you wouldn’t have met anywhere else.
For, in the world of food and restaurants, the most fascinating thing is getting to know other people’s stories, getting to know food spots inside out and discovering what motivates their owners.Oftentimes, the stories are completely unique and extraordinary. In Wroclaw I met a woman who, standing in a courtyard, was making delicious French pancakes with cream made of chestnuts brought from Paris. She held a PhD degree in anthropology from Sorbonne and found her way to relax by traveling Europe in her food truck. Are such stories to be found in Poznan?
- Of course they are! There are stories of quitting a corporate job to make one’s dreams come true and run a restaurant. Some of them end up in a person coming back to their previous occupation, because the restaurant industry is a tough trade, the one that requires absolute commitment. Some are successful: Zakwas in Jezyce was born out of love for bread and dislike of corporations. We know that there are people who plan on establishing a publishing house ;) We also love Lars, Lars & Lars created out of love for Scandinavian culture. It’s polished from top to bottom - from table mats to the way waiters look. They look as if they’ve just come from the North (laughter). Each object there has its own story. Some of their designs are being copied as well, for example their wooden, original board hanging above the counter. Also, there are places which are naturally inherited while the profession is passed on between generations.
Any plans? Subjective, of course
- Not so long ago, we inaugurated Magazyn Subiektywny [Subjective Magazine] - a totally new medium, much more labor-intensive and demanding. We’ve been active more than a year now, so we have to be careful not to repeat anything. Recently, when we were preparing an article on breakfasts, we once again visited each of the places we know very well - just for the sake of new photos and tastes. Certainly, we’re not thinking only about Poznan. We want to travel and show our readers some of the tastiest spots in the world. We love Italian cuisine, so it was natural for us to go to Rome and Milan. Mateusz visited Bornholm. We described these cities not only in terms of the food culture, but also in terms of lifestyle and culture in general - says Magda.
- When you eat, you can talk about everything - cuisine, architecture, people. A table is a sort of common denominator for discovering life - dreams Mateusz. Immediately, he adds: - I would love to specialize in culinary photography, but I’d also like to remain a person who takes pictures with his smartphone, and who’s best at it!
Magda: - We’ve already divided our chores so that Mateusz is in charge of photographs while I write texts. A free, Instagramy style of communication fits me best.
Mateusz: - Oh, yes. Magda’s in charge of making texts (including mine) readable.
They were the first to use emoji, icons and a square picture format in their descriptions. Now, it’s become a standard. The entire communication on Instagram is transforming itself into more informal and emotional.
Labels? Not for us
Magda: - It’s difficult to say what we do exactly. Some people complain that we’re not critical enough. But we’ve already spotted and reviewed all the spots with bad food, so why bother going there once again and spend your money on something you don’t like? MYTUJEMY is how we make a living and eat well. It’s the diary, in which we show how we spend our time and what we like.
Mateusz: - The “human” factor is what makes us special. We never eat alone - we take our friends, colleagues and relatives to join us for lunch or dinner. We like the ritual; we like showing that there’s a lot of going on around the table. We don’t want to call ourselves bloggers, influencers or critics. We just eat. And take pictures :)
text: Agata Kiedrowicz / editor-in-chief of PURO Magazine
*MYTUJEMY - a friendly duo from Poznan created by Magda and Mateusz. They love good food and aesthetic photographs. They constantly search for new and interesting places in Poznan and beyond. MYTUJEMY is an official ambassador of FOOD PROJECT BY SB organized by Stary Browar [Old Brewery] in Poznan. By profession, Magda and Mateusz are social media specialists studying at Poznan University of Economics and Business College. Their subjective rankings and expert statements have been featured in ELLE POLSKA, F5, MAGAZYN GALERIE HANDLOWE, Magazyn Biznes Resturacje & Catering as well as in the RADIO ESKA news section.