I had the privilege of talking to Skyler Bouchard, a Delaware native, who has made it big in the food industry. We talked about her experiences with food, her progression from small-scale to blogger to media personality, and her future goals. Skyler has built her brand from the bottom, now a distinguished food blogger and social media star, with a new marketing twist: Ballsy Bites cake balls. Skyler was so much fun to talk to and shared some great advice for anyone interested in starting a career in the food-media industry.

What role does food play in your life? Did you grow up around food, or develop a passion later on in life?

"I popped out of the womb and all I wanted to do was eat a croissant. I LOVE FOOD. I grew up in this big French Canadian family where my uncle is a chef; we would always have these big elaborate dinners because we have like 30-40 people in the family. We would always have duck breast and lamb chops and bouillabaisse. I grew up in an atmosphere where I thought it was normal to eat like that and I always had a curiosity for food and different cuisines, and I also grew up travelling a lot from being a competitive squash player. I was very curious about different cultures and their foods; I have ALWAYS had this natural curiosity about it. You could say I was part of a big restaurant family.

As far as my career, I knew I always wanted to be in television and entertain. I had this epiphany and all these factors collided. I just knew I needed to start a blog. At the time there were no young millennial women covering travel and food adventure like Andrew Zimmerman or Anthony Bourdain. And that’s how I started the food blog. I just love food, I was, like, that girl that would take a million things in my kitchen, throw it in a blender, and test it out because I was so weird.. But I grew up in a house with, like, Eggo waffles and PopTarts so I think that kind of influenced the way I viewed food. I like to do a mix between, like, the junk food and the modern twist on classic fine dining dishes."

What did Spoon University teach you that you’ve carried with you throughout your career?

"Spoon approached me like, “Hey, want to work together on something?” but I had no idea they wanted me to start the chapter at NYU, and it was probably one of the most helpful things I’ve done. I had the opportunity to pull a team together to produce something. Spoon allowed me to have creative control over what to cover and have the ability to publish it on a national platform that has an established audience. Also, jumping on the project from when it just started kicking off was great because I was able to help start a big project and help take it from the ground up and see how to create solid partnerships."

What steps did you take to become so successful?

"I had no idea what I was doing, Ryan. I graduated a semester early and used it to regroup and save money. I thought I was going to do broadcast journalism when I graduated, but I knew that wasn’t truly what I wanted. At this point my blog had a following of about 40,000 people and I was like, “You know what, let me just see where this goes,” so I rebranded everything and started Dining with Skyler (my current website) and I started producing steady content. I think it's definitely all in the content and luckily, I started the blog a while ago and built that strong following and had the time. The people were engaged, so it's all about putting out content that people are interested in and always thinking of new and creative ideas that keep people on their feet.

That summer, I also came up with the balls idea, and it's not like I knew what I was doing. I just took a lot of turns and what worked, worked, and what didn't, didn’t. I’m lucky that I had that one semester to do a lot of test runs. For the example of the cake balls, I was writing a cookbook called “Balls,” and then I was like “I don't have a publisher, what am I doing?" so I started Ballsy Bites last fall. Then I started putting out videos, and then I was like "Okay, I actually want to make a product," so I started selling them.

I’m actually so lucky Food Network approached me, and it's thanks to another NYU student who was in one of my classes and pitched me to them (his name is Matt and he is so nice). They kind of approached me and I started working with them. In this industry, a lot of things just kind of fall in your lap, and you have to make the best of it. You’ll meet someone and you can work with them on something else; it's just like an ongoing cycle. So I can’t say I knew what I was doing, but I can definitely say that I jumped on every opportunity that presented itself. I was always thinking of new ways to improve what I was doing and put out better content and unique ideas."

Give us your top dishes.

"Oh my god, that's so hard! I mean, like top five favorite dishes is more dependent on my mood, but you can always throw me a piece of pizza and I’m happy. But I love soup dumplings, a good pasta dish is really great, clearly I like carbs, I love duck breast, I love everything! You are catching me at a very tired moment so I’m thinking I want to eat so many things. Nice dinners: duck and pasta; chilling or delivery: I want pizza or soup dumplings."

What advice would you give to students who are looking to pursue a career in food blogging?

"I think it's all about having a unique vision. To start something like a blog or your own business, you are going to have people calling you crazy and question you, but just follow your gut... literally... EAT ALL THE FOOD. Never think your ideas are stupid. If they don’t work out, they don’t work out, but you’d rather live your life knowing you tried it. Always have new ideas; you can't do the same thing over and over, consumers get bored and they want new and fresh. Always be brainstorming."

What is the coolest experience you’ve had in your career?

"I would have to say that every day working in this industry. I know that's so cheesy, but I meet so many amazing people. The food industry is filled with the most kind and genuine people, every day is just so different from the next, and I'm just so happy I can live a life like that.

I think the way the whole Food Network thing worked out (Snapchat stories) was cool, and I was on Unique Sweets, which was my first cable television gig. It was just really exciting and really cool to recognize that that came from something that I started, and I find that very gratifying. I guess I would say that the Food Network and the Cooking Channel combined and how it all fell into place working with them has been such a dream, and I am very honored that they think of me as qualified to work with them. That was one of my top career moments.

Launching Ballsy Bites was another highlight in my career. I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur or business woman whatsoever. I thought of myself as an entertainer, so to take on another meaning of business has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding. I love the interactions I have had while running the business and having the opportunity to hear so many people’s stories."

What are your future goals?

"So many goals. I feel like goals are always coming on, and my current top goal is to write a book. I’m not sure which route I want to take yet, whether I make a cookbook or a "how to eat like it's your job" kind of thing. I also want to work as a host on a video series, whether on TV or digital, because interacting with people and food is my favorite thing todo."

To see more of Skyler Bouchard, check out her Facebook Dining With Skyler, Instagram @nycdining, and Snapchat (nycdining). Also check out her blog, and you can purchase her Ballsy Bites there too!