Angela Chung, a nursing student from New Jersey, has brought her passion for photography and food together to create her blog, Moments of Sugar. As a dedicated food enthusiast, her love for telling a story has led her to create an impressive range of recipes, all varying in tastes and ingredients. A photographer and blogger first, Chung has succeeded in creating a website and Instagram feed that is aesthetically pleasing, as well as inspiring.
Desserts aren’t the only thing Chung occupies herself with when she has free time—though the blog specializes in sweets. She’s also dabbled in savory appetizers and meals and strives to explore more of her Chinese-American culture through her cooking. Chung has to thank her parents for instilling this love for food in her, and we have to thank Chung for inspiring us to follow our passions and do what we love. In a recent interview, she shared with us everything from what fuels her creativity to her future endeavors.
1. How long have you been a food blogger and what inspired you to document your experience creating recipes and baking?
I’ve been a food blogger for about two and a half years now. In 2013, as a 20-year-old who had always been obsessed with art and photography, I finally convinced my mom to help me purchase my first DSLR camera. I wanted to teach myself how to take photos that not only looked aesthetically pleasing but told a story, causing the viewer to be able to feel the exact moment that was being captured.
I found a community of people on Instagram sharing beautiful photos of food, drinks, and facades of NYC—my favorite city ever. From then on, every time I took a trip there, I’d drag my friends to as many coffee shops, bakeries, and brunch spots as possible to shoot flat lays of brunch spreads, black charcoal ice creams, and rainbow lattes.
From these adventures, my love for food aesthetics grew in a way I’d never imagined. But, my trips to NYC started to burn quite the hole in my wallet. So, I then decided to try photographing food in the comfort of my own home. It started with a stack of pancakes. Then, I became entranced in the science of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. It escalated quickly to French macarons and bread making and yeast donuts, all the way to babkas and ice cream, pies, milk bread cinnamon rolls, pavlovas and tarts!
In the very beginning, it was just about photography. But, I gained a few followers here and there on Instagram and with every additional one, came the question of “recipe please?” So finally, I made the amazing decision to start Moments of Sugar and use my spare time to slowly develop recipes of my own!
2. I read from one of your recent posts that you’re also a nursing student! How do you find the time to balance your studies and your hobbies? Do you have a schedule with baking or is it all just spontaneous?
Yes! I’m very proud to be a nursing student at one of the best programs in South Jersey! I’m also extremely excited to be graduating this spring. Finding time to balance any two things can be rough.
On the one hand, nursing is an incredible and rewarding career path that can provide me and my family with stability and safety. On the other hand, running Moments of Sugar and creating content on Instagram is something that fuels my creative energy and gives my passions an outlet. How could I not want to balance the two in my life?
My baking schedule definitely reflects my personal schedule—very spontaneous and a little bit crazy. I love writing down errands and deadlines for school and work, but when it comes to pure creative baking/photography, I go as soon as the creativity floods in!
3. Your Instagram and website have an impressive range of food pictures. Do you do everything behind the scenes yourself (take pictures, edit, bake, manage social media, etc.)? What do you enjoy most about posting your work online?
Moments of Sugar is definitely a one-woman show. The reason being is that I just love every single, minuscule part of the entire process! From jotting down Frankenstein-like ideas and recipes in my little notebook to wandering the aisles of grocery stores to 3 a.m. bakes and 3 p.m. photo shoot set-ups at my north-facing windows. Even down to writing up the blogs and IG captions and hitting “post”—it’s all just me. I don’t know if I could ever hire anyone to inject themselves into any part of that process.
One of the most surprising things to come out of this has been the support I’ve found on Instagram. By genuinely engaging with people on Instagram, I’ve been so lucky to find myself immersed in this wonderful community of food bloggers on the platform. People like to say that all social media is bad, but I’ve found the complete opposite in this community. The amount of understanding and unconditional love and support that I’ve received from it sometimes even exceeds that of people I know in real life!
4. I think it’s safe to say that the pandemic has affected creators in a bunch of ways, both negative and positive. How has it affected you and your creative drive?
Coming from a very food-forward culture, I’ve always had an innate love and passion for flavors and food in general. So my drive to create original and exciting recipes hasn’t really been affected at all. And especially because I’ve had a few more taste testers hanging around the house, I’ve actually been a little more driven to go outside my own comfort zone with flavors.
For example, I’m not a huge pumpkin fan, but my sister and niece are. This drove me to experiment and get creative with pumpkin in my baking—something I’ve never done before! I prefer to look at the positives, anyway.
5. While Moments of Sugar focuses mainly on desserts, there are a few savory posts. Would you be open to exploring more areas such as appetizers or dinners?
I’m extremely open to trying new things! But sometimes stepping out of my comfort zone and the things I know I do well, can be scary. Appetizers are probably simpler. But I’m always in awe of food bloggers and photographers who can style entire meals. While I love cooking, I never felt that I could plate food well or style meals in a way that would tell the correct story. But it’s definitely something I want to explore more in the future, especially because I want to share more of my Chinese-American culture!
6. In the future, would you be interested in opening a shop or managing a small business for your baked goods?
My absolute dream would be to open up a little coffee shop with house-baked goods and maybe even small-batch ice creams! After all, my love for good coffee is second to none.
7. What advice would you give to people who are interested in baking and blogging?
For people who are interested in baking, I say do it! Baking can be therapeutic, educational, and so much fun. There’s nothing that’s more satisfying than seeing your hard work become a success in the kitchen.
For anyone thinking about blogging, my only piece of advice is that you should only do it when you absolutely love it and find joy in it. I’m not saying you’re going to love every second or every aspect of blogging, but if you find that you’re feeling drained or exhausted, step back. Come back to it when you’re excited again. If you start out blogging this way—only doing what you love, when you love it—it’ll come easy!
8. Lastly, you’ve posted hundreds of pictures of desserts over the past few years and everyone has an old favorite when it comes to food. What is one dessert you will always fall back on?
My apple pie recipe is definitely my old reliable! I have a recipe coming soon for a classic apple slab pie, which will probably be my all-time favorite. But as it’s winter citrus season, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t let my blood orange curd steal the show recently. I used it to top everything from cakes to my favorite mini pavlovas!
Main image of Angela Chung, courtesy of Moments of Sugar