Why She’s Interesting: Chances are you’ve drooled over Steffen’s work during a late-night Instagram session. As the co-founder of Eat Local Ohio, she champions Ohio restaurants by cueing in more than 37,000 Instagram followers on crave-worthy dishes, cool new chefs and must-visit restaurants across Ohio. Her website is also geared to helping anyone find exactly what they’re looking for using a searchable database to browse 200 listings for their next meal.
Starting Up: Eat Local Ohio started off as an idea on the side of a Hillcrest Food Services delivery truck. While interning in 2017 at Hillcrest Food Services, Steffen helped them rebrand by creating an Instagram account to highlight local restaurants and help with their own social media by providing free food photography. “It was just this really wholesome beginning to really just try to give back to the community and help support local as much as possible.”
Dream Team: Becoming a food photographer was a process that involved help from her boyfriend of five years, Adam Comer. A wedding photographer at the time, he and Steffen used date nights to collect content. In the beginning, they would show up at a restaurant and order four to five items on the fly, but now Steffen works with a team of four others on an appointment-based process. “It was a cute little learning process. We were just playing off of one another and we were always so excited.”
Road Hog: Over the last three years, Steffen has covered more than 400 restaurants in Cleveland, Columbus, Youngstown and the Akron-Canton area, so when COVID-19 put the brakes on dine-in restaurants, she pivoted by pushing awareness on takeout, delivery and at-home products and working on recipes with her mom and Hillcrest’s in-house chef Anthony Hamilton. “It became such a fun experience for me to try something new.”
Interesting Fact: Steffen’s goal is to raise her Instagram following to 100,000 people, which is 1% of Ohio’s population.