Erwan Heussaff: The fat kid inside steps out to become a health blogger

His weight-loss secret? ‘Stick to your diet.’

His weight-loss secret? ‘Stick to your diet.’

By Christian Catiis

Take one look at Erwan Heussaff and you wouldn’t guess that this Philippine celeb, entrepreneur, and creator of popular food and health blog, The Fat Kid Inside, was nearly 240 pounds just a couple years ago.

However, in just a few short years, Erwan has become a recognizable name in the food, health and travel industry. From recreating Filipino classic recipes to showing us his favorite local food stops throughout Asia, his charming presence has garnered a mass following on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. Actress Solenn Heussaff is his sister.

The French-Filipino blogger lived the first half of his life in the Philippines then moved to Paris for college. In college, he traveled the world and took summer jobs in cosmopolitan cities, such as Shanghai, Hanoi, and Paris, to build up his experiences. After college, he worked in Bangkok and then in Siberia for about 2 years.

While in Russia, he started doing instructional cooking videos. When he returned to the Philippines, he decided to share on his blog the weight loss story he went through in Greece. That’s how The Fat Kid Inside was born.

Erwan sat down for an interview to discuss his success and his plans for 2016.

Christian Catiis (CC): When did you develop an interest in cooking? How has your French and Filipino background influenced your cooking?
Erwan Heussaff (EH): I started cooking at the age of 8. I just loved that through memories alone, a person can recreate a dish with just a very basic understanding of cooking techniques. My French side fueled my love for cooking techniques, classical recipes and the respect of produce, whereas my Filipino side opened me to various bold and unapologetic flavors.

CC: Unlike Japanese and Chinese cuisine, Filipino food never really attained the spotlight it truly deserves. Do you agree?
EH: Filipino food has never really been individualized and is always marketed towards Filipinos. Filipino food was always made as “fiesta food” made at home, or served in big batches that eventually get cold, without much regard of cooking steps or technique. Big flavors yes, but lots of shortcuts. I think we are now seeing it pop its head out as a trendy flavor profile, because it’s being represented by chefs or foodies who are taking traditional flavors and are applying proper cooking processes to them.

CC: For our readers unfamiliar with Filipino cuisine, what are some essential spices and flavors in Philippine cuisine that you incorporate into your cooking?
EH: Lots of coconut milk, garlic, onions, sugar and vinegar. We are fans of funky vinegar dishes, salty and sweet. Most Filipino dishes tend to always verge on too much of one single flavor, which is why I love it.

CC: Can you describe your culinary style? Where do you get inspiration for your recipes?
EH: I enjoy cooking through taste. I don’t really attach myself to one style or one region, I just love cooking with fresh ingredients and using whatever is in front of me. I take inspiration from all my travels and find myself using different food memories from the many restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of eating in.

CC: Could you go more in-depth on what made you start The Fat Kid Inside?
EH: It was a hobby really. When I was working in Russia, I got bored when I wasn’t working, so I started doing instructional cooking videos with my camera. After Russia, I came back to Manila and saw that people in the Philippines weren’t really informed on what healthy eating was, so I merged both ideas together and just decided to show people that everyone can make healthy food at home.

CC: How do you believe your website separates itself from the countless others specializing in healthy eating and lifestyle? What do you bring to the table?
EH: I don’t really do just healthy eating anymore, I do any recipe I want now, things I think people would be interested in, and I’ve opened up my site to whoever wants to share their weight loss stories as well. I think what makes it different is that there aren’t a lot of food video/food story/healthy eating websites in Southeast Asia, so it’s refreshing amongst a lot of blogs that focus on traditional local cooking, and there are some really great ones, by the way.

CC: How have media outlets such as YouTube and Tastemade allowed you to expand your audience?
EH: YouTube has always been a part of what I do. It’s really the easiest tool to showcase and store videos online. Tastemade has really made a big difference for me though. My audience was traditionally based in Asia, now with Tastemade, I get to branch out to the West.

CC: Where do you see yourself within the next five years? Are you currently working on any projects or endeavors that you would like to share?
EH: I want to keep doing what I’m doing, creating more content, producing more content and eventually getting on bigger networks and spreading what I do across multiple platforms, all over the world.

CC: With the beginning of the New Year, almost everyone’s resolution is losing weight. How do you stay active and what are some advice you can give for those wanting to get in shape?
EH: Stick to it. That’s the most important and applies to me too. I tend to yo-yo sometimes and the reason behind it, is that, sometimes I’m really intense and sometimes I am more lax with myself. At the end of the day, if you want to get fit, you just need to want it enough to not be lax and to be intense all the time.

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