TORONTO - Looking for pictures to fire up your tastebuds? A 24-year-old from Toronto may have the answer.
Brad Wishen has launched an Instagram account to show off pictures of the most drool-worthy menu items from the city's most popular restaurants.
TasteToronto has already garnered nearly 14,000 followers on the photo-sharing website in its first six weeks.
Fans can peruse shots of such culinary treats as the spicy squid taco from Grand Electric, the kimchi poutine from Banh Mi Boys and the grilled cheeseburger from the Thompson Diner.
Wishen says he has plans to expand the project and has already registered accounts for would-be gourmands in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and New York City.
He says food-lovers appreciate having one central site to visit before making a trip to a restaurant.
"People always take pictures of their food nowadays before they start eating it," he said in an interview. "I wanted to amalgamate all those pictures into one place."
Wishen, a self-professed foodie, said what began as a small-scale idea has grown well beyond his expectations.
"It was started by myself with the help of two friends just to kind of see if it would take off, and we couldn’t be happier with how quickly it’s gone," he said.
In addition to the Instagram account, Wishen has also registered Tumblr pages and domain names in hopes of turning his Taste brand into a multimedia endeavour.
TasteToronto’s followers are not the only ones enjoying the photogenic food. The restaurants behind the dishes couldn’t be more on board with Wishen's project either.
"I can certainly see its potential for spreading the word about a dish," said Glen Kristenbrun, manager of Toronto’s Museum Tavern on Bloor Street. The eatery's elk slider was featured on TasteToronto several weeks ago and has reached nearly 100 likes.
The TasteToronto concept is part of an emerging trend in the food industry, according to social media analyst Dylan Thompson.
Word of mouth is not enough to keep a restaurant afloat in today's online-focused world, he said, adding savvy customers expect a full battery of restaurant details from driving directions to reviews before they'll consider dining out.
Real-time pictures of tantalizing dishes is just another way to generate business, he said.