Episode 71: Ken Peng of Ken Eats Gainesville
Ken Peng came to Gainesville for a UF business degree and somehow garnered a following of over 22,000 people writing about the grooviest and grungiest grub Gainesville has to offer.
What started out as a Facebook page with just a few followers eventually grew to be a food blog with a dedicated website and what some might call a cult following. Ken Eats Gainesville has become a guide for locals and tourists alike to find Gainesville’s uniquely delicious hidden gems.
Back in 2005, Ken Eats Gainesville started out as a food review column in the Alligator. He only got a handful of reviews published, but it was the humble beginnings of what would later become one of the most influential food blogs in Gainesville.
“[Food] has always been something that I’ve been into, and I’m hypercritical, so I just put two things together and just started sharing my experiences,” Ken told Collin and Mike.
His passion for food started when he was young, eating his way across the country with his Cantonese family. In Cantonese cooking, every ingredient has its purpose and all the flavors work together in harmony. Ken seeks balance, but nevertheless, he tries to go into any restaurant he’s reviewing with good company, an open mind and an empty stomach.
“I have preconceived notions because how can you not? You get people messaging you going ‘Have you been here? Have you been here? Have you been here?’ and they all want to share their opinions with you,” he explained.
Ken is shocked that people even care to share their opinions with him, and he’s still trying to wrap his head around the influence he’s had in this community. So long as there’s delicious food to be discovered, Ken is determined to find it, and when he does, he’ll let us know.