Tampa foodie and photographer publishes comfort food cookbook

Photo of cookbook being flipped

Local food photographer + marketer, Melissa Santell of FoodxFeels, is bringing recipes inspired by everyday moments to Tampa Bay with her new cookbook​ Hi, I’m Hungry. The cookbook recently received its first accolade after winning Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay Critic’s Choice for best locally published comfort food cookbook.

Hi, I’m Hungry​ is Melissa’s personally curated collection of life moments in the form of delicious and unique recipes. Each chapter is thoughtfully categorized by life’s most anticipated occasions — so, when you have zero time to think about what to eat, Melissa’s here to do it for you. Whether you’re cooking to impress on date night, or are ravenously hungover after a happy-hour-gone-too-far (hint: make the PoTaco), this book is your holy grail.

Releasing her first cookbook in the middle of a pandemic was a challenging decision, but ultimately driven by her hope to inspire creativity in the kitchen mid-quarantine.

“This book is a playful reminder that your kitchen isn’t just a room filled with expensive cooking toys – it’s an edible playground.” Santell shares. “I love transforming classic dishes into new eating experiences, while preserving flavor profiles we all know and love. Cannoli become Cannoli French Toast, Blood Marys evolve into Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs and Creamsicle ice cream pops show up gigantic cookies in my book. Whimsical food is kind of my love language.”

As a reader, you’ll learn everything from how to infuse notes of Earl Grey into moist vanilla cake to the secret to making Ahi Tuna Egg Rolls in less than 15 minutes. Inspired by Melissa’s Italian roots and her time spent eating her way through New York City, something tells us you’re in for a flavorful adventure.

Hi, I’m Hungry i​s available now and can be purchased on Amazon​. For more information about the cookbook, head to Melissa’s website at foodxfeels.com​. Connect with her on Instagram to follow along with her never ending culinary pursuits.

Written by Dex Fabian

Dex Fabian

Dex Fabian is the co-founder of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. A graphic designer by trade, Dex has been witness to Tampa Bay's explosion to become one of the hottest regions in the nation. In 2009, he helped develop the brand for I Love the Burg and in 2014 developed the branding for That's So Tampa and has been a regular contributor to both ever since.