Interview with Andrea Arreaza

Better known as Hungry Hungry Drea!

This month we decided to reach out to NYC-based creative and Feed the Juice follower, Andrea Arreaza, or Hungry Hungry Drea as her fans know her! As we’ve been isolated in our homes, Andrea has been constantly cooking up new, delicious recipes. We caught up with her to learn more about her story!

Who is Hungry Hungry Drea? How did that persona come to be?

Hungry Hungry Drea is the representation of my passion for food, and the part of me that loves to cook almost as much as I love to eat. I’ve always loved art and creating things, so now as an adult, I get to enjoy my favorite form of art: cooking!

The essence of Hungry Hungry Drea has always been within me, but the name did not manifest until I created my unique Instagram handle. The name came from my close friend, Hanna, who recommended a spin-off of “Hungry Hungry Hippo”.

The best experience to come from my cooking is seeing others make my recipes! It warms my heart to know that I’ve inspired people to cook!

When did you realize you loved cooking and that you needed to pursue this as a side-hustle?

My biggest influence was growing up in a Hispanic household with two parents that cooked. As a family we spent (and still spend) quality time in the kitchen and at the dinner table. I grew to appreciate that very quickly because so many families don’t have that daily tradition in their homes.  

From a young age, I always helped out in the kitchen, but it wasn’t until I went to college that I first started to cook on my own. I started with a sound base of knowledge, but I quickly realized how much more I still had to learn! 

At this same time in college, I started posting videos and pictures of my meals on my personal social media accounts. I received so many positive responses from my friends, which was very reassuring! They often asked me for the recipe or cooking tips, which is when the idea of sharing my passion started to bubble. I truly enjoyed cooking and I loved sharing it online!

Were you always cooking for others?

No, hahaha! It’s taken me some time to become confident enough to let others really taste my food. Not all my meals come out great, but it’s a constant learning experiment. My roommates definitely benefit the most from my hobby. 

What did it feel like when you first started posting your recipes and cooking process?

Amazing! I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and positive feedback, which continues to motivate me to cook more and try new recipes.

The best experience to come from my cooking is seeing others make my recipes! It warms my heart to know that I’ve inspired people to cook!

How have you been building up your brand?

I’m still working on my brand but being authentic is the biggest key. For example, I’ll never post a recipe that I don’t think is delicious. I also try to have fun with my posts, incorporating some silliness when I can on my stories.

In terms of production, I’ve managed to figure out some creative ways to capture content. 

In terms of followers, word of mouth is my main source of new fans. In the future I'm working to partner with brands and other artists like you!

How many times have you worn a "Kiss the Cook" apron?

Not often enough but I’ll work on that. 

Did you own an Easy Bake Oven?

Yes, I did and I loved it! Sometimes it feels like my NYC kitchen is the size of an easy bake oven. Hahaha. 

Who inspired you growing up and who inspires you now?

Growing up, I was inspired by my parents and our Spanish heritage.

I now gather inspiration from many outlets like - Bon Appetite, Chrissy Teigen, food-related documentaries and tv shows. Some of my favorites are Ugly DeliciousChefs TableFinal Table, and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

It’s funny because I will literally spend hours each week planning out my upcoming recipes and creating a perfect grocery list. And I thoroughly enjoy doing this!

What's a piece of advice you wish you had when you first started building your brand?

Better proofreading! I’m still working on my brand so ask me this question in a few years. 

How are you keeping busy now during quarantine? 

Now that I’m quarantining at my parents’ house and have a more proper kitchen (instead of my tiny NYC kitchen), I’ve been spending the majority of my time cooking and learning with my parents (which I’m so thankful for). My family has so many great recipes yet they aren't kept anywhere safe, so I'm trying to write down as many family recipes as I can!

For each recipe, I want to write a little family story or background that ties back to the dish so that this is more than just a cookbook (e.g. where the recipe came from, where the name came from, a family tradition, our family heritage, and so on).

Once completed, I plan on printing several copies and handing them out to my entire family and our closest friends!

Aside from cooking, I’ve also pulled out my old art supplies - reigniting my love for painting - and picked up baking bread, playing chess and running.

What do you think the future of art will be as people have more time to focus on their side projects?

I found that at my peak boredom, I'm also most creative! So I hope this quarantine inspires others to also make art; for example, people learning to make bread. Making bread is an art. It takes time, focus and patience. Before quarantining, I’m not sure I would have challenged myself to make bread, but now that I have the time, I’m going for it! 

Another example: Gen Z and TikTok. Yes, I have the app and I’m blown away by people’s creativity on it.  

Truly, the possibilities are endless during the quarantine. Maybe someone will finally find enough time to finish the project they started, turn their side hustle into their main hustle or even find a new passion!