Tal Spiegel with a galette, a French pastry. Tal Spiegel with a galette, a French pastry. Tal Spiegel with a galette, a French pastry. (Photo: Zach Pontz)

How did this pastry chef become an Instagram star?

He united his two passions and created some cool pics, that's how.

Tal Spiegel has long had two passions: pastries and colorful shoes. It's no shock, then, that he united the two to create dazzling Instagram pictures. What has been shocking to him is the 40,000-plus Instagram followers he's amassed because of it.

The native of Holon, Israel, arrived in Paris a year ago to study at Ferrandi, a revered French culinary academy, to be a pastry chef. At the time his Instagram account was your normal conglomeration of random personal photos. But that soon changed.

"One day I was out walking with a friend and bought a pastry. I wanted to take a picture and was trying to find a nice angle and my shoes happened to be in the shot," he told From The Grapevine over a – what else? – pastry in Paris.


The shot received several positive comments from his Instagram followers. Encouraged, he slowly began to take and post shots in the same style, rotating through his estimated collection of 60 pairs of shoes while scouring the many bakeries of Paris.

"After about 10 or 20 pictures people were still responding enthusiastically. I detected something good and I started small – when visiting [bakeries] I would try to get photos," Spiegel explained. "But as I gained more followers and the project grew, the more I tried to post everyday."

Spiegel's artistic process is spontaneous, and his eye for visually arresting imagery can in part be attributed to his background in design. Before focusing on pastry, he studied at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Jerusalem, and it was there that he refined his eye and learned to trust his instincts.

He doesn't try to coordinate his shoe color with the pastry, for example, instead deciding in the moment what shoes to wear, and he has also resisted manipulating his photos in post-processing.

"I wanted to maintain [my account's] authenticity. I felt like if I started messing with the photos it would become something else," he said.

Spiegel has only recently finished his studies, and he isn't sure what the ultimate outcome of his Instagram account's popularity will be. For now he plans on spending some time with friends and family back in Israel before setting out on his next adventure, which he hopes will be in the United States.

"I'd like to open my own place there. Maybe in New York or San Francisco or San Diego. I'm not sure," he said, before heading off to another Parisian bakery in search of inspiration.


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Related Topics: Chefs & Restaurants