Richmond food blogger, Tim Vidra of E.A.T., has quit his corporate day job of 18 years to pursue his passion for food, blogging, and DIY. Tim writes the Richmond food blog E.A.T.,17 Apart (in conjunction with his wife) maintains 3 different Etsy shops, and is on the board for the Richmond food Co-op. We now know why Tim did not have time for his day job! Here is his story all about his new pursuit, as originally published on his blog last week.

Today I bring you some big news I’ve been eager to share here on the blog for quite sometime now!

Today marks the first day I can call myself a full time blogger and freelance food writer.

I’ve quit my corporate day job in order to pursue my passion for food, sustainable living and creative projects. While it’s a big leap, this of course wasn’t a light (or easy) decision made quickly — it’s something I’ve dreamed about, planned for and the timing was finally right. Over the past 3 years, nurturing the growth of this blog has taught me so much and as I continued to see opportunities for growth, it was time to make the final call on whether or not to dive in full steam ahead or continue as I have been with the blog as my creative hobby. So, I’m taking the leap.

I never would have imagined that at 47 years old I’d be leaving my full time job in pursuit of full time blogging — heck, blogging didn’t even exist when I joined the work-force back in the 80’s. Even if it had, I might have been the first one to laugh if you’d told me this would be the career path I’d be so enthusiastic and dedicated to pursue.

As many of you know my wife, Mary, works in Marketing for Etsy — a job and company she wakes up excited about everyday and gets creative inspiration and fulfillment from. Over the past 3 years she’s really helped encourage my own creative pursuit and helped me realize that chasing my own dreams by carving out a little corner of the food world really was possible.

While I won’t be headed into a regular office setting for set hours any longer, I know the work involved in this new creative pursuit will require long hours and a new kind of dedicated attention. Instead of churning away in a corporate setting, I’ll be challenging myself to work more independently, sustainably and authentically — as the best version of myself. The hard work ahead is something I’m really excited about, and I feel a new sense of motivation for the challenges to come. What this does mean is I will now have the quality time to dedicate to cooking, photography, writing and all the projects Mary and I have tackled on 17 Apart without cramming them into the weekend and evenings. It should mean more projects and fun posts all around — which Mary and I are both really excited about.

While some major changes will be taking place in our regular routine, we’re looking forward to making it work and learning from this new opportunity and experience.

Image by Tori Watson of Marvelous Things Photography

To provide a little background, for 25+ years I’ve worked in the corporate world for the electrical business. Fresh out of high school I worked my way up from a residential electrician to working as an electrician in the the industrial market. Realizing I did not want to be 40 and walking around with a pair of Klein’s in my pocket, I got into sales which I have loved for a very long time — eventually working in management for an electrical distributor for a fortune 500 company. While it’s something I was (and am) very good at, my passion has always surrounded food. I always like to joke that I was born hungry. I’d simply been accustomed to the idea that being a self-taught home cook wasn’t something I could create a career out of, that it would always be my creative outlet. I honestly never would have imagined that writing about the things I love would be of interest to others. It wasn’t until the past few years with the growth of social media and blogging that I realized pursuing this passion was viable.

As you can imagine, after 18 years of working in an office setting, I’ve truly developed a second family of sorts with all my corporate coworkers and saying goodbye has been bittersweet. I’ve learned so much from each of the people I worked with on a daily basis, but I know we will keep in touch and have their enthusiastic support in chasing my dreams.

I’ve really been so pleasantly surprised by all the well wishes and support. Messages from members of my work family like the one I received below are really what drive my interest and passion for gardening, eating and cooking at home, supporting local farmers and food purveyors:

I did feel a nervous sense of release as I pressed the delete button on my corporate email account — those of you addicted to checking your work email on your smartphone like I did will know what I mean!

Although excitedly nervous about this new career choice, I feel a new drive, motivation and passion to make it work. As I write this post, it’s a weird feeling not having had to wake to the sound of the alarm and head into the office for the regular Monday start to the work week. Creating a new schedule will be a challenge I’m looking forward to.

Logistically, I’ll be writing full time now for my personal blog, E.A.T., along with other regular food columns (like Lot18 and Relay Foods) and freelance opportunities that crop up now that I have more time to dedicate to writing and photography. In addition to food writing, you’ll find more posts and projects from me on 17 Apart that my wife and I run, I’ll be maintaining our Vintage Etsy shops and taking on responsibilities in shipping, social networking and communications for Mary’s jewelry Etsy shop. If that weren’t enough, some of you know I sit on the Board of Directors for the Richmond Food Coop — an organization I couldn’t be more passionate and eager to help get off the ground. My work there will continue to grow and change as we get closer to opening a local space.
Volunteering is something near and dear to my heart, though I’ll admit it’s not something I’ve actively made ample time for. Now that I am making time through this new venture, starting this Wednesday I will be volunteering at FeedMore, our local food bank of sorts, which serves up to 3,500 meals a day to the #RVA community and surrounding areas. Everything I know about food and the industry has been self taught, so apart from the obvious joys of volunteering, I’m really looking forward to learning more about the best practices and goings-on behind a full scale industrial kitchen.


For those wondering how to help and support this new venture moving forward —your readership is what keeps me going! Without you, none of this would be possible and I am forever grateful for those of you that follow along. If you feel so inclined, sharing my blog with your friends or a particular post you find interesting on your social networks always goes a long way. Most of all, I am just looking forward to continuing the conversation with all of you right here, as I always have.

One thing’s for sure, this guy is beyond happy he gets to spend more time with Daddy throughout the day:


Image by Tori Watson of Marvelous Things Photography

So, that’s my big announcement. I welcome your questions in the comments section below and look forward to what comes from this new chapter!

Stay in touch with Tim on all of his social channels: