By Teresa Yovela
A three-course meal of meatballs and wine, a gigantic sushi platter, a bubble tea cake, and even a fancy high tea box. These are the kinds of deliveries received by the Ling family on a daily basis. Mama Ling calls it “a family affair” as her daughter Bianca takes photos while the family holds up props and play lighting crew. At age 25, Bianca Ling is an established food blogger after a childhood as a professional golfer.
“It feels like a lifetime ago, but I started playing golf at age seven or eight to spend time with my dad,” the three-time member of the Victorian Women’s State Team tells Dscribe via Zoom.
“It turned into having lessons and then competitions, and I got to the point where I was representing Victoria and Australia a few times.”
Bianca’s mum Irene cheered for her in every match, but her favourite was one of the earliest.
“I believe she was eight when she played by herself and won against two adults in a match play final,” Mrs Ling says. Bianca’s playing partner at that time had to suddenly fly oversea.
“She was really young but fearless and having fun. I was so proud, not because she won, but because I saw what she became – an individual with the strength and drive to do anything she wants if she puts her heart and mind into it.”
Food has always been part of Bianca’s golfing journey, as her proud dad would take her out for a meal after every tournament, no matter the result.
“My whole family is massive foodies, but I’m pretty sure I inherited it from my father. He eats everything,” Bianca laughs as she recalled a family trip to Japan when the family ate six meals a day.
“It was very dangerous. We had breakfast, then breakfast dessert, then lunch, and then lunch dessert, then dinner, so you can imagine!”
In her second year of university, Bianca decided to stop competing in golf. That same year, she started Instagram account @Melbfoodbaby to document her love of food and to ambitiously “test the theories” she had learnt in class, majoring in marketing and management at Monash University.
“The cool thing about being in university is having the world in front of you. You can test and make mistakes, start stuff and fail. That was the attitude I had when I started,” Bianca recalls.
With both Instagram and brunch culture trending in 2015, @Melbfoodbaby grew bigger than expected and Bianca started getting invites from cafes all around Melbourne. Her bright, colourful and aesthetically pleasing Instagram content also attracted brands such as Hungry Jacks, Woolworths and Kit Kat, who contacted her for product launches. Bianca has also co-hosted a charity event to fund 1500 meals for children at Southern Cross Kids Camps.
But what is pleasing for her almost 75,000 online followers does not always please her stomach.
“For some reason, all the sweet food and desserts performed better,” Bianca admits. “I actually started to build a sugar addiction because I kept eating and didn’t want to waste the food. I’m trying to be healthy but at the same time, I know people love sugary contents. At the moment, I think my gut health is compromised.”
Now a full-time marketing consultant, Bianca hopes to help people through her work in coaching and business.
“I would not accomplish half the things that I do today if it weren’t for my mentors, coaches, family and friends,” Bianca says.
“I’d love to give back by giving opportunities to those who do not have one so that they can really thrive.”