If you don’t already follow Symmetry Breakfast on Instagram (@symmetrybreakfast), you’re in for a treat. With kaleidoscopic photos of strawberries, waffles, and latte art, the mouthwatering feed, helmed by London-based photographer Michael Zee, is a veritable feast for the eyes. And the story behind it is pretty heartwarming, too: Each meal posted is something Zee makes his boyfriend for breakfast. Below, we chatted with the 30-year-old Instagram sensation about his creative process and his upcoming cookbook, Cook-Love-Share (available for pre-order, $25; amazon.com).
How did the idea for Symmetry Breakfast come about?
My boyfriend had just moved in with me and had a very busy job, so I started preparing breakfasts in order for us to spend some time together. It was the only time I could see him! Slowly, the meals became more and more elaborate, and then I started taking pictures and uploading them to Instagram.
It's interesting to pinpoint where certain staple breakfast dishes come from and how things become trends. A lot of people don’t realize that brunch is a 200-year-old British concept from the Victorian period. It’s also amazing how avocado has become a staple part of our diet in the past 10 years. I don’t remember eating an avocado before I was 20!
What are some important things to keep in mind when assembling?
Some people have a tendency to take food and to reduce it down to fuel rather than making something joyful and full of love. It’s not something just thrown on a plate—someone has put their heart into it. There’s attention to detail. That’s what I want to demonstrate each morning.
Do you have any advice for cooking for a significant other?
Don’t expect it to be beautiful the first time. It took me a long time to refine my signature aesthetic. I’ve also learned so much about what my partner likes to eat, but sometimes he’s just not feeling it. Every day is different.
Tell us about your upcoming cookbook, Cook-Love-Share.
It’s not just quick recipes—some take days of prep. Everything is completely shot on an iPhone, so what you see on my Instagram is what you’ll get in the book. There are over 100 recipes of breakfasts from all over the world organized by time zone—part geography lesson, part cookbook. The first chapter is the United Kingdom, Portugal, Morocco, and Nigeria, and then you work your way west. The idea is that, somewhere in the world, it’s breakfast time.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.