Brunch Boys founder on how he ate well when he 'wasn't making any money'

Jeremy Jacobowitz, Brunch Boys founder.
Courtesy Jeremy Jacobowitz

Jeremy Jacobowitz, a born and bred New Yorker, has traveled the country with celebrity chef Bobby Flay and assisted Flay's TV career from behind the scenes. Now Jacobowitz is making his own on-camera appearances.

His full-time gig is running Brunch Boys, a food media company dedicated to curating drool-worthy brunches on Instagram for nearly half a million followers. He's starred as a judge on the Food Network's "Beat Bobby Flay," and he recently appeared on ABC's "Live with Kelly and Ryan" to share food photography tips.

In order to turn Brunch Boys from a side hustle into a full-time job, he had to cut back on every expense, including food. But you can save on meals without sacrificing taste, says Jacobowitz: "Don't have the mindset that cheap food isn't as good."

Jeremy Jacobowitz, Brunch Boys founder, appears on ABC's "Live with Kelly and Ryan."
Courtesy Jeremy Jacobowitz

Grow spoke with Jacobowitz about how he turned his passion into his profession, and how you can eat well on a budget — even in a pricey city like New York.

Turning brunch photos into a business

In 2014, while bored between freelance TV gigs, Jacobowitz started posting pictures of his passion: brunch. To his surprise, his @brunchboys Instagram account took off. Less than a year after his first post, he left his career in TV production to make brunch his full-time job.

Eating is only a small fraction of what Jacobowitz now does all day. To stand out from other foodies, he utilizes his TV production skills and spends hours shooting, editing, and coordinating high-quality posts. He even has full-fledged studio lighting set up in his kitchen.

Sacrificing sushi for 'broke dinners'

"When I took a break from TV to run Brunch Boys, I wasn't making any money at all," he says. "I had zero time to ever really food shop, or cook proper meals, so I would make myself 'broke dinners.' These consisted of a tortilla filled with shredded cheese, microwaved, and topped with salsa."

If he had a little extra money, he added some guacamole.

Don't have the mindset that cheap food isn't as good.
Jeremy Jacobowitz
Brunch Boys founder

While ordering takeout can be tempting when you're busy, prepping meals on Sunday has helped Jacobowitz save: "Ordering was a minimum of $30 per meal and upwards of $60 if i'm ordering sushi (I can order a lot of sushi). When I meal prep and make myself salmon, chicken, rice, sweet potatoes, baby spinach, and green beans, it ends up being about $8 a meal."

Over the course of the week, that's about $140 in savings.

To make the most of his groceries and avoid food waste, Jacobowitz turns his leftovers into a breakfast scramble — see recipe below.

How to brunch on a budget

Jacobowitz's hunt for great brunches has led him around the world. While he splurges when he's on the road, he also finds ways to save. "I think it's just about finding options that work for you," he says.

In Japan, he says, "I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the tuna and egg salad sandos we would eat at the convenience stores for breakfast every morning. Those were probably $1 and they were delicious!"

Jacobowitz says there are also ways to cut costs on a typical city brunch. "Everyone likes to make fun of the fact that avocado toast is 'so expensive,' but generally it's not that expensive compared to everything else on the menu, and it's always a staple of my brunch order!" he says. "Obviously they are all over, but one of my favorites can be found at Old Rose at the Jane Hotel."