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No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing

Content in the online world is growing fast. It’s because you get to rule over what you create. You get opportunities to enhance your craft by learning from other people in similar online communities. You can also reach far and wide with your talents and skills, creating a global presence. I have specifically noticed this when it comes to chefs online where their creativity has sky rocketed their social media presence; what is fascinating that some of these brands are not cooks by profession but use cooking as a way to merge their existing brand with another niche (this includes online personalities, presenters, athletes, musicians etc).

During the lockdown phase of COVID-19, many chefs and cooks looked to social media for support. With restaurants completely closing down, online platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and many more gave them the chance to explore technology for their recipes. I explored something similar in a previous blog post in regards to food delivery companies and adaptation. I remember Floyd Mayweather's person chef came to prominence, and I thought how does a chef build their brand to the point where they become a personal chef to the one of the greatest boxers in our era? You can see her interview on the below video and even look at her recipe book here. Recipe books, TV shows, online personalities is something we will explore as chefs and brands take advantage of promoting themselves through the art of cooking.

With some essential knowledge of online marketing and the type of content, cooks and chefs can build a brand of their own.

  • Some platforms like YouTube pay their content creators for every 1000 views. So many chefs and cooks become independent creators and run their channels to build an audience.

  • Creating a blog is another way to keep recipes online. It’s a great way to create an online ‘diary’ where the audience can browse recipes according to tags or cuisines.

  • Some chefs run both a blog and a channel. This is a flexible option for the audience as they can browse recipes on an online typed ‘cookbook’ whenever they want.

  • Start an online store under their brand name. There are many ways to go about this. For example, some chefs love offering homemade alternatives or common ingredients for homemade foods.

  • Cross-share content by collaborating with other chefs and restaurants. It’s a great way to extend your audience online.

Remember that online content growth takes consistency. It’s also a more pleasant experience when you build your audience organically. Take the example of Poppy O’Toole, a 27-year-old cook who made it big on TikTok after losing her job at a restaurant.

Poppy had doubts before getting started with her recipe videos on TikTok. She got the title of ‘Potato Queen’ from the British media. But even before that, she shared a series of videos about ‘25 days of potato recipes’. According to her, the recipes went so viral that she went to bed with 200,000 followers one night and then woke up with a million the next. So for chefs and cooks, having consistent and categorized content can help attract organic audiences pretty fast!

Now that we’ve talked about how chefs and cooks build brands using online platforms, let’s look at a couple of real-life examples.

Tastemade is a food content creator and they have recently struck a content deal with Pinterest which is the largest content deal ever done with Pinterest. They have produced award-winning content, believing that videos are the number one source for interactively spreading information.

The company is set to expand to other lifestyle sectors, such as fashion, pets, health and wellness, parenting, beauty, and fitness. They will create 50 video shows that will run only on Pinterest. The idea to develop live-streaming content is also there, but the most significant part is the blend between Pinterest’s content creators and talent from Tastemade.

The collaboration between Pinterest and Tastemade is just one example. Multi-year partnerships are an excellent way for content creators, particularly cooks and chefs, to spread their recipes, you can read more about this deal here.

Gone are the days when chefs and cooks had to come on mainstream TV channels. Thanks to online streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and several others, going online and global has become easy. These online platforms even produce. However if we look at the artist Big Zuu he has grown is brand using mainstream TV and online streaming services via UKTV, BBC and Youtube. Big Zuu, the well-known rapper, hosts different shows by adding a touch of entertainment to the food. He has also launched his own recipe book on Amazon which you can get here.

Online classes are another excellent way for chefs and cooks to expand their digital presence. Think of MasterClass and how it offers recorded video lessons in various subjects. You can easily find delicious recipes to pick from such as Gordon Ramsay and other famous chefs. So for cooks who are at the expert level and love each other, collaborating with online learning platforms can be a rewarding experience.

So as a chef or cook looking forward to building a brand, there’s no end to choosing the type of content and the platform to promote yourself. It all boils down to how strong and practically possible the recipe is. The rest all depends on using proper marketing tactics and affiliations to promote to build a strong personality and online presence.

Although social media plays a prominent role, we can also see plenty of other options for chefs and cooks to build their brand identities via the Internet. These may include online learning platforms, collaborations of media agencies with video-producing websites, or even coming on shows exclusively broadcasted on online streaming services.

The growth opportunities are endless. There’s no doubt that many chefs have also realised their individualistic creativity during the pandemic. Which path do you think is the best for cooks to build their careers and brands?



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