The Notable Chef – How to Stand Out Using Digital Media

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I’ll be at the Western Food Show in Los Angeles  on Monday of this week, in honor of that amazing industry, I’m doing a series this week on food-related movements, personalities and startups. Tweet me if you’re there

Like every other career choice, choosing to be a Chef doesn’t guarantee fame and fortune.
But unlike every other career choice, the world has a natural intrigue with Chef’s.
Long before TopChef and Food Blogs and Yelp, I lived with a Chef. The minute people found out about it, their eyes flew open and there jaws began to wag with questions.
“Do you eat a gourmet dinner every night?”
Um. No. He’s working at dinner time and when he comes home, around 2am, he isn’t generally interested in doing what’s he’s been doing the last 12 hours.
“Does he teach you how to cook?”
Well, I certainly learned a lot about food being around a Chef, but the process of becoming a Chef doesn’t really happen by osmosis.

The point is, people are fascinated by Chefs.

If you’re a Chef, you can use this to your advantage. Whether you’d prefer to stay employed at other restaurants or want to strike out on your own, having a digital brand makes you more attractive to employers and investors. Let’s face it, the restaurant biz is super risky, if you can eliminate some of that risk, aren’t you at a distinct advantage?

You’re probably thinking “Being a Chef is a full-time job, I don’t have time to become a brand.”
I understand that concern, but, if you’ll hear me out, here are three things you can do easily to extend your brand.

First, know this:

It doesn’t have to be a major time suck.
You can use Instagram, SnapChat, whatever tool you use, to share tiny tidbits of inspiration with us. You can go total stream of consciousness.
Don’t worry about imperfections-you’re a Chef, not a digital graphic designer.
You’re a human, not a multi-national brand (yet).
Take advantage of your humanity and capitalize on it while you can.

Use Your Natural Talents

As a Chef, you probably already have a flair for the artistic. You probably see ideas everywhere you go, you’re probably creating inspired dishes in your head all.the.time.
You’re experience doesn’t have to be “just” about food. What’s the weather like when you leave work? Is the moon particularly spectacular right now? Take your “down” moments and turn them into “sharing” moments.
That’s awesome, take us on that journey. If you see a flower and the color inspires you to use a particular food in your dishes, tell us about it.
We just want to see the life of a Chef. We just want a small amount of inspiration of our own.

Tell The Story

I never met a Chef that didn’t have a story. Weave your story into your inspirations and tell us about them.
You can take selfies if you want, use pictures from your past…show us side by sides of what the inspiration was, and what it became in your interpretation.
Everything you can do to personalize your food allows people to relate to you better…and when people relate to you better, your food becomes even more amazing.
Take pictures of other people who eat your food, let us see ourselves in their spots.
And while you’re telling your story, invite others to share theirs. Let them know you’re curious about them too.

The Daily Grind

What you see as everyday “stuff” other people might be fascinated by.
Chopping onions? Stand that phone up and let us see your technique, you can talk us through it or not. It’s :30 seconds of amazing for those of us with pathetic knife skills.
Picking out produce? Share your secrets with us. What makes a good watermelon? How do you know when a mango is perfectly ripe?
We’re endlessly interested in how your everyday knowledge can work in our world.

Start a Movement

Some Chefs transcend the kitchen by starting movements. Jamie Oliver is an awesome example of this. You don’t have to have your own restaurant or TV show to start a movement.
Digital media is the great equalizer.
Tell us what you stand for and own it. Be a passionate advocate for something you’re passionate about.
Talk about it, weave it into your tiny tidbits.
Standing for something makes you stand out, but it also gives people a view of who you are and gives them a reason to be passionate about you.

If you’re a chef on social media, I’d love to follow YOUR journey. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram so I can follow along.

 

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