Image of Jamie Oliver
Image of Jamie Oliver courtesy of Scandic Hotels

The Social Chef

Cooking is at the heart of nearly every culture around the globe and the experience of sharing recipes and enjoying meals together has connected people for centuries. Social media is helping to bridge the cultural gaps, bringing dishes from remote corners of the earth to your kitchen table.

It’s no surprise then, that four of the world’s biggest chefs are avid social media users. We’ve explored how Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller and Mario Batali use social media to connect with and educate their audiences.

It’s safe to say when crafting a social media strategy for your personal brand, these chefs can teach you about more than just cooking.

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver, pictured above,is an English chef, TV personality and advocate for sustainable food practices. Active since 1998, Oliver quickly rose to the top of the cooking world with his personable nature and easy meals for the average family. In an impressive 15 year streak on TV, Jamie Oliver has gained over 3.5 million followers on Twitter, 1.8 million on Google+, 1.7 million on Facebook and over 1.3 million on Instagram.

In terms of a holistic social media strategy, Oliver is one of a few celebrities who have harnessed the full potential of his online communities.

He uses a variety of social networks to power his brand. Most importantly, understanding the effectiveness of visual mediums partnered with limited text. By doing so, he has attracted an especially impressive following on Google+. Through the use of high quality images and videos, Oliver weaves each post together with his distinct voice. While on Facebook, he makes space to campaign for his social initiatives and upcoming events. Oliver saves his personal anecdotes for Twitter and Instagram, where he will often post about his life as a dad and world traveller. That’s not all too, find Jamie Oliver on Pinterest and watch him on his YouTube channel.

Thomas Keller

Image courtesy of Daniella Zalcman

Thomas Keller is an American chef, restaurateur and cookbook writer. He is the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three star Michelin ratings for two restaurants at once, The French Laundry in the Bay area and Per Se in New York City. Keller is arguably one of the most talented and influential chefs in the world.

Keller uses social media to connect with lovers of fine cuisine all over the world. He frequently engages with fans and fellow chefs through his Twitter account, as well as shares recipes and up to date information on his restaurants. Given Keller’s eminence in the world of food, a 140 character recommendation or review from the chef can often signal make or break for an up and comer. Keller has a large community on Facebook, with 150 000 people enjoying photos of his beautiful cuisine and the newest menu updates at one of his many top tier restaurants.

Mario Batali

Image courtesy of Daniel Krieger

Mario Batali is an expert on the history and culture of Italian cuisine, well versed in the nuance of local and regional variances, his unique knowledge and skill set as a chef has helped create an incredible writer and media personality. Batali co-owns restaurants across the globe, including ones in Hong Kong, New York and Singapore.

Batali uses social media to sell books, promote his restaurants and amplify his campaigns as a social activist. He has attracted over 500k followers on Twitter by being real, honest and passionate about the food industry. He uses Twitter to connect with fans and aspiring cooks. Every Tuesday, Batali posts a #HowToTuesday , a weekly video tip answering a common cooking questions, across all his social networks. Batali, an influential face in the culinary world, he uses his voice to not only promote his personal brand, but encourage social change and attract support to the Mario Batali Foundation. His Instagram tells the story of his life on the road and images of his favourite dishes, meanwhile sharing educational videos on YouTube. He is also active on Vine, Pinterest and Foursquare.

Anthony Bourdain

Image courtesy of Jeff Houck

Anthony Bourdain is one of the biggest names in culinary television, with over 1.5 million followers on Twitter and 300k+ on Facebook. He is a chef, author and TV personality that has built a brand around his uncensored personality and cultural adventure programs.

Although Bourdain is a well known name in the kitchen, he uses social media to power his personal brand and speak his mind. Whether it be the commercialisation of the cooking industry, Gordon Ramsay’s lack of culinary authenticity or simply eating grotesque foods on TV, Bourdain thrives on being different and pushing the envelope. On Twitter, Bourdain is often candid, humorous and interacts with fans and colleagues by regularly retweeting and replying. He uses Tumblr to publish his experiences on the road, while sharing and attracting hundreds of comments on each post via his Facebook.

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