How has social media influenced the food industry?
Social media has made the food industry accessible to everyone. The food industry has to be more accountable as the average person now has a voice and opinion that can go up in 140 characters or as a status update. Up-to-the-second reviews are being written while people dine, course by course photographed and sent out for their world to see and be a virtual part of.
Best produce buys are being discussed online, and people are meeting and dining together based on recommendations by their virtual networks. Trending and topical recipes are shared by the millions of people every day – so why not ask your social media family what you should do with the 5kg of limes you just bought at the market?
The consumer is taking back control and the food industry is reinventing itself in order to accommodate. Chefs are creating fan bases across the globe, and restaurants are taking bookings via a tweet. Never before has the food industry been so accessible and needed to be so transparent.
Why have foodies taken to social media?
Foodies are passionate individuals, passionate about their food, ecstatic over the wines and enthusiastic about their favourite eating establishments. We are a group of individuals who love to share, and social media is the ultimate sharing tool.
What social media application do you think has the most influence for foodies?
It’s tough to choose only one as they all have varying roles that are dependent on what you want to achieve. If you want to have real time conversations about food, recipes, restaurants and the like then twitter is the winner. I would suggest to any foodie reading this that they should get on twitter and follow as many chefs, restaurants, food writers, food enthusiasts and food lovers out there. You will be amazed at who you might meet!
Just last week my partner and I had drinks with one of the top chefs in America, Roy Yamaguchi from Roy’s Restaurant. He owns over 30 restaurants worldwide and has been named as the godfather of Hawaiian fusion cuisine. We met him on twitter!
Facebook is another great social media app, if you want to create Fan pages for your restaurant or food business, start a food cause like Jamie Oliver and the #foodrevolution or like to post links to your favourite online food sites. Facebook can help you reach a whole new audience and you can bring your family and friends along for the ride!
Why do you think foodie blogs are so popular?
I couldn’t imagine a world without the food blog! You can access millions and millions of recipes online which are mostly free. The food blog is also a social media app, and it has become a place to leave comments and bring communities of people together to celebrate food.
Celebrity bloggers are being born and traffic to some food blogs like Lorraine’s Not Quite Nigella exceed those of well respected and known food websites. It is the decade of the blogger, as they become more internet saavy and delicious with every blog post.
How has social media influenced your professional life?
Social media has enabled me to connect with my peers directly and in such a way that no other networking tool has done before. Social media has become my search tool of choice when organising nationwide events, trying to find a food photographer for a shoot or even tracking down the elusive ingredient for my degustation breakfast.
Tell me about The Internet Chef.
The Internet Chef is a portal for good honest food. The aim of the Internet chef is to empower, encourage and inspire people to cook and eat better. I come from a very humble background where food was a means of survival at times, and eating healthy and deliciously wasn’t always top of the culinary agenda.
As a Maori, many of our people are suffering from years of poverty and uneducated food choices so that food related illnesses like diabetes and heart disease are strongly prevalent in our communities. Food related illnesses are a global epidemic with the ever rising increase in popularity of fast food and convenience products. Less and less people are cooking at home and playing less of an active role in their daily food intake.
The internet chef aims to inspire and encourage folks back into the kitchen, teach some sound simple skills so that they feel empowered to take control of their diet and that of their families and then encourage them to keep learning and exploring all the wonderful elements and ingredients that make this such an exciting culinary planet.
What social media applications do you use for The Internet Chef?
I have a few favourites that I would like to share. For chatters and great conversation I use twitter. On Facebook I have an Internet Chef Fan page and you can also follow me on Facebook as Bridget Davis. I use Friend Connect, Stumble and Google Connect. I do have a Google Wave account as well, but I’m finding it a bit clunky so am waiting for the next couple of versions to see if it’s improved its fluidity. I also have a YouTube channel and my blog is a great way to connect with my social media posse!
See Bridget at Media 140 Foodies on 5 May 2010 as she prepare a variety of canapés as part of her renowned degustation. The event will bring together Sydney’s gourmets and gourmands, chefs, food writers, bloggers, critics and restaurateurs. Book here.
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