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How A Cookbook Can Help Social Media

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I can’t tell you how sick and tired I am of seeing all these social media, seo, twitter, etc. experts that are infecting the places we call home. Some I try to give the benefit of the doubt and look what they have to offer but I am only letdown to see that they are schlepping information they pulled out of an O’Reilly or “For Dummies” book. I began thinking about what this means, thinking is this it, is this what this industry is going to become? False hope. Empty promises. These experts are essentially selling services to show you how to simply use, some try to show you how to game the people on them; and for that they should be shot. But it did make me think about what differentiates people from “experts” and the people who really know how to create real results.

I then thought about these chefs and their cookbooks that they sell every twelve months and why people buy them. What gives them an edge? What defines them as special or the real thing? It can’t always rely on their celebrity, it can’t only rely on the ingredients required. So what is it that draws people to repeatedly buy cookbooks that are written by the same chef who only explores in detail one or two cuisines?

I broke down what I believe to be the key to successful chefs and successful cookbooks and why they become successful outside of celebrity. First, let’s break down the aspects of most cookbooks. They always have ingredients, measurements, awesome photography (food porn), a reason to make the book, and finally certain techniques and skills you’re going to need to accomplish the recipes successfully.

So I began to breakdown what makes a chef successful, which in turns helps a cookbook become successful. A chef has acquired skills, essentially the tools of their trade, they know how to use them with expert craftsmanship. Some are better than others in different areas but for the most part they are well equipped to handle the tools of the trade. Next, it is equally important for chefs to have an intimate relationship with the ingredients they use to make great culinary dishes. When they understand the building blocks of what makes great food and how to build on them they become more successful at their craft. To only know how to wield a knife or how to make great dough but lack knowing what tastes great is only half of the equation. Same if you know the ingredients to combine to make a great dish but lack the knowledge how to transform that raw product into a finished meal through timing, heat, prepping, mixing, and blending; you will inevitably fail. 

But when a chef can combine the tools, ingredients, and skills together that is when you begin to see what makes culinary art. I once heard that most chefs, whether they know it or not, are working from some modified version of recipes crafted from Larousse Gastronomique and Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire which are over 100 years old. So with thousands of ways to make the same dish all derived from roughly the same mother recipe how do chefs define themselves with new cookbooks. Partly, they continue their search to blend and manipulate skills, ingredients, and varying cuisines to make completely new, relevant dishes that make people excited.

This is quite the long way to make my point but here it is. Too many people focus on the technologies (skills, equipment, the knives and blenders) that they forget they need great content (ingredients, fresh and exciting). Also, many people only focus on great content but lack the technology to propel their ideas to the right people. It is truly the fine mix and constant reinvention of both worlds that help business succeed. How can you be an expert of one without understanding the other? Great communication artistry is never self-proclaimed and is always doing what they do because they are passionate about what the end result brings. Great results is the combination of great people who know how to help you connect to the right people at the right place at the right time. Don’t trust experts, trust passionate people who have the skills and ingredients. Like food, the best often comes from places you would never think of and are created by passionate people who commit their lives to giving you their very best.

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Showing 10 comments
  • Robyn McIntyre

    I like the analogy and think it works well. I mentioned on Chris Brogan’s blog recently that “instant experts” and the terminally-obsessed-with-marketing will always be with us. We’ll just have to monitor our diets and make sure we cut the fat from them as much as possible!

  • Robyn McIntyre

    I like the analogy and think it works well. I mentioned on Chris Brogan’s blog recently that “instant experts” and the terminally-obsessed-with-marketing will always be with us. We’ll just have to monitor our diets and make sure we cut the fat from them as much as possible!

  • Rufus

    Very nice analogy. This argument has been going on for some time around our kennel. I think the gorilla in the room is that at some point, someone has to get in early, turn the stoves on and do the grunt work nobody wants to do. The “social media expert” is the executive chef who comes in and approves the dishes with a flourish.

    Great food is almost never created by the celebrity chef, but their underpaid, overworked, dedicated staff. Great cookbook writing is almost never the result of the celebrity, but the work of a tireless and dedicated editor and a great food photographer who can capture the taste of a dish on film.

  • Rufus

    Very nice analogy. This argument has been going on for some time around our kennel. I think the gorilla in the room is that at some point, someone has to get in early, turn the stoves on and do the grunt work nobody wants to do. The “social media expert” is the executive chef who comes in and approves the dishes with a flourish.

    Great food is almost never created by the celebrity chef, but their underpaid, overworked, dedicated staff. Great cookbook writing is almost never the result of the celebrity, but the work of a tireless and dedicated editor and a great food photographer who can capture the taste of a dish on film.

  • David Eger

    Couldn’t agree more. As a “journeyman” working chef, I feel that I learned more about food, technique and timing in my early years while cooking in fast-paced breakfast & lunch joints than in all the subsequent years in fine-dining restaurants. There is nothing like practice and repetition to hone skills and master basic technique. Once you have that, you can cook anything.

    But that’s only part of the equation. True passion & respect for the food you work with, an artist’s eye and an educated palate are all requirements for genuine creativity.

  • David Eger

    Couldn’t agree more. As a “journeyman” working chef, I feel that I learned more about food, technique and timing in my early years while cooking in fast-paced breakfast & lunch joints than in all the subsequent years in fine-dining restaurants. There is nothing like practice and repetition to hone skills and master basic technique. Once you have that, you can cook anything.

    But that’s only part of the equation. True passion & respect for the food you work with, an artist’s eye and an educated palate are all requirements for genuine creativity.

  • Fulya Ulusoy

    As a chef and a social media enthusiast I find the analogy very relevant, and it is hard no to. Cooking, working with many ingredients, using many techniques and tools, researching into many different styles and cultures not to mention tastes and finally bringing them together using your skills and experience, can be applied to basically anything from literature to rocket science, from interior design to architecture, from engineering to medicine, from music to journalism. Like David above mentions, without genuine creativity, all the skills, ingredients and tools will take you nowhere.

  • Fulya Ulusoy

    As a chef and a social media enthusiast I find the analogy very relevant, and it is hard no to. Cooking, working with many ingredients, using many techniques and tools, researching into many different styles and cultures not to mention tastes and finally bringing them together using your skills and experience, can be applied to basically anything from literature to rocket science, from interior design to architecture, from engineering to medicine, from music to journalism. Like David above mentions, without genuine creativity, all the skills, ingredients and tools will take you nowhere.

  • Christene Opaka

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  • Christene Opaka

    This is a great wealth of information that you are publishing to the world. I have bookmarked this web site so I can visit next week and remain in touch with any future updates.

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