hey are both popular with foodies around the world. One is a professional chef with a signature restaurant and the other is a software engineer who found her calling in her kitchen. You may think celebrity chef Kunal Kapur would have been the one to know all the tricks to have a bigger reach with his fans, but it’s YouTuber Archana Doshi who is the forerunner in the digital world.
I started on social media some three to four years ago because I wanted to explore what it is. I was a latecomer on Instagram because I first felt Facebook was enough, then I was on Twitter and felt that was enough. I felt it was too much so it took me a while to jump on to Instagram, the MasterChef India judge, Kapur, told Mail Today.
Doshi, however, recognised that showcasing her skills on the Internet would be her path to being a celebrity way back in 2007 itself.
When I started Archana’s Kitchen, it was just a website and I only had an email address. There was no social media then and the only way for me to get across to people that I wanted to share something that they could make at home was through word of mouth and Google search, said Doshi.
As I was an early starter, I had the advantage of getting traditional Indian recipes online so it would be on the search’s first page. Compared to today, the reach I had was very little. But with social media YouTube, Facebook and Instagram there has been a clear shift.
Digital photo platform Instagram recently had an event in Delhi where the celebrity chef and blogger spoke of their experiences with social media in advancing their popularity and enhancing their culinary skills.
They also discussed how Instagram has changed the way we look at food and provided a platform for both professionals and foodies alike. KAPUR believes social media has helped create the perfect bridge between him and passionate food followers.
I think for me what’s important as a chef is to be connected to people who are consuming what I cook in my kitchen or on my show, said Kapur. My videos become a medium of keeping in touch with my brands or passionate foodies who follow me. I have two profiles. One is video-driven regarding what I am doing and is personal in many ways and the other is of my just-opened restaurant in Abu Dhabi. For me this is the platform to showcase what I do professionally, and you can make a reservation and pre-order your food from the page.
Kapur explains that social media is not just great to leverage professionally but can be used to showcase talent. Everybody has a different requirement. One could be a professional both in food and photography. It gives you a platform to showcase your talent, vocation or passion.
But if you talk of food as a vertical on social media, cooking is also an art, said Kapur.
Just as you have galleries that display pieces of art for people to enjoy or buy, I feel Instagram is that gallery for food. Most of the time people 18 won’t even cook what you show but I just find it gratifying to watch.
Both, however, agree that there’s no procedure to grab maximum attention. Anything could click with the audience, they say, but still certain things should be kept in mind to create something inspiring rather than a dumping of anything and everything.
Photos and videos are the primary way we speak to our audience. The text comes later, said Doshi, whose Instagram followers are mostly millennials and has an older audience on Facebook.
Hashtags are a great way for people to discover things. I use them a lot, personally, to learn not just about food but fitness. [But] there are no particular tricks as such. I upload simple photos on my page, unlike other food bloggers who take more interest in food photography.
My intention is for people to use my recipes, and the image should be very relatable to what it would actually look like when they make it in their kitchen. Yes, it should be neat but very real, and not overly decorated.
Kapur feels that it is great to inspire and be inspired sitting in your home, without spending too much time travelling around the world.
When I started as a chef, the only source of inspiration would be books because one didn’t have the kind of money to travel and see what people are doing to get inspired. I’ve used Instagram to put out a lot of information about different products, places I’ve been to, and important things I’ve been doing with our chefs. So, in a way, I may be inspiring a lot of people.
Similarly, looking at people across the world working with food, seeing ingredients, seeing how they are processing and plating their food, gives me inspiration too. It helps me find a fresh approach, he said.