Article first published as Master Chefs, Social Media Apprentices: Missed Opportunities on Technorati.
There may be nothing more social in the world than food. People love to eat. They love to eat together. The love to talk about that they are eating and share recipes online: at least twice a week one of my friends posts a picture called “Dinner Tonight.” Last week, two great food shows, Food Network Star and Master Chef (United States), just picked their winners (events that generated much speculation by fans on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Clearly, social media is a fantastic channel for celebrity chefs to interact with their fans. However, many of the most widely popular chefs are not taking advantage of this.
Gordon Ramsey (one of the judges on Master Chef and star of Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares) is a wildly entertaining chef. He has had phenomenal – global – success in the restaurant world and on TV. His Facebook page has 679,979 Fans (as of 1pm EDT today), many who post on his Wall every day. However, he has not posted an update since March 19, 2009, 844 days ago:
Alton Brown (a guest judge on Food Network Star, star of Good Eats and expert commentator on Iron Chef USA) is very humorous and informative to watch, especially for an ex-Rocket Scientist/Aspiring Chef like me. He is has also been tremendously successful on TV (and the very reason I started to watch Food Network). His Facebook page has 195,548 Fans, many who post on his Wall every day. However, he too has not posted an update recently. His last one was December 4, 2010, 259 days ago:
The beautiful thing about social media is its ability to create open dialogs – between companies (or celebrities) and their customer (Fans) and between people with shared interests. One of the big changes brought on by networks like Facebook is that more and more people are communicating using their true identities (unlike the anonymous aliases of Yesterday’s Internet).
Both of these celebrity chefs are missing out on the chance to take advantage of this dialog: to connect with customers, to share their views more broadly, to advocate charities and causes of interest, and more. Perhaps the reasons are simple: 1) you can only fit so many people in a restaurant and, 2) their television shows already have high ratings. Nevertheless, one can only image how much more these chefs could influence food, diet, cooking charities and everything else in our lives that food touches with just a little bit of social media interaction.