As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of Americans to shelter at home, restaurant dining rooms are shuttered and many people have found themselves confronted with the (perhaps unfamiliar) task of preparing multiple meals a day. Enter food influencers, who have been stepping up to help their audiences find new recipes and spice things up in the kitchen.
We used insights from CreatorIQ, an influencer platform that helps companies run brand ambassador campaigns with content creators, to explore how Instagram videos from celebrity chefs as well as less-famous creators are engaging stay-at-home audiences.
Celebrity Chefs Use Their Chops at Home
There’s something strangely satisfying about seeing your favorite celebrity chef also stuck at home. While you may be used to following them on social media and seeing clips from polished cooking shows or events, now they’re just another person in a kitchen–albeit with decidedly more cooking chops than you.
One example is Paula Deen. According to CreatorIQ, her average engagement rate on Instagram is 1.94%, but this IGTV post for Georgia Cracker Salad, first shared on April 4, has racked up an impressive 7.31% engagement rate.
Chef José Andrés, who founded World Central Kitchen–an organization doing its part right now to help feed communities affected by COVID-19–shared a video on March 24 showing how to make one of his favorite snacks with sushi rice, seaweed, sumac, and anchovies. It’s received more than 91K views with an engagement rate of 2.79%:
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We are sheltering at my house right now … my three daughters and my niece and of course my wife … so we have a big challenge for all of you. We @WCKitchen want to know what you are cooking at home with #RecipesForThePeople! Time to be creative! So here is a video of a quick and easy snack that might not be beautiful but I promise you it tastes amazing. It's very easy, made with seaweed, sushi rice, sumac, and some anchovies (at my house we love tinned fish) Here is my favorite recipe for sushi rice.. I leave the rest up to you! 2 cups sushi rice 1⁄2 cup rice vinegar 1 1⁄2 T sugar 1 t salt Rinse the rice to remove starch, 2 or 3 times & drain it. Put it in a pot with 2 cups water, stir & soak 10 mins. Cover & boil over high, then heat to low and cook for 15min. Remove from the heat and let the rice steam for 5 minutes..while it is cooking, mix the vin/sugar/salt. Spread the rice on a baking sheet to cool, pour the seasoned vinegar over it and stir/fold … don’t smush the grains! Stir until it is cool, and then eat it!
Chef and restaurateur Marc Murphy, who often appears on Food Network’s Chopped, took to IGTV on April 6 to demonstrate the professional way to dice an onion. That video has received an engagement rate of 2.87%, well above Murphy’s Instagram average of 0.95%.
Twists On Old Favorites
Buzzfeed’s Tasty is a behemoth in the social video food world, but most of its videos are focused entirely on the cooking process, and you normally don’t see the chefs behind the hands dicing, whipping, and doling out dishes. The pandemic has changed that. On March 14, one of Tasty’s senior producers, Alvin Zhou, took to his personal Instagram account to try out the current Dalgona coffee craze. This video has an impressive 17.36% engagement rate, over three times Zhou’s average of 4.6%.
For those craving something decadent yet comforting, food blogger Jaclyn Bell used Instagram to share three recipes for edible cookie dough in one combo video on March 29. Its engagement rate of 5.34% surpasses her average on Instagram of 1.27%.
Feel Good Foodie Demonstrates the Power of Handwashing
Right as the stay-at-home orders began, creator Feel Good Foodie took a break from her usual food-forward content to share a video showing a fun activity that teaches kids the power of washing their hands. The March 14 post received an engagement rate of 1.35%, well above her average of 0.46% on Instagram.