As a chef, you spend a lot of time perfecting your recipes, but you might be less adept at putting your name out there. However, if you want to take the leap from your kitchen into the wider culinary world, it’s important to develop basic marketing skills, especially if you intend to:

  • Build an online portfolio as a private chef.
  • Build an online persona to attract customers to your restaurant or business.
  • Build an online presence to secure brand collaborations as an influencer chef.

As a chef, you are your own brand – but so is every other chef. And you know what they say about too many chefs… it can be hard to stand out amongst them! That’s why we’ve written this guide with a comprehensive list of marketing strategies for chefs, tailored around helping you find your unique flair and capitalize on it in your marketing efforts. 

Strategy 1: Create an online portfolio

A website is an extremely valuable tool for chefs – or anyone looking to market themselves, for that matter. You want your website to be the first thing that comes up when people look up your name, and it will likely also be the main landing page that you direct people to, from followers to potential employers. Your website should act as your online portfolio, where people can learn more about you and discover a selection of your finest recipes.

Though you might find the prospect of creating a website daunting, there are various Content Management Systems that make it much easier than you’d expect. Some of these website builders include WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace.

WordPress is the most popular by far, powering 43.1% of websites, and part of what makes it appealing is that it has so many pre-built themes and plugins that give food industry bloggers the tools they need to get their site running quickly. As a chef, you could choose a relevant free WordPress theme, add your content and a few plugins, and you’ll be good to start promoting yourself. 

Your website should obviously showcase a range of your signature dishes – but what else is important to include? 

Write a compelling bio

Your bio should clearly outline everything from your work ethic to your experience or personal journey as a chef. You should also verify your bio with backable credentials, such as your formal education, your cooking experience and restaurants you’ve worked with, any special skills or interests as a chef, and any industry awards you may have received. 

Make sure your bio matches the persona you want to convey. Are you cool and collected, formal and suave, or warm and friendly? Whatever the case, make sure your bio is professionally written, grammatically correct, and up-to-date. 

An example of a bio from food blogger Lil’ Luna.
An example of a bio from food blogger Lil’ Luna.

Lil’ Luna keeps her bio fun and accessible with personal pictures, conversational language, and easily readable bullet points, outlining her interests, heritage, and experience. While your bio might differ from the overall style presented here, this is a great example of how to express your personality and style!

Make it easy for people to contact you

You should provide clear, varied contact information on your website. This has the power to take your online connections to the next level. Your ‘Contact Me’ page might include your email address, social media links, an online contact form, or an online chat box. 

Make sure to highlight what the easiest form of communication is. For example, if you’re seeking collaborations or other business opportunities, you can write something like ‘Contact me on to discuss collaborations or private chef hire’. This way, you make it easy to get in touch and increase the chances that the right people will click those links.

An example of a contact page from Divas Dan Cook

Strategy 2: Build a presence on other platforms

Your online presence is about far more than just your website – a strong social media presence is also crucial for sharing recipes, building communities, and securing collaborations with brands or other successful chefs.

So, how can you build a valuable, consistent presence across platforms?

YouTube vs. Instagram vs. TikTok

Visually-based social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are the best ways for chefs to showcase what they do. While each of these platforms offers broadly similar benefits, there are notable differences between them. 

  • YouTube: YouTube is a video-only social media platform. YouTube’s largest demographic is between 18–29, but 49% of people over 65 also consume content here. YouTube favors long-form video content. Google can monetize videos based on ad clicks, but people must watch over 4,000 hours of your content before you’re eligible. 
  • Instagram: Instagram showcases static images, reels, shorts, and live videos. 71% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18–29. Instagram content is relatively quick to create and can be permanently saved or made available for just 24 hours. Monetization includes Instagram shop fronts, collaborations, and ads on reels or shorts. 
  • TikTok: TikTok appeals to a young audience with 15-second videos that include tutorials, dances, and lip-syncing, though several food influencers have made their mark there as well. As well as monetizing through collaborations and sponsored posts, it’s possible to monetize using TikTok ads, or by joining the TikTok Creativity Program Beta

When deciding what platforms you want to be on, consider your preferred content style – for example, do you prefer long-form or short-form content?

However, these are by no means mutually exclusive options. An effective online presence will see you utilizing at least two social media outlets. Make this manageable by thinking about visuals, video length, and pacing during your content creation. It’s possible to reuse at least elements of, say, your YouTube content across both Instagram and TikTok in many instances. 

Develop your online persona

Your recipes are and always will be the star of your online show. But, you’re not only marketing your food here – you’re marketing yourself as a chef, and you need to develop a consistent, relatable online persona to do that.

Take Josh Shearer of Mythical Kitchen – his chaotic method is his trademark, and you can see that in every YouTube video he creates. On the other hand, Rachael Ray’s calm but quick cooking style is on full display on her YouTube channel, The Rachael Ray Show.

So, think hard about what matters to you as a chef, what makes your cooking style unique, and how you can display that best across all of your online platforms.

As a chef, it’s important to stay abreast of what food trends are making waves. Has a dish from a particular restaurant gained popularity? Are content creators fusing two styles of cuisine in a never-before-seen way? Whatever it is, incorporating these trends into your content helps you stay relevant, though the key is to make sure you always add your unique twist! 

There are a few different ways to track current chef trends on social media, and they include following industry trends and leaders, monitoring trending sections on each platform, subscribing to industry newsletters, and using third-party trend analysis tools.

Strategy 3: Share recipes online

You’re probably reluctant to give away all of your chef secrets by sharing your recipes online. Luckily, you can still keep your signature recipes under wraps if you want to – but developing at least some recipes for your online audience is crucial to marketing success.

After all, your recipes are what showcase your skills. By sharing these, you stand a better chance at garnering the attention of potential customers for private hire, employers, or future collaborators. 

You could also use your recipes as a direct source of monetization – either to include affiliate links such as equipment (for example, the cookware you’re using) or use them for ad placement.

You can also use online recipes as teasers for your cookbook, a common practice that’s perfectly showcased by chefs like B. Dylan Hollis and his cookbook ‘Baking YesterYear’.

Baking Yesteryear by B. Dylan Hollis

Simply consider the following effective ways to start sharing. 

Showcase versatility with your recipes

Nobody wants to see a chef make the same recipe time and again. 

To keep people coming back, you need to adopt a versatile recipe portfolio. After all, every chef has a signature style, but they develop diverse, exciting menus within that. Your online recipes are no different – you need to find ways to maintain your signature style while still keeping things interesting.

For instance, you might have a favorite ingredient. Why not develop a series where you make a wide range of recipes with it? Or, if you specialize in something like Japanese food, you could create recipes from different Japanese cities. This will showcase your skills, increase your credibility, and ultimately cement an authentic chef persona. 

The best way to share recipes

Sharing recipes across social media allows you to expand your audience reach, utilize social media analytics, and generally build your community. This is a great way to share content regularly and get a steady stream of engagement. However, social media platforms aren’t built for evergreen content – and you want your best recipes to be easily searchable and accessible. You ideally want people to associate you with your very best recipes. That’s why the best platform for recipe sharing is your online portfolio – the first strategy we outlined in this article. 

The challenge here is that while social media platforms are pre-optimized to format your content and make it look great, publishing content on your site requires more design from your end. If you’re using WordPress, a tool like WP Recipe Maker is the solution you need. This is a recipe plugin that allows you to customize bespoke recipe templates and include them on your blog. 

With WP Recipe Maker, you can add affiliate links to your recipes, allow users to save recipes as collections, or save recipe images to Pinterest, alongside various other useful features. 

A recipe from My Korean Kitchen

WP Recipe Maker can also boost your social media presence by enabling YouTube embeds. These make it easier than ever to repurpose attractive, linked content across platforms, making your recipes more shareable, appealing, and lucrative overall.

Strategy 4: Collaborate with other brands and personas

Collaborations are key to growing an online audience, especially when you’re first getting started.

Whether you develop recipes with trusted brands or other personas in the food industry, collaborations enable you to tap straight into an existing audience base. You can also build your industry authority, and the respect of your audience, by collaborating with well-regarded chefs, restaurants, bloggers, or food influencers. 

Develop recipes for food brands

Food brands are always keen to work with respected food bloggers who can advertise their products. Most often, this will take the form of them either sending you free products or paying you to develop a recipe that showcases their stuff. 

This offers benefits for both the brand and the chef, including a wider audience reach and increased incomes. Collaborations can also result in shared audiences, which can increase web traffic and lead to community growth.

To ensure the best possible outcomes, you should aim to create and display a recipe that drives traffic for a long time. Efficiently showcasing collaborative recipes with WP Recipe Maker can see you supporting collaborative brands with crucial features that enhance a recipe’s usability and appeal. These may include adjustable serving sizes, nutrition labels, ingredient links, and even links right back to the brand in question.

An example of a nutrition label added to a WP Recipe Maker recipe

Take part in pop-up events

The connections that you make online don’t have to stay behind your computer screen. They can also lead to real-life collaborative opportunities like pop-up events. 

Pop-up events are temporary spaces used to showcase everything from food to entertainment. For chefs, pop-ups provide the benefit of high sales and heavy footfall, but without the stress of excess overheads.

This provides a great way to showcase your recipes, especially if you incorporate fun stand banners with links right back to your website and socials. As well as online customer traffic, this is a great way to get other brands at the pop-up to notice what you do and why they, too, could benefit from collaborating with you.

Start marketing yourself as a chef today

Ultimately, marketing is all about showcasing the talent you already have as a chef. You simply need to find the best ways to get your unique culinary style and experience in front of the largest audience possible.

WP Recipe Maker can help you to do that, and it could quickly become an essential marketing tool in your arsenal. All you need to do is continue to develop amazing recipes, and WP Recipe Maker can help make them look great on your website. This can make your recipes easier for everyone to use, will heighten your blog’s profile, and will ultimately make you a more appealing prospect for all-important collaborations. 

Simply check out our WP Recipe Maker pricing plans, and make marketing your next masterpiece. 

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