One thing I always tell my team is, “Don’t be afraid to experiment.”
This blog was written on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
Today was one of the most incredible days of my life. I had the opportunity to video chat with Marc Kharrat, co-founder Foodbeast. Foodbeast is one of my favorite places to get my food news. Here, I spoke with Marc about how he and his team are operating the business during the coronavirus pandemic.
How have you pivoted your strategies to accommodate your clients’ needs during the COVID-19 orders? Our strategies haven’t pivoted when it comes to creating quality content, so long as we’re driving engagement and awareness while staying true to our curiosity about food. How we deliver and execute that content has pivoted drastically. We’ve invested a lot more of our resources towards live streams by increasing productions on Twitch.tv for our Kitchen League shows, where 2 chefs go head-to-head while viewers have the ability to sabotage. Recently, we have continued productions on the ground, after being on hiatus during [the] lockdown. We’re constantly keeping up with the news and adjusting our field productions as we see fit to ensure safety. We are requiring social distancing and wearing protective face coverings during all productions in the field.
What trait do you believe is essential for your team to possess during times of unexpected change? Flexibility and creative adaptability. Every day is different, and they must be ready to adapt, not just when it comes to content but how they’re executing that content. Are we looking into all our resources to ensure we’re telling the best story we can? Whether that’s using stock footage online, looking into our archival footage, tapping into contributors, or recording zoom video calls for reporting. It’s key to be as creative as possible, at the end of the day the content needs to be cohesive and engaging, you need to know how to tell a story.
In what ways do you see Foodbeast evolving in the future? As we continue to push non-pretentious recipes at home that anyone can make, we’ve also expanded our network to showcase personalities that we believe our audience will engage with. Whether that means putting our staff in front of the camera or connecting with our network of food influencers to maximize the reach for both parties. I envision a lot more Kitchen League battles in our future programming as well. We’ve found that our viewers want to be involved, and what better way than to have the ability to sabotage chefs live on camera as they cook. It’s proven to be a lot of fun and engaging. Be sure to look out for some of our shows to hit major streaming services as well.
Now more than ever we’re exploring more stories that promote equality and awareness among Black and LGBTQ communities.
Do you believe that the pandemic has caused you to re-evaluate the way you produce and present your content? Yes. We’re pushing for more intimate moments in our videos, inviting viewers into our kitchens, and allowing our staffers to shine through with their unique personalities whether that’s in front of the camera or simply through voiceover. Authenticity and curiosity are what drives our storytelling at Foodbeast. We’ve re-evaluated our video production and post-production workflows for maximum efficiency by dedicating an hour at the end of every day for reviews. At the end of the day, it’s not about how many videos we can launch per week, we’ve always invested in the quality of the stories we’re trying to tell — whether that’s in short recipe form or longer mini-doc episodes. We’ve always been inclusive in our storytelling and highlights, but now more than ever we’re exploring more stories that promote equality and awareness among Black and LGBTQ communities.
What advice would you give to someone looking to translate their passions into a career/start-up within this culinary space? The main advice I would give to someone would be to find your voice and execute on it. Be consistent, not just in content programming and scheduling but also when it comes to voice. And if it takes you some time to configure that and finalize, that’s okay. One thing I always tell my team is, “Don’t be afraid to experiment.” The digital landscape is always changing. One thing I would note is, be aware of your delivery points. Instagram content is a lot different than TikTok content, so on and so forth with Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. So you’ll want to be smart with the content you’re creating, to make sure that you can hit all those buckets by simply using the same footage but rearranging or editing it differently for your channels.
When you think back to all of the projects and groundbreaking events you have been a part of, which one stands out the most, and why? Our mini-documentary on The Farming of Bluefin Tuna really stands out because it brings awareness on the endangerment of the Bluefin Tuna and we were able to travel to Japan to capture it all. We were able to see the farming process from start-to-finish. Recently, we covered a self-funded, woman-owned taqueria in Las Vegas called Taco y Taco for our series called “Taste The Details” which is launching mid-July. I absolutely love that series because it allows us to dive deeper into the restaurants, their dishes, and chefs and owners behind it all. I recommend catching our last episode on Filipino American Cuisine, where we explored why is Filipino American food is overlooked.
Foodbeast is currently working on more pieces on awareness such as videos about black-owned restaurants. I’m excited to see what’s to come.
You can check out Foodbeast’s latest video below: