Celebrity Chefs

Social media and influencer culture are changing the way we eat

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Pied Piper @ C-PIX.CO.UK

I spend a lot of time on social media, and nowadays, I see food everywhere. As everyone’s favourite show, America’s Next Top Model teaches us, the way to make it in the celebrity sphere (of any kind) today, is to create a ‘brand’ out of yourself. And what better way to brand yourself than to focus on an aspect of life everyone on earth has some sort of relationship with: food. We all know that social media is basically just advertisements without the conspicuousness of a billboard on the side of the road. But the ventures of celebrities into the culinary industry for their brands is an especially interesting move.

Dieting is not a new trend, of course, but now that we finally live in a post-Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels world, the spotlight over dieting has seemingly been stolen, at least for now, by healthy eating. This can often go way too far: there’s something distasteful about Gigi Hadid being forced to eat a burger every time she’s on a late-night talk show, and the Victoria’s Secret ‘Angels’ promote the New York ‘Dogpound’ Gym as though they’re legally contracted to. Even on a lower scale, how many celebrities have you heard say: ‘I’ve always had a passion for baking, ever since I was a child’, release a cookbook, then seemingly forget that they’ve ever read a recipe in their life once the initial profits have died down? Healthy eating is the latest trend – but, as we can see from the fashion industry, trends are seasonal, and especially on social media, they die quickly. We used to have trends which defined a decade, we now get bored of a meme after only a few days… So, what happens when the trend of healthy eating dies down? Will every celebrity who has tried to enter the culinary world simply retreat and acknowledge that the fad is over? I like the shift of celebrities turning into chefs. I think it’s fun to watch them learn to cook – Karlie Kloss is the first person who comes to mind here: Brand Ambassador for Adidas, her youtube channel Klossy features two cooking-focused playlists: ‘Learning to Cook’ and ‘#KlossyKitchen,’ and the 17-videos included in these two playlists promote healthy eating from the outset. Titles such as ‘A Healthy Take on Mom’s Pumpkin Loaf’ and ‘What I eat after long runs’ are clearly there to maintain the image of Kloss which her fitness-focused take on modeling and ‘strong women’ approach to business have built up over the years. There’s so much good that can come from this trend: Kloss credits professional chefs, her sweet potato pie made with the help of Lena Elkousy, co-founder of the Conscious Food Organisa-
tion Present Plate, and she is giving people who may not have access to cooking classes the chance to improve their diet for free. However, not every celebrity is crediting their recipes, or promoting a healthy lifestyle.

The issue is that in a world where advertisement is hidden under the guise of ‘giving back to the fans’ through content, the question on whether celebrities are beginning to go too far is becoming more and more pressing. At the end of the day, celebrities-as-chefs is an online occurrence. It’s unlikely that just as every model goes into acting, every celebrity is now going to start releasing cookbooks and reality tv cooking competitions. But it is likely that food and healthy eating is going to continue becoming a more and more ‘done’ thing in the promotion of personal brands. The thing to decide is whether such blatant advertisement needs to be announced, or whether it should simply be accepted as part-and-parcel of the digital world we live in.

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