Here’s How We’re Taking Cooking In An Exciting New Direction (Without Actually Changing Anything)

As many of you will already know, the purpose behind SORTEDfood has always been to inspire people to get into the kitchen and show how easy it can be to cook up great food… and how it can be made even better if your friends are there with you!

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As things have grown over the last 6 years, we’ve worked hard to remain independent so that nobody else can mess with our principles, we’ve turned down investment and short-sighted commercial opportunities in favour of growing our community the proper way – by creating a place that people want to spend time and indulge themselves around cooking.

Obviously without big investment behind us, we’ve always tried to work out how best to reach people and bring them into our ever-growing corner of the internet. We’re constantly analysing everything we do to see how we can improve it… How can we make it more useful/entertaining? How can we make more people want to cook this dish? Why would people want to share this with their friends?

And of course, none of this progress is possible without experimenting. Different recipes, different types of content (video/editorial/photography etc), different styles of video… Which leads nicely on to the point of this article (I know, right? FINALLY!).

Late last year we started noticing that our YouTube, Facebook and Instagram feeds were full of a new style of recipe video – shot from above, with only a pair of hands interacting with the food. What’s more, these videos were getting MILLIONS of views… It was interesting, but there was something missing… An actual recipe!

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Now call me a snob, but putting baked beans and cheese in-between 2 slices of bread and sticking it in a toastie machine is not a recipe. It’s not even cooking, just the lowest form of ‘food’. Now I could forgive these videos if they were one-offs, but they’re not – each one just seems to be a different way of combining pizza/burger/bacon/hotdogs/chocolate/grilled cheese with another food.

Now, indulgent comfort food and sweet recipes have always featured in our content, and always will… But they’ve never been the point because they’re not the kind of food you can (or should) cook every day. Which is why you’ll also see our YouTube channel full of salads, stews, soups and other non-viral, everyday dishes.

But this new, top-down style of video seemed to be taking off, so we decided to trial some as bonus videos on top of the standard recipe videos and FridgeCams we currently produce. However, we decided that if we were going to do them, we needed to ensure 3 key things:

1. There will always be 2 sets of hands in the videos – after all, SORTEDfood has always been about cooking with friends.

2. There will always be a coherent written recipe for people to follow.

3. There must be a mix of sweet and savoury recipes, with the emphasis being on cooking from scratch, like we’ve always done.

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James has taken this project on from the food side and Mike and Barry have led from a creative point of view – each trying to work out how we can improve on the style of the trending videos with clever recipes, seamless sliding frame transitions and great editing.

The first brand new recipe went live across YouTube and Facebook on Wednesday and was greeted with mixed reactions – nothing unusual for a new style of video (did you see some of the comments on our first eyeCandy video?), but some of the comments stuck out… Suddenly we were being compared to the likes of Buzzfeed and their Tasty channels.

Now, usually a comparison to a company as successful as Buzzfeed would be music to our ears… But this time it got on my nerves.

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Whilst we will always trial new filming styles, platforms and ways of reaching people and getting them interested in cooking, you can be damn sure that we will never compromise on our integrity when it comes to food and the recipes we cook. Each of our recipes contains input from people like you, to make the best possible version. We make sure there’s a good selection of protein and carb sources, dishes that adhere to different dietary requirements. And most importantly, each recipe is rigorously tested by our fully qualified food team and is supported by a full written recipe on our website… and if it goes wrong? You can get in touch on any social platform and be sure to get a reply from one of us or another member of the community who is willing to help.

That doesn’t exist anywhere else. We truly believe that SORTEDfood has a unique opportunity to become the home of cooking for a whole new generation – the generation who want to learn from, be inspired by and pass inspiration on to others to get in the kitchen and cook up great food.

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SORTEDfood has always been about more than just the 4 of us. It’s not even just about the 8 other people who work with us everyday to build it up. It’s about the 1.9 million people online who really make SORTEDfood unique and enable this community to grow and succeed. It’s about YOU!

And honestly, there’s no shortcuts to building something like this. So with your help we want to carry on doing it the proper way – innovating, constantly finding new ways to engage people around cooking on new platforms… and making sure we all have a lot of fun along the way!

Of course, the irony is that if you’re reading this, you’re probably already quite invested in the SORTEDfood story and would (hopefully!) like to see this incredible community continue to achieve amazing things. So if you see anyone spreading any negativity, feel free to send them the link to this post or come chat to me on @SORTEDfood or @JamieSpafford on Twitter.

Loves, cuddles and kisses like always,

Jamie

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