Top 20 Social Chef of the Year Nominees

The Social Chef: An Appetizing Dish of Transparency

Chefs are no longer blurred faces masked behind counters, hidden in kitchens, with only plates of edible artistry to hint at their presence. Over the past decade, more chefs have become celebrities, thanks to TV outlets like Bravo’s Top Chef, Food Network’s Next Iron Chef, and a slew of cooking shows hosted by over-the-top personalities like Paula Deen and Rachel Ray. As a byproduct of such entertainment exposure, a greater percentage of the masses - both foodies and non-foodies alike - have become more in-tune to the overall dining experience, from conception to consumption. But forget television: Realistically, most chefs aren’t Food Network celebrities, and the typical life of a chef is far from glamorous. The big shift in today’s chef-consumer relationship lies in the transparency and accessibility of social and digital media channels - namely, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Social Chef of the Year Award

The Social Chef of the Year RIZMY Award, to be presented at the first annual Foodservice Digital Marketing Summit on September 24th, will celebrate these rockstar social chefs. This is no hand-selected ranking, but rather is based on our own key methodology - organic data pulled from DigitalCoCo’s proprietary Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), which is specific to the restaurant business and currently tracks more than 50 million U.S. prosumers. In the past, the RSMI has always been geared toward tracking restaurant concepts, but now we’re taking things to another dimension with social chef tracking, something that’s never been done in an uncontrolled manner before. There are three elements we measure for this award: consumer sentiment score, Klout score and influence score, determined by our proprietary Social Insights system. (For more information on how the RSMI works, click here.)

And the Nominees Are...

For the first time ever, we present the Top 20 Social Chef of the Year nominees, in no specific order, from our Index of 6,000 chefs throughout 20 of the nation’s most booming food cities. Some are considered cheflebrities for their notoriety, while others are hot emerging chefs to watch out for. Regardless, all had top scores in the three aforementioned elements. Congratulations to those who made the cut!

The Future of Social Chefs

Social platforms can, and will, become the primary vehicle in how emerging chefs reach future and existing consumers. Whether it’s to showcase their culinary style and highlight dishes with the intention of luring guests through the door, highly successful emerging chefs will need to incorporate tactical digital skill sets to their existing culinary talents. In doing so, chefs will, in a way, become their own media networks.

“Once you eliminate the superstars out of the equation and open up to more emerging chefs, you can start drilling down into some very relevant consumer content based on restaurant actions,” said Paul Barron, Founder of DigitalCoCo and the Restaurant Social Media Index.

“Influential chefs could actually shift the way consumers eat, think and learn about food,” said Barron. “We believe these emerging chefs have a way to reach consumers in a whole new way that is very fresh and alluring. And isn’t that what the culinary world is all about?”