Setting the Stage for a Successful Virtual Food Demo
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Concerns with the Coronavirus are likely to move well into the new year and connecting virtually with customers may be your best opportunity to provide shoppers with needed meal ideas, and nutrition tips. Hosting a virtual recipe demo is not only fun but also allows you to showcase seasonal foods, own brand products and cooking tips. Keep your execution simple and focus on providing a meaningful and engaging meal solution to your audience. After you select your recipe and topic, follow these steps to set your demo “stage” for success:
- Identify your location. Taping a video in your home kitchen is fine and is very relatable to the home cooks who are in your audience. Make sure the lighting is good and that your set up and back ground look uncluttered and organized. Look through your camera lens to see what will be captured during a video. Is a nearby desk filled with papers? Is the top of the refrigerator a mess? Can you see dishes in the sink?
- Decide on décor. After you declutter your set, look for simple props that help tell your recipe story. Look for items such as a fresh herb plant or whole fresh produce from your recipe. Organize a corner with some full-size packages of the ingredients you are using, or place a meat thermometer or cooking gadget in view to discuss. Add some seasonal color with placemats, napkins or interesting kitchen towels.
- Determine how you will tape. Your mobile phone is just fine. Make sure you are getting a horizontal shot and consider having a person man the camera vs using a tripod. An individual can move around with the camera to zero in on you as you are speaking, as well as on the food and ingredients during preparation.
- Use the proper tools. Make sure all of your cooking utensils are clean and laid out in a sequential order for food preparation. Use small clear bowls for holding prepared and premeasured ingredients and large clear bowls for any mixing. Have all other mixing/cutting utensils set by the appropriate ingredients and be sure to add in a cutting board if needed.
- Show your finished recipe. Depending on what you are preparing, you may have to precook or bake your recipe to have the finished product ready to show. You can display a full recipe and/or show a plated, garnished portion for tasting.
- Practice but don’t be perfect. Go over your segment a few times to ensure timing is accurate but don’t worry about perfection – be yourself and have fun. You may want to memorize just a few introductory lines and about 3 nutrition and/or culinary tips you want to share. Finally, include a closing call to action such as directing viewers to your website for this recipe and other resources, or to educational materials in your stores.