One of the things I love about working with Chefs which differentiates from my past experience representing sports personalities (athletes, coaches and broadcasters), is the way fans interact with my clients when they meet them. When I used to be out and about or at an autograph signing in my sports days, the conversations athletes had with fans, typically went something like this:
Fan: Oh my god, “insert athlete name here”, I can’t believe it’s actually you. I am a huge fan, love the “insert team name here” and have been a fan my whole life.
Athlete: Thank you, it’s great to meet you.
Fan: If you don't mind, can I get a picture with you? My brother will be so jealous.
Athlete: Sure, no problem
Fan: Thank you so much – take picture/sign autograph – Really appreciate it, good luck the rest of the season.
Most of the time, fans are always super jazzed, but they don’t have real conversations with the athletes because, while people may aspire to be an athlete, 99.9% of the time, it’s simply not attainable. This disconnect from reality leaves little common ground to have a real conversation.
Conversely, working with Celebrity Chefs, here is what a typical interaction may look like (if they are not meeting at the restaurant):
Fan: Oh my god, Chef, I can’t believe it’s actually you. I am a huge fan and just recently ate at your restaurant, the halibut dish was AMAZING.
Chef: Thank you so much, really appreciate it. It's great to meet you, glad you liked the halibut. That's one of my favorite dishes on the menu.
Fan: Do you mind if we get a picture and have you sign your cookbook? We have been cooking from this book for a while, it’s got some great recipes in it. The stuffed chicken is our favorite one, our kids love it and we have actually gotten them into the kitchen helping us out. They love it because they feel like little chefs.
Chef: That’s the way I started, my parents would get me involved in the kitchen whenever they could and I fell in love with it from there. The parfait is great for kids as well, you should check it out.
Fan: Yeah, we love that one too, but to be honest, we have a really hard time getting it to come out the right way.
Chef: One little trick I left out of the cookbook is to leave it in the fridge to set an extra hour, try that, it should help. And regardless, just have fun with it, that’s the most important ingredient.
Fan: Awesome, thank you so much and really appreciate the picture, my brother is going to be so jealous.
Depending on who the Chef is, often times the fan is just as jazzed to see the Chef, as they are the athlete. The main difference though is, while being an award-winning chef is still very aspirational, because cooking is something people do every day and they can try to cook the chef's own recipes, its feels attainable. That subtle difference of feeling like you can make a dish by your favorite TV chef, allows the fan to feel like they have more in common with the chef and therefore, a deeper connection and more topics to talk about.