In the bustling world of food and cooking brands, the ability to stand out is more than an asset – it’s a matter of survival. As competition intensifies in the current market, it’s essential that brands distinguish themselves.
One effective way to do this? It’s a partnership with a celebrity chef. These culinary superstars don’t just bring their cookery to the table. They offer influence, prestige, and their loyal legions of food-loving followers too.
In this article, we’re going to explore the powerful benefits of working with famous chefs that give brands a much-needed boost. We’ll break down why endorsements can be so effective, the strategies they use, and how both the chef and the brand get the most out of a winning partnership. Take a look.
Why celebrity endorsements work so well
A well-matched celebrity endorsement leverages the power of reputation in a way other types of ad campaigns can’t. By getting a celebrity chef on board, brands can tap into the trust and loyalty that consumers have for their favourite food personalities. The credibility that comes from an expert’s approval is also huge.
Just think of Heston Blumenthal’s Waitrose products, which offered something both premium and a little different. Or Nadiya Hussain’s Prestige line – who else would you trust to recommend good bakeware? Or even Loyd Grossman sauces: one of the first food ranges curated not by a chef, but by a well-known food critic and Masterchef judge!
When we see our favourite chefs and food experts recommending products, it feels like their ‘stamp of approval’. As social creatures, we feel like we know our favourite celebrities – so we trust that they wouldn’t put their name to something they didn’t believe in. These subconscious positive feelings are extremely powerful in advertising.
Marketing your food brand with a celebrity chef
A celebrity endorsement isn’t just about “label slapping” – taking someone’s name onto a product – the varied marketing opportunities are huge. Collaborations with chefs produce unique social content, bespoke recipes, cooking shows, and even podcasts.
Sponsored social media content is an especially popular option, allowing brands to showcase their products in use by the chef. Because chefs often create the content at home in their own time, it feels more authentic than traditional advertising.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. TV appearances, book deals, speciality products and much more can all be part of a food brand’s collaboration with a celebrity chef. Take a look at Jamie Oliver’s many partnerships and you’ll get the idea. His endorsement of Tefal Pans is in its 10th year now!
Tips to get your celebrity chef partnership right
When it comes to making the most out of a celebrity chef endorsement, the key is finding the right fit for the brand. Both the brand and the chef need to think carefully about who the target audience is – particularly their values and tastes in food – before they make their choice.
When we think of a ‘celebrity chef’, we’re probably thinking of a few ultra-famous chefs on TV. But brands don’t discount the power of lesser-known names, local heroes or food content creators on TikTok, YouTube or Instagram. It’s more important to find someone with an authentic connection with the product than a household name.
Once a brand has found their perfect brand partner, they make sure they have clear expectations from both sides. It’s essential for both parties to understand each other’s aims and be open to communication and negotiation. The best campaigns give the chef the freedom to be creative – they don’t want a generic, insincere endorsement.
Our celebrity chefs and their partners
Wondering what a successful collaboration with a celebrity chef actually looks like? Here are a few examples from our roster of famous chefs.
Jo Pratt – Cooks&Co
Award-winning cook, author and food stylist Jo Pratt partnered with Cooks&Co to develop six recipes using their high-quality store cupboard ingredients. These recipes formed part of a social media collaboration between Jo and Cooks&Co, which included posts on Instagram (reels, grid and story posts) and Twitter on both Jo’s and Cooks & Co’s accounts.
Jo also shared her ‘Hints & Tips’ and judged a sandwich competition put out to Cooks&Co and Jo’s followers. The Cooks&Co competition had over 1,400 votes for the semi-finalists. The winner was the viral TikTok influencer @sensationalsandwiches.
José Pizarro – Cinco Jotas
Restaurateur and chef José Pizarro is the UK brand ambassador for Cinco Jotas, producers of Spain’s best quality acorn-fed Ibérico jamon. José, who has been described as ‘the godfather of Spanish cuisine in the UK’, is deeply passionate about this premium Spanish product.
Cinco Jotas ham is proudly served in all seven of José’s restaurants and is also sold in their online store. This brand partnership also includes press trips, tastings, social media collaboration and events for press, chef colleagues and influencers.
Dean Edwards – OXO
TV chef and TikTok influencer Dean Edwards is working with OXO to promote their expert range of kitchen equipment. Dean has developed social media content across his Instagram and TikTok profiles, demonstrating the quality and utility of his favourite OXO products.
For instance, Dean’s festive video on making the ultimate roast potatoes featured a peeler, grater and garlic press by OXO. Dean included links to all the OXO products in his posts, in order to drive traffic to the OXO UK website and raise the profile of the brand.
Nisha Katona – Haier Kitchens
Restaurateur and TV chef Nisha Katona MBE is a brand ambassador for the premium kitchen appliance brand Haier. Their joint campaigns have covered editorial PR, social media, website, digital advertising, TV adverts and live events.
Nisha has also developed recipes showcasing the use of Haier’s very technical equipment to feature across all media. Nisha is a passionate chef who is fantastic at demonstrating and raising enthusiasm about products, which makes her the perfect match for this designer brand.
Neil Rankin – Ardberg
Scottish barbecue chef Neil Rankin worked with Ardberg, his absolute favourite Scottish whisky, on a collaborative social media campaign. The authenticity of this campaign shone through, highlighting the importance of pairing talent with brands that mean something to them, in order to create organic and engaging content.
Jack Stein – Neff
Jack Stein – TV chef and director of Rick Stein Restaurants – is a brand ambassador for Neff Appliances in Ireland. Jack represents the brand by using Neff equipment in social media posts and cooking demonstrations, as well as wearing their aprons and chef whites. He has also developed recipes and given media interviews whilst representing the brand.
Could celebrity advertising give your food brand a boost?
DML Talent works with some of the UK’s best food talent, from Michelin star chefs and TV cooks to TikTok influencers and cookbook authors. We’re dedicated to matching our talent to the right brands, to create collaborations that are both successful and authentic.
Our clients have partnered with a whole host of household names, from IKEA and Waitrose to Uber Eats and Subway. Get in touch with our small and friendly talent management team, and find out what our celebrity clients could do for your food brand today.