Monday, October 1, 2007

Foodies unite!

Calling foodies of the world, let's converge in and share your family heirloom recipe with self-proclaimed chefs of Tom, Dick and Harriette.

I've been venturing into the kitchen of late, thanks to Jamie O's influence, who's probably one of UK's most renown celebrity chefs right now. I think why the Jamie Oliver brand is so appealing is because of his down-to-earth style of cooking and sharing of his homemade creations with viewers and fans. Needless to say, he's role in social innovation within the food industry also drew a lot of media attention worldwide.


The surge of food blogs in Malaysia over the past two years suddenly made everyone seem like a professional food critic. Some of these blogs are followed by a legion of fans while some are drawing thousands of ad Ringgit per month. Now my question is, will these blogs ever reach a saturation point? I mean after awhile, everyone would have blogged about a certain certain makan place at some point. Then what happens after that?

I think there is a great opportunity for foodie blogs to evolve into something bigger and more communal like, locally. When every self-proclaimed food connoisseur in Malaysia have tried and tested every possible dish in Klang Valley (or beyond) (and I'm exaggerating), then the time is ripe to move into food creation (from thought creation). Although statistically speaking, the numbers of men cooking is still small but there is a visible trend of young singles living alone or young married couples without kids venturing into cooking - as an interest, not as a chore. They may still opt to eat out on a weekday (I mean, who wants to be near the stove when you've already felt that much heat at work right?) but on weekends, they may possibly go shopping and cook at home. I've had newly wed friends who are still trying and testing their hand in home cooked food. There's definitely something warm about it - men cooking for their ladies and ladies cooking for their men.

If this is a trend, then there will be huge opportunities for:

1) Kitchenware designed with masculinity in mind, using super sturdy and tough steel material that works like a Bosch tool rather than mom's favourite pot. That is IF more men are venturing into the kitchen, even if it's on weekends. While it is sweet and thoughtful to invite a lady over for a weekend dinner, Man would want to look impressive and not pretty in mom's apron.

2) More food communities like this one to inspire bloggers to do more food and share, and foodies to blog about their original culinary experience.

3) Recipes are no longer given like in the good old Kuali-days. Nowadays, people don't even need measurements! If you watch how Nigella cooks or how David Rocco prepares a meal, everything is according to the cook's guesstimate. There are no recipes and measurements on supers. So expect to see more similar videos floating online, produced by amateur cooks.

4) More social dinners amongst the young singles and/or young married couples who have their own place. A time to catch up with friends and strengthen bonds at home instead of outside.

5) More specialty shops selling suave and imported kitchenware from Europe due to the growing appreciation in product aesthetic of new home owners. The best time to showcase these products would be during the social dinners mentioned above.

These are just some of the related microtrends that could be fueling the new food phenomenon, should kitchen be the new hang out place. Now if you don't mind me, I have to go back and cook up a storm at work :)

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