How to Utilize a Celebrity Chef for Events & Expos

Posted on 25th January 2018 in Celebrity Chefs

Booking a celebrity chef for events is an art. With so many talented and versatile chefs for hire, it’s hard to know which one is the right fit. At Celebrity Chef Network, our expertise is knowing how to match the ideal celebrity chef for events. We’re pros. Trust us, we know there’s a lot to consider!

You want to make sure you hire a celebrity chef who will excite your audience, and you also want to ensure the chef has the right experience for your event. A chef known for innovative fusion cuisine may not be a great fit for a meat and potatoes crowd, but would be excellent for a group of adventurous foodies.

If it’s a cooking event, you want a chef trained in a variety of cooking styles who can explain the ABCs of cooking clearly. If it’s a speaking event, you want a poised celebrity chef speaker who can articulate their insights and experiences in an engaging way.

What is your audience looking for, and who is the best celebrity chef to achieve your event goals? Not only can we help you book the perfect chef for your event, but we’ll also show you how to utilize the chef to the best of their abilities. Here’s a look at some ways to make your event a hit:

Create a Performance – Live Celebrity Chef Cooking Demos:

Celebrity chefs are excellent performers. Most of the chefs and personalities on our roster have television experience, so they’re as comfortable cooking a great meal as they are performing for an audience. These speakers are poised and skilled at working a crowd.

But how to have them perform? A lot depends on the style of your event. Events that are about motivation, entrepreneurship, career building, or following a passion are great for chefs who can command a stage, such as Debi Mazar or Anne Burrell. Or, you can go with a chef who’s overcome great obstacles to achieve success, such as Jeff Henderson. These speakers are ideal for stage podium talks.

If the space or venue allows for it, it’s always a great idea to have the chef give a cooking demo. Is there a way to integrate your event’s goals with the chef’s cooking? If it’s a motivational event about taking risks, perhaps have the chef create a dish that’s tricky or difficult, or even off the cuff. If the event is about company morale, a high-energy, charismatic chef who can put on a thrilling cooking show might be a good way to amp up energy levels.

Some events are smaller, which make them ideal for an engaging interactive performance. Participant interaction can include having audience members cook with the chef, or offering the audience cooking stations in which selected participants cook at the same time as the chef. You could even include a competition between participants. The idea is to integrate the speaker with your audience for a fun, creative, memorable experience for everyone.

Hire More Than One Celebrity Chef:

Think about bringing in more than one chef. This group of culinary experts can cook together, or have a cook-off. A repartee or a competition boosted with lots of sensory stimulation—the savory aromas of food as it cooks, the sounds of veggies sizzling in a pan, the visual of watching masters at work—makes for an experience like none other.

Chef panels are a low-key but equally engaging way to utilize a celebrity chef for events. In this style, an emcee or moderator guides the chef panelists to talk in an insightful and informed way about the topic at hand.

On panels, it’s common for one expert chef to tap into something another expert also wants to discuss, creating a seamless conversational thread among the panelists. For example, a group of former successful Top Chef contestants, such as Angelo Sosa, Antonia Lofaso, and Fabio Viviani could talk about being on camera, launching their careers, or how television continues to play a role in their lives.

Promote Products:

Promoting a celebrity chef by integrating the product or products that are associated with your event gives the audience a useful context, as well as action items, for the presentation.

If you’re hosting a cooking expo and the chef is promoting your knives to potential buyers, you should make sure the chef is chopping and dicing ingredients. Or, if it’s a new electronic gadget, such as a sharpener or a timer, a chef can use the product in a practical demonstration while also discussing the item as he or she cooks.

Even at a food festival, integrating your product’s logo on a chef’s cooking tent can be enough to ensure solid promotion. It’s a nice idea to teach the chef about the product before the event, showing them all of the ways to utilize it. Then let the chef offer their own spin on the product. You’d be amazed; sometimes chefs can talk about, and promote, a product in a way you’ve never thought of before.

Then there’s social media. Use it! Take photos and post them on your company’s Instagram or Facebook feeds to help boost traffic to your site. You can live-tweet the cooking demo, while also promoting a new recipe. Maybe even hand over your social media account to the celebrity chef and let them take over—a fun and creative way to bring a lot of attention to your product.

Chefs can promote food, of course. Think Tyler Florence for Applebee’s, or Bobby Flay for Fage Fruyo. But they can also promote other, non-food products. Nobu Matsuhisa endorses Chase Sapphire, and David Chang reps Uniqlo. When it comes to promotion, thinking outside of the box is fine. The chef and the product don’t have to be perfectly matched to be successful.

Ask the Chef to Talk About Business:

Not all events are right for cooking integration. A celebrity chef is an entrepreneur after all. Chefs can speak about savvy business tactics, such as how to grow an entity from the bottom to the top; how to fundraise; essential marketing tactics and tools; the key to innovation; and how to grow a company steadily and smartly. While these topics tend to be relevant at more serious events than, say, a food festival, the benefit of having a chef touch on these points is that they bring enthusiasm and contagious passion to the presentation.

When you hire celebrity chefs for events, you’re hiring a person who can speak, act, perform, integrate, promote, and market a product. It’s a win-win.

That said, no two chefs are the same. There are so many ways to use a chef, and some are better suited for certain events than others. You’ll need guidance. That’s where we come in. Connect with us to help you select the right celebrity chef for events. We’ll discuss the best ways to utilize your celebrity chef based on the type of event you’re organizing and what you’re looking to accomplish. Plus, we’ll do it all within your budget. Contact us today.

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