Jamie Spafford from SORTEDfood dropped into the Coca-Cola GB HQ to talk about food and friends and how this is a winning recipe for a successful YouTube channel.
How did you come up with the name SORTEDfood?
It was one of those things that just sort of happened. We’d been talking about a lot of different names for a while, trying to find something that encapsulated what we were about and we were struggling, but the one word we kept coming back to when we’d done something was sorted, you know, that’s sorted, I’ve done that, it’s sorted! And it just kind of stuck and we realised that actually that word does some up everything so sorted became SORTEDfood.
When it comes to food and social media, do you have a role for each channel?
Yes I suppose we do. I think it falls with what the platforms are really good at. The best thing about food is it’s so visual so it’s perfect for Instagram. YouTube is a really good way of mixing 2 things we are good at which is the food side of things and entertainment and having a bit of a laugh around with each other. So we really split the platforms between those two areas.
Twitter is very conversational. Snapchat is purely entertainment for us because it’s so quick and you can’t really get anything meaningful food wise out of it. We tend to look at where is best to put food based content and where is best to put entertainment based content. Over time we also realised that photos of our faces weren’t doing as well as photos of food! So it’s about using the right platform for the right content and audience.
What are the challenges that come with cooking on camera?
If you get it wrong it’s not always as easy as just repeating your lines or saying the same thing again because you’ve just ruined half an hour’s worth of cooking so I think the actual food itself is the hardest part. You are doing everything leading up to creating this dish that you want to look amazing for the photos and the video at the end and if something goes wrong along the way you kind of have to start again. That is what makes us rush or slows us down or makes us start all over again – food doesn’t just stay the same over a period of time and whereas we could say the same line again it doesn’t matter if something’s burning!
What’s the secret ingredient to a successful food YouTube channel?
I think for us it’s always been that we are group of friends; only one of us is a chef, the rest of us aren’t classically trained cooks so the fact that we are talking to people on a peer to peer basis means the rest of the community feel they are our friends as well. People feel like they can join in on the jokes and chat to us and I think that separates us from a lot of cooking shows where you have one person telling you the right way to do something whereas we are much more open than that.
We were a group of mates that knew each other all through school and we got to university and realised that we couldn’t cook and we were eating complete rubbish.
Fortunately Ben was training to be a chef and started to give us some quick and easy recipes. We realised that actually he was right - cooking isn’t that difficult and it is cheaper than buying microwave meals all the time and so SORTEDfood started as a way of trying to share those recipes with more people.
What advice do you have for vloggers who are just starting out?
Have something you want to talk about and make sure it’s something you’re passionate about. You don’t ever want it to become a chore where you think ‘I’ve got to make another video, what am I going to talk about!?’ To have something interesting to say, that you are really interested in, I think that comes across well on camera and allows the audience watching it to engage with it and feed off your enthusiasm for the subject.
What does the future of vlogging look like?
I think it’s only going to become more popular. The amount of people that are now starting to talk to camera about things they are really passionate about or interested in is growing and I think it’s uncovering a lot of subjects and people didn’t know there was a place to go and talk about them before. It might be gaming or food or other things but there are now other people out there that are already talking about it and you can join the conversation or start your own conversation and find an audience who wants to talk about it with you. I can only see it getting more popular but probably in more subject based matters rather than general ‘this is what I’m up to with my life’ stuff.
Your BBQ Cola Steak is a popular recipe! How did you come up with it?
To be honest it wasn’t any different from any of the other recipes we get. It was a request from someone within the community who said I’ve seen someone do a Coca-Cola steak, we did some research and then we did it and it was delicious! Can definitely see why it’s popular!
The Diet Coke Chocolate Cake is one of our most liked recipes. Could we see a version of this on SORTEDfood anytime soon?
I’ve not tried it and we’ve never had a request for the Diet Coke chocolate cake as far as I know so if this is a request then yes we can look into it.
We’ve spotted a number of Coke-themed recipes from the Sorted community. What’s the most interesting fan-submitted recipe you’ve seen?
Since we launched our app last summer, which allows people to upload their own recipes, there are now thousands of recipes and we try and go through as many as possible but an interesting one I saw recently was macaroon burgers. Someone had combined little French patisseries so they looked like a burger with all the different layers – we tried them in the studio and they tasted delicious – really sweet but looked like a mini burger!
Do you have any quick and easy tips for people looking to create healthy meals?
I think the best tip is to have a store cupboard full of quick things you can cook up – whether its pasta or rice or couscous – then you can just buy some fresh ingredients – like tomatoes or peppers and throw it together. It can be healthy and really easy.