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A Media, Not Marketing Case Study: The Rise of Chef Tim Anderson
16th April 2015 • Editor-in-Chief • Rainmaker.FM
00:00:00 00:56:37

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How does a reality television competition help launch your career if the winner doesn t receive a monetary prize?

Today s guest on Editor-in-Chief is an American who won the British television program MasterChef in 2011.

Tim Anderson is now an entrepreneur and author whose first book, Nanban: Japanese Soul Food, is available from SquarePeg in the UK.

Let s find out about the role media has played in Tim s career and how producing media continues to enable Tim to do what he loves to do …

In this 60-minute episode, Tim Anderson and I discuss:

  • The art of using Twitter
  • The difference between a beer geek and a beer salesman (and why a beer geek is more powerful)
  • How MasterChef helped build Tim s career even though there was no monetary prize
  • How to continually maintain your status as a likeable expert
  • Whether or not Tim is an Editor-in-Chief (or an Editor-in-Chef)
  • A key ingredient to success as a media producer (it s more than hard work)
  • How Tim s focused strategy led to his book deal
  • Who you want to include when building a business team
  • Updates to my definition of an Editor-in-Chief
  • Why podcasts are even more popular than matcha green tea

Listen to Editor-in-Chief below ...

The Show Notes

The Transcript

A ‘Media, Not Marketing’ Case Study: The Rise of Chef Tim Anderson

Voiceover: This is Rainmaker.FM, a digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at Rainmaker.FM/Platform.

Stefanie Flaxman: Hello there, my Editor-in-Chief friends. I’m Stefanie Flaxman, and you are listening to Editor-in-Chief, the audio broadcast that delivers the art of writing updated for the digital age to help you become a stronger media producer.

On today’s episode, I’m going to share a conversation that I had recently with an author who has a book coming out today, April 16th, 2015 — if you are listening the day that this episode goes live — it is called Nanban: Japanese Soul Food. He also won the cooking competition, MasterChef, in the UK in 2011.

He’s also an entrepreneur, but to me, he’s just my old friend Tim. On Twitter he is @ChefTimAnderson.

Now let’s find out why I consider Tim Anderson to be an Editor-in-Chief. Can we talk about the bacon pancakes that you tweeted about this morning? It was very distracting. You put characters that made me want to sing along, those little music characters, and your Tweet, where I kind of knew what you were going for, so I made up a little bacon pancake song. Can we talk about what happened with those?

Tim Anderson: It is a song.

Stefanie Flaxman: Oh.

Tim Anderson: I wasn’t actually making bacon pancakes. Do you watch Adventure Time?

Stefanie Flaxman: I am not familiar. Hmm.

Tim Anderson: No?

Stefanie Flaxman: I did not get the joke. I’m that lame person that took a Tweet literally.

Tim Anderson: No, no, no. It’s a children’s cartoon show, Adventure Time. It’s more nerdy to get the joke. Five people favorited it, and I was like, “Ah, nerds. Fellow nerds.” But anyway, it’s a song. It’s a very catchy song.

There’s a character, he’s a shape-shifting dog on the show. It’s a great show by the way. It’s awesome. It’s very surreal. It appeals to adults who have kind of a weird sense of humor and a nerdy love of the occult and fantasy-type things. Anyway, he sings a song about it — I could sing it — while he’s making bacon pancakes.

Stefanie Flaxman: Do you want to sing it? Can you sing it?

Tim Anderson: Yeah, sure.

Stefanie Flaxman: Go for it! Unless you don’t want to, I don’t want to force you.

Tim Anderson: “Bacon Pancakes. Making Bacon Pancakes. Take some bacon, and I put it in a pancake. Bacon pancakes, that’s what I m going to make. Bacon Pancakes.”

Stefanie Flaxman: Thank you. Thank you for doing that. I did not know that it was a real song, so thank you for enlightening me. It’s funny to me when people don’t get jokes on Twitter and then take them literally, and I just did that because I have ideas that I wanted to talk to you about, and then when I saw you Tweeted that, I got really

Tim Anderson: We had to talk about the bacon pancakes.

Stefanie Flaxman: Yeah. I was like, “OK, I’m hungry now,” because following you on Twitter is very distracting because all the food that you Tweet looks so good. I understand now why you did it.

The Art of Using Twitter

Tim Anderson: That’s part of the fun of Twitter actually. You can say things that can appeal to people on one level and then another group of people on a different level. You know what I mean? Everybody kind of sees bacon pancakes. They’re like, “Oh, I don’t know what that is, but that’s sounds good.” Then there are other people, maybe 10% of them who are like, “Oh, I get it. He’s doing the thing from the show.”

You can have little inside jokes on Twitter but still make it work as long as you say things that sort of have some weird silly appeal for the people who aren’t in on a joke. I like stuff like that. I like saying things on Twitter and social media in general that may not be totally understood by everybody. I don’t really know why. It’s just my sense of humor.

Stefanie Flaxman: Well, if you’re trying to please everyone, you’re going to please no one. I mean that sounds cliché, but it’s very true. Also what I really liked about it is people interpret things based on their own worldviews. This is kind of my view of art in general — that the artist s intent plays some role in a piece of artwork. I am comparing a Tweet to a piece of artwork right now.

It takes on a whole new life once a piece of art is put into the world because then it’s interpreted based on someone else’s worldview of how they see that art, which could really differ from the artist s original intentions. It takes on this whole life, and the artist has to release control. I like that you like it could be interpreted in different ways because that’s kind of the beauty of creating anything.

Tim Anderson: Right. The only time you run into trouble is when you try to be sarcastic or ironic on Twitter. You always have a straight face on Twitter unless you put a little smiley or something afterwards. There’s no way of gauging whether or not somebody is trying to be funny.

I’ve said things on Twitter that are completely sarcastic, and people would come back and say, “How could you say that. That’s a terrible thing to say. Or, “That’s completely wrong.” It’s like, “Well, yeah, I know. That’s how irony works. I’m saying something and intending the opposite.”

I can t remember who it was, but somebody described somebody on Twitter. I think it might have been Roy Choi. Roy Choi is a great example. You know Roy Choi? Should I explain Roy Choi?

Stefanie Flaxman: Yeah, you could explain. That d be good.

Tim Anderson: Roy Choi, he’s the founder of the Kogi taco trucks, Korean taco trucks. He s sort of known as the father of the modern taco truck, or the food truck movement, which is sort of taken over the whole Western world now. He invented the Korean taco, or at least popularized them depending on who you believe. He’s also known for being sort of an advocate of smoking pot. He also just has a weirdly stream of consciousness-type Twitter feed, which not all of it s ’cause he’s stoned, but some of it is.

But you read his tweets — and somebody described him as weird Haiku — they’re just sort of bursts of words sometimes. Sometimes you get it, and sometimes you’re like, “What? What’s going on?” But it’s intriguing all the same.

There’s another couple of bloggers. It’s these chef couple who blog under the name Ideas and Food. Their Twitter feed kind of goes that same way as well. They’ll just tweet three words, three ingredients in succession, and it’s like, “I don’t really know what I’m looking at.” But sometimes it’s brilliant ideas. One of their most recent ones was ‘Reuben Fried Rice.’

Stefanie Flaxman: That was the whole tweet.

Tim Anderson: The whole tweet. No explanation. No photo. No nothing. I was like, “Yeah, but that’s brilliant. That makes so much sense. Fried rice with everything that’s in a Reuben sandwich.” Other people might look at them and be like, “What? I can’t even move my head around that.” I like Twitter because you can be kind of weird, and then the people who are weird like you appreciate it.

Stefanie Flaxman: Yeah, definitely.

Tim Anderson: You find the people who have the same weirdness through Twitter.

Stefanie Flaxman: And you learn that quickly because the people who want to be combative to you, who don’t understand sarcasm, you re like, OK, those aren’t my people.” Then there are people who will write back, and they’re like, “Yeah, man, I get it.” That’s really cool. It helps you find your people. It makes you more likable to the people who would like you already because they get a sense of your personality, and that they understand too. Go ahead.

Tim Anderson: Do find that you have to edit yourself a lot on Twitter, or stop yourself saying things, for one reason or another?

Stefanie Flaxman: I don’t really. What I’ve been doing with Twitter lately is I’ve been only tweeting one word at a time.

Tim Anderson: Really? I have not noticed this, sorry. I’ll have to follow you more closely.

Stefanie Flaxman: I haven’t been too active. I’ve been tweeting a story backwards one word at a time. So when you look at my timeline, it reads forward.

Tim Anderson: Ah, pretty cool.

Stefanie Flaxman: Thank you. I’m taking an intermission from it right now. I kind of have one thought that actually was over the past year. I haven’t been very active. I think a couple of people that I don’t know did @-message me and say, “I don’t understand your timeline,” or things like that. It’s funny because this is probably the first time I’ve explained it. I didn’t want to make a big explanation. That’s just kind of what I wanted to do with Twitter.

Tim Anderson: Well now it’s out there.

Stefanie Flaxman: Yeah. I think of my timeline, again, as a piece of art that I’m crafting. I was being very selective. What’s cool, what I really liked about it is only for the past year that my timeline is just one word — each tweet on it is one word — it is that interpretation of it as a standalone piece of work. If I just tweet the word intentional, people might interpret that based on what’s going on in their own lives, their, again, worldview of the things. That stands alone, but it’s also part of a bigger story.

Tim Anderson: That’s really interesting because I’m totally the opposite. I don’t ever even think about what my timeline would look like as a collected body of work. I think most people are like that. They sort of just put stuff out there. It s almost whatever comes into their heads. Often what they want, you’re trying to be interesting or cool or something. There’s this great Twitter bot called Anagramatron, and it finds tweets that are anagrams of each other. Then it retweets them together.

Stefanie Flaxman: Oh, wow.

Tim Anderson: So you see these two totally completely unrelated tweets from people who you would never know normally. Sometimes they seem to fit together weirdly, and sometimes they’re just nonsense. It’s all about how the reader interprets it mostly. And also, it lets you see how other people tweet because we all follow people we think are interesting, or we follow people that we have to for social reasons. Then with this random retweeting, you see people talking about just anything. Like somebody says, “Oh, tried a new shampoo today.” It’s like, “OK.” It’s just weird because what people put out there, it’s totally different for everybody.

Stefanie Flaxman: I think it is smarter to not be as calculated. I think that you can, not have to edit yourself. Where I was going with explaining my timeline when you asked about if I find myself editing, that’s a whole calculated move on my part. I have the story written out one word, and then I chose when to tweet each word.

Tim Anderson: That’s the extreme case.

Stefanie Flaxman: I’m an extreme case, yeah. I think there’s a lot of value when you aren’t worrying too much about censoring yourself. You don’t want go off the deep end. But it is a really interesting platform. I really like it. It’s my favorite of the social media platforms. I’ll get notifications now in my timeline that are things that my followers favorited or not just retweets and things like that.

It’s exactly what you said. You re kind of exposed to these people that you wouldn’t normally follow. But it’s interesting to see because there are so many people talking about so many different things. It’s an interesting way to find out those people that you wouldn’t normally seek out, and say like, “What are you doing on Twitter. How are you using it?”

Tim Anderson: Yeah, it’s very weird, isn’t it? Very interesting.

Stefanie Flaxman: I like it. So your food pictures always make me hungry. I think that’s why I interpreted the bacon pancakes literally. Thank you again for giving us that song. That song was a treat, and it was educational because I was not aware of it other than the jingle, like you said, I made up in my head. I’ve been talking about the food on your Twitter timeline. I would like to go back, if you don’t mind, talk about MasterChef a little bit and how you got involved with the show you won in 2011, is that correct?

Tim Anderson: That’s right.

Stefanie Flaxman: I’d love to hear about your culinary background, how you got involved with the show, and then we can go from there.

Tim Anderson: OK. For people who haven’t seen MasterChef, it’s basically like American Idol for cooking. It’s for people who are amateur cooks who think they’re hot chefs, and they want to start a career with cooking or food in some way. That’s the idea. It’s like a talent show. So you re put through a lot of different challenges, and trials, and tastings and stuff like that with dishes that you make yourself and sometimes you make under big name chefs. It’s a really great show and a good experience. It’s a lot of fun.

Anyway, I’ve always been into food ever since I was a teenager, Japanese food in particular. I ve also always been into food TV like cooking shows. When I was growing up, I used to watch like Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali and stuff, and Anthony Bourdain on TV. And Iron Chef. Iron Chef was the big one. Not really the remake, but the original Japanese one, which I discovered when I was like 14 and they started showing on the Food Network. It sort of blew my mind. Never really...