How To Monetize Your Food Obsession How To Monetize Your Food Obsession According to Bon Appetit, tastemakers hold power in the form of social media accounts. You no longer have to be a well-established food critic to be treated like one; all you need is a camera of some sort and a social media following. Different tastemakers have different policies, as the realm of social media tastemakers is still very new. Some people take advantage of this, while others don’t. Be the one who takes advantage, but don’t overdo it. In fact, a higher following doesn’t necessarily grant you better treatment or even access to the goods. Restaurant PR firms have become weary of the arrogant self-proclaimed Insta-famous divas, and they will opt for those with a more modest following (between 10k and 40k). Code #1 in The Career Code, entitled “Find Something You Love to Do, and Then Figure Out a Way to Get Paid for It” is arguably one of the more disputable codes in the book. What if what you love to do is illegal? What if it’s self-destructive? What if the amount you get paid for it isn’t enough? Hillary Kerr, herself, added a caveat to this code. She loves food, and her friends urge her to turn her love into something she could monetize – because she easily could – but she won’t. “I love food, but I don’t ever want to look at it from a work perspective.” However, for those of you who who wouldn’t mind turning your lifestyle into a steady cash flow, keep reading. You, too, can join the ranks of New Fork City and The Infatuation. The best part is that people (like your mom) can no longer tell you to stop thinking about food because thinking about food all the time is your job now. Your objective is to become a tastemaker or what 2016 refers to as an “influencer.” Put simply, “a tastemaker is anyone who can influence the way you eat.” According to David Sax, the tastemakersaved the deli. The best part is that people can no longer tell you to stop thinking about food because thinking about food all the time is your job now. That being said, the ones who act like divas do it because they know they can get away with it. Not only can tastemakers – particularly those on Instagram – save a business, but they can also help a business flourish. And restaurants know this – going so far as to hire architecture firms to design their spaces to achieve peak “Instagrammability.” Even I have an entire board on Pinterest filled with pictures of menu items from restaurants I want to try in New York City. All of them are pictures I pulled from tastemakers on Instagram. I had no intention of ever going to Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer or Emmy Squared until I saw pictures of the food on Instagram. That’s no coincidence. But why stop at restaurants? “Each of these Instagrammers has amassed a group of loyal followers, often parlaying that success into cookbooks, TV shows and brand partnerships.” One ‘grammer turned her “Instagram pics into an e-commerce business that prints the photos onto phone cases, tote bags and stationary.” You need to take an epic photograph. Go beyond epic, for good measure. You need to geotag. You need to hashtag. You need to tag(your sponsors). Most importantly, do not to lose your footing as a tastemaker. You must be on top of the food trends. According to David Sax, “the most successful food trends reflect what’s going on in society at a given time.” If you see that juicing is in again, strike a sponsorship deal with Organic Avenue (before they die again). If there’s yet another national tragedy, make yourself available to the well-known comfort food brands and restaurants before anyone else does. Pay attention, and stay with the times. Right now, it’s a culture, but it won’t be long before it’s a full-fledged industry. Strike while the iron is hot. Then, when it cools down, monetize another obsession. Shannon Matloob Shannon is a contributor at SWAAY. She has a degree in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University with a passion identifying and researching other women on the path to greatness.