Waiter, There’s a Brand in My Soup!

I recently spoke at a pre-opening of The International Culinary Association Professionals Conference. The creator/host company of this one-of-a-kind dinner/education event was Cook ‘n Scribble, founded by long time New York Times food writer and bestselling author, Molly O’Neill. logo-cooknscribble

She brought a beloved chef who demonstrated while preparing a Chinese banquet for 30 food journalists, cooks, and brand sponsors. He called out an alphabet of ingredients and spices as each hit the wok and filled every inch of air with masterful aromatic smoke. No irony lost on me that I can barely cook, can’t break apart chopsticks and am not welcome anywhere near a cleaver.

My safest utensil is a customized torch heated branding iron that I happen to have been given by dear friends. I love it and though it will never be used to brand a cow, I brought mine to the dinner with the intention of “fitting in” while talking about standing out.

That is in part what a brand does – fits in as it stands out. So how do we?

There’s no category like food and all things food to demonstrate what can take a business from being a commodity to a lasting and loved brand (or not). Food clearly engages all our physical senses. And taste is just one of those five.

Lirvin Lin for Gourmet Garden/cooknscribble

A question was, if everyone has the same ingredients to work with, how does our company make a difference? The one thing only you have is the life experience that can shape your feast. Understanding the brand inside your brand (your story), and why they should care (their story) is the foundation for creating a genuine “secret sauce.” It’s that sauce that also sparks the sixth and other non physical senses- including their sense of trust, their expectation, delight, joy, trust and the sense they want more of what you’ve got to offer.

So how can you begin to get clear on your vital point of difference?

Try this: Ask yourself what you know for gut certain you have to bring to your business table that customers and clients won’t get when they choose another perfectly good (but not you) ‘chef.’

All you need to is one uncovered “ingredient” to start your story and greater success rolling. Are you ready to stop hiding what you’ve got?

I’d love to hear from you.


Thank you for reading.

Bonus bite: if you love chefs, food, writing about it, making it your business and commingling with the best talents in the business, check out the events on line and off at www.cooknscribble.com.

Photo Credit: Jane Evans Bonacci