Main Food Industry Influencers
The passion for food and the ability to produce attractive and engaging content connects all these personalities. They had conquered the hearts of millions of followers on Instagram and other social media platforms.
Some are Michelin-starred chefs, some are iconic self-styled foodies, and some are accidental social media sensations. The top industry influencers span all ages – from 26 years young to 80 – and backgrounds, from African to Turkish to British.
Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)
Ina is a celebrity chef, famous for the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and show on Food Network, a 74-year-old New Yorker with an MBA and White House experience. Despite taking a six-week absence from Instagram in June-July 2020, she continues to gain followers with her usually prolific posts in which she shares everything from homemade cocktails and cake recipes to entertaining tips and floral displays.
Ina Garten started her culinary career with a gourmet food store, Barefoot Contessa, in the Hamptons in the late 70s. This highly successful venture secured a celebrity clientele. It led to her becoming, in her 50s, a bestselling cookbook author and TV host of the wildly popular Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and TV show, which showcases her signature brand of ‘earthy yet elegant cooking. The TV show was top-rated for over 17 years and garnered a Daytime Emmy Award. Ina also launched her own line of upscale packaged convenience foods, including sauces and cake mixes, and was recently included in the inaugural 2021 Forbes 50 over 50 this year.
Foody Fetish (Yanni Georgoulakis)
Miami-based Yanni Georgoulakis, the man behind the well-known Foody Fetish brand, is an accidental social media influencer with a passion for food and his Cuban and Greek heritage. Foody Fetish gained over 3M audience on Instagram in just a few years. He publishes a story of Yanni’s journey through life via food, drinks, and travel to hotel destinations.
Yanni celebrates cultural food taken in beautiful locations with stunning photography that is a nod to his background in photography. Foody Fetish has partnered with everyone from small food brands to significant players like Burger King, Papa Johns’s, and Major League Baseball.
Foodgod (previously Jonathan Cheban)
Foodgod (AKA Jonathan Chaban), who changed his real name to their social media handle, is a former Penny Siegal publicist who succeeded at publicizing himself. Foodgod is featured on numerous episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians as Kim’s BFF. Foodgod has excelled in everything from starring in his own reality TV show, The Spin Crowd, produced by Kim Kardashian, to launching his own clothing life (Kritik) and lifestyle website (TheDishh) to opening a sushi restaurant in Miami (MIKasa) and fast-food restaurant Burger Bandit on Long Island.
His brand (and now legal name) Foodgod has brought him fame with a huge social media following, various licensed product lines, including his own truffle ketchup and CBD snacks, and more than 40 endorsements. With Foodgod centered around the brand promise of bringing the restaurant to you by eating out 365 days a year, his social media delivers a random collection of photos and videos (there’s even a podcast titled Foodgod: OMFG) showcasing him trying out new food hotspots, providing food hacks, undertaking food experiments, and showing off his luxurious, celebrity-rich lifestyle. Foodgod was twice awarded the title Food Influencer by the World Influencers and Bloggers Awards.
Rena Awada (Healthy Fitness Meals)
Mother of five Michigan-based Rena Awada began her highly successful company Healthy Fitness Meals, of which she is CEO, in an attempt to juggle motherhood and work by turning her passion for healthy living and eating into a blogging business sharing her healthy recipes.
She is of West African origin (Sierra Leone) but has been living in the US since 1999. With a degree in biochemistry, Rena fills her highly successful Instagram account and website with delicious, healthy, family-friendly recipes. Rena teams up with freelance recipe developers to compose her innovations testing all dishes before posting. Along with featuring her own recipes, she showcases cooking with her kids and shows other food bloggers with the aim of supporting them.
A true food influencer even before social media appearance. An American businesswoman, writer, TV personality, and founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, 80-year-old Martha Stewart is associated with being the first female self-made billionaire in the US. Martha began her culinary career with a catering business in 1976 and ran from her Connecticut basement to opening a gourmet store and publishing her first book, Entertaining, in 1982.
The book’s immediate success led to the launch of her magazine Martha Stewart Living in 1990. This led to a TV show of the same name, and other shows, including Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, Martha Bakes, and one with her good friend, rapper Snoop Dogg, on potluck dinners.
Martha has given to building her brand, putting her name to everything from an abundant line of housewares for Macy’s to a collection of wines with Gallo, and earning her a place in the Licensing International Hall of Fame in 2020.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman)
The Pioneer Woman was created by entrepreneur Ree Drummond. She runs her food empire as a blogger, author, writer, photographer, and TV personality from her and her cowboy husband’s 433,000-acre ranch in Oklahoma. Ree debuted her blog in 2006 with a step-by-step guide to cooking steak that lighted her career and got her millions of fans, followers, awards, and book deals. Her Food Network series, The Pioneer Woman, launched a decade ago, catapulted her and her brand to social media stardom, even attaining her an Emmy nomination.
The Pioneer Woman, mother-of-five Ree, cooks delicious comfort foods, including her signature casseroles and famed cinnamon rolls from her ranch, and continues to write in her spare time. She’s a #1 NY Times bestselling author and has written a number of cookbooks.
This American foodie influencer, actress, author, and singer started her stardom on social media in 2011 with the award-winning internet cooking show Nerdy Nummies. Beginning as a hobby for Rosanna, the show has since gone on to become the most popular cooking series on YouTube. The Nerdy Nummies’ success has also led to a NY Times bestselling cookbook and a bakery product line.
Rosannna has never missed a weekly upload in a decade of shows. And her latest project taps into her acting roots even more as executive producer, host, and judge on the new HBO Max bake-off reality series Baketopia.
Jamie Oliver is considered the UK’s second-biggest-selling author of all time after JK Rowling, being an author of more than 30 bestselling cookbooks. He is also the creator and host of numerous TV shows and a food/music festival.
The 46-year-old father of five’s food activists, launching campaigns to battle childhood obesity in the UK. Jamie highlights this issue in his social media platforms, advocating for nutrition and healthy eating, alongside sharing videos of him cooking up a storm with his youngest child, Buddy. Jamie became an ambassador for UK supermarket Sainsbury’s and partnered with culinary brands like Tefal, Royal Worcester, and Viva Foods.
Gordon Ramsay, who is a world-famous British chef, restaurateur, writer, and TV personality, is best known for his foul mouth, which has brought him to superstar TV status with shows like Hell’s Kitchen. He was named the UK’s hardest working chef, and millionaire Ramsay has 15 restaurants in London and seven Michelin stars globally. He hosts many popular shows, such as Hell’s Kitchen, Masterchef, and National Geographic’s Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted.
Being a 54-year-old father-of-five, he still has time for social media with a combined following (YouTube, Instagram, Twitter) of 43 million. On Instagram, Ramsay shows dishes from his restaurants, clips from his cooking shows, and family shots. On Twitter, he puts his signature brutal humor, or rather, roasting photos of fans’ dishes that have been sent to him.
Burak Ozdemir (CZN Burak)
Turkish restauranteur and chef Burak Ozdemir (known as CZN Burak) has grown to food influencer fame along with the rise of TikTok, where his release culinary techniques, big flavors, even bigger portions, and signature smile have made him into a global social media sensation. In fact, this 27-year-old chef was most recently ranked among the biggest TikTok stars and has been named Turkey’s most successful content producer.
With a passion for blending Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine, delivering dishes that can be shared with family and friends, Burak owns and runs a chain of Middle Eastern-inspired restaurants, with six across Turkey and one in the United Arab Emirates.
Nusret Gökçe (Saltbae)
A pure expression of his passion for and master of his profession, Nusret Gökçe’s “salt bae” move of sprinkling salt became an icon known by people of all ages across the globe. A journey that began with merely ten tables and ten staff members continues today with a restaurant chain of 30 different venues and nearly 2.000 employees. An inspiring butcher, an ingenious meat artist, an innovative chef, and an unstoppable entrepreneur., and World Influencers and Bloggers Awards titleholder as Celebrity Influencer.
In his childhood, due to financial difficulties, Nusret Gökçe was forced to drop out of school when he was in sixth grade. After working several different jobs, he was hired to work as an apprentice at a leading butcher shop, and since then, butchery has become his greatest passion.
Gökçe is not merely a worldwide restaurateur but a businessman who preserves his entrepreneurial spirit. He is constantly working, researching, and chasing new projects to maintain his current success and carry it to a higher level. His passion for learning, curiosity, and dedication to performing his best is his ultimate sources of motivation.