Bruce Beck is a chef, entrepreneur, teacher, and author. Bruce has taught at “The New School” for over 25 years, owned two restaurants, written two books, and has now started his own cooking show/blog on YouTube called Bruce Beck In The Kitchen. As a special Featured CoPromoter treat, Bruce has featured us on his cooking show for our very first video interview! Click to watch the clip on YouTube or watch and read the transcript below for some of his social marketing tips!
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what drew you into the culinary world?
I’m glad you asked that question. My favorite subject! One of the strangest things I have done in my food career—which started with baking cookies in 1978—is the subject of this week’s post at brucebeckinthekitchen.com. So please be sure to view that.
Basically, I came to New York for love and to be in theatre. But when auditions proved too daunting, I turned to my other passion—cooking. I had always cooked, and I waited tables to put myself through graduate school and always loved restaurants. So a career in food was not a stretch. But I could not have guessed the range of activities that followed: cookies, catering, teaching, writing, books, blogs, chocolate truffles, TV, department stores, Mexican restaurants, and a camera in hand through most of it.
2. You taught culinary at The New School for over 25 years. What was the most important thing you wanted to teach your students and why?
Classes, like my blog posts and YouTube videos, are always about good food and solid, safe technique to create it, the sheer pleasure of being able to step into the kitchen and efficiently create a satisfying meal. But at the heart of it all, for me, has always been a profound respect for the ingredients and the cooks who have discovered what to do with them—all over the world, through all the centuries of the human experiment. That reverence for the process and its roots has always driven my culinary passions and my need to share what I have learned. I cannot speak for other teachers, but my need to connect the dots has always been central.
3. How did you get into writing your books?
My love of language developed with my love of good cooking. They are inseparable! I always wrote—recipes, historical tidbits, technique clarifications. Then when a student of mine recommended me to a publishing house that was seeking a writer for a beautiful coffee table book, I auditioned. They hired me. That was PRODUCE: A FRUIT AND VEGETABLE LOVERS’ GUIDE. I never looked back. THE OFFICIAL FULTON FISH MARKET COOKBOOK was my own idea, and it represents about four years of hard work. And since then I have written many hundreds of recipes, for school, blogs, and businesses. And I always have a few other projects in the works, too. I’ll keep you posted about the progress of my new novel!
4. Can you tell us about the restaurants you owned, and how you used to promote them?
If I had known how to promote in the last decade, I might still be running one of my Mexican restaurants or my chocolate truffle business. Taco Sueño was a casual eatery across from Einstein Med School, followed by Yucatán, a big, beautiful restaurant nearby. Both of them had great food and a great look. And they each had loving and loyal customers. My hand-rolled chocolate truffles (brucesbest.com) were the best I will every taste as long as I live. But among the poor business decisions I made through the years, the fatal flaw in each project turned out to be a lack of marketing focus.
5. Do you have any tips to give to other chefs regarding branding/marketing themselves?
Get some help! Food is a full time job, what with the requirements of creating recipes, sourcing ingredients, and seeing to it that every plate is consistent. While we are used to taking on extra jobs—worrying about Con Edison, table linens, staffing, deliveries, and the like—it is truly impossible to do everything. Seek out another pair of eyes and another pair of hands to help you turn your vision into a consistent brand, and then to manage getting the word out to potential—and existing—customers. Build trust with a marketing genius who is not afraid of hard work, and you will be glad you did!
You may subscribe to Bruce Beck’s cooking show on YouTube, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.
To find Bruce, and thousands of other chefs, foodies, and creatives join CoPromote here!