Recipe for suc­cess in a snap

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - AMY HAR­RIS

FOR­GET ex­otic in­gre­di­ents, the big­gest food trend for Syd­ney chefs is adding the “In­sta­gram ef­fect”.

It’s what hap­pens when a well­shot dish, cake or cock­tail trans­lates into thou­sands of “likes” and, sub­se­quently, a line of peo­ple snaking around the block.

As a re­sult In­sta­gram is the app of choice for every­one, from hum­ble cafe own­ers to the most es­teemed chefs, with pas­try queen Anna Polyviou (90,000 fol­low­ers), Quay’s Peter Gilmore (60,000) and Guil­laume Brahimi (28,000) among the most pop­u­lar.

Dan Hong is an­other, although he stum­bled into the In­sta­gram jug­ger­naut al­most as an af­ter­thought.

A Twit­ter devo­tee who had built a rep­u­ta­tion for his two-line zingers on ev­ery­thing from mu­sic to pol­i­tics, the Syd­ney chef de­cided to switch medi­ums in 2012 and be­gan up­load­ing pic­tures of, as he said, “food, sneak­ers and my kids”.

Just un­der 10,000 posts later, Hong — now head chef at in­ner-city Chi­nese in­sti­tu­tion Mr Wong — has ac­cu­mu­lated more than 50,000 fol­low­ers; a shin­ing ex­am­ple of what can hap­pen when a chef em­braces the app.

“And I don’t see it slow­ing down in any way,” Hong said.

Hong’s posts, like one re­cent pic­ture of a jumbo Alaskan king crab, can draw 5000 likes, while other snaps, like of a box of fresh truf­fles ear­lier this week, can send the Mr Wong reser­va­tion line into in­stant over­drive.

“Lit­er­ally a few min­utes af­ter I posted it the phone started ring­ing and it was peo­ple ask­ing about the truf­fles,” he said. “So you do see a pretty in­stant ef­fect.”

Adri­ana Ro­drigues, chef at Salt Meats Cheese at Broad­way, said she saw the In­sta­gram ef­fect first-hand af­ter post­ing a snap of a Parmi­giano Reg­giano wheel be­ing used to mix fet­tuc­cine, cream and fresh truf­fles.

Within hours it had 3000 “likes” and the restau­rant was booked, with ev­ery ta­ble ask­ing for the dish, now known as “the truf­fle wheel”.

“It drives book­ings within hours,” she said, adding that staff are cau­tioned about “over-shar­ing”.

“One poorly timed post or flip­pant com­ment can be more dam­ag­ing than you’d ex­pect,” she said.

It hap­pened re­cently for Queen Chow head chef Patrick Friesen, who ad­mits he “copped it” from fol­low­ers re­cently af­ter a con­tro­ver­sial video posted dur­ing a trip to Korea.

“I took a video of live oc­to­pus sashimi, which is a re­ally pop­u­lar dish there,” said Friesen. “The oc­to­pus is ac­tu­ally dead but the way the nerves re­act when they pull it out of the tank and slice it up it still wrig­gles around on your plate. But un­for­tu­nately I had a lot of peo­ple say­ing ‘you’re a mon­ster — you’re dis­gust­ing’. So it can back­fire.”

Dan Hong’ s Alask an king crab and (belo w) his chicken burger. Adri­ana Ro­drigues had huge suc­cess with her In­sta­gram shot of a Parmi­giano Reg­giano cheese wheel. Pic­ture: Richard Dob­son ON­LINE DAILYTELEGRAPH .COM.AU Anna Polyviou’s sweet treats....

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