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Goldenrod Pastries' Angela Garbacz shares her treats on Instagram.

8 chefs share why they use Instagram

We wanted to know the benefits chefs find in the photo-sharing platform

Food photography has become a cult of sorts, especially on Instagram, the photo-sharing social media platform, which currently has more than 246 million posts tagged #food. But it’s not just food lovers who are using Instagram: Chefs are smartly utilizing the platform, too. We wanted to know what benefits chefs and their restaurants get from Instagram. And what role does Instagram play in the creation of a new dish?

Ryan Pfeiffer, chef de cuisine, Blackbird, Chicago

“Instagram is a really good platform to show people what we are doing in the restaurant and gets them excited to come in. I’ve found it useful for networking with some pretty incredible chefs and for promoting the people who work for me.” @ryanfivefour

Joseph "JJ" Johnson, chef and cookbook author, New York City

"I use Instagram as a tool to share my story. Whether it’s food, my new cookbook or my family, Instagram serves as a platform to push forward all the things I’m passionate about and to have a social impact, as an African-American chef, on the food industry. In this day and age, it’s safe to say that people devour food with their eyes first, which is definitely something to take into account as you’re plating a dish. Social media has been a positive thing for the culinary world, but I’ve never changed my cooking style for the purpose of having a dish look nicer, and I don’t intend on doing that anytime soon." @ChefJJ

Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, chef and owner, El Jardín, San Diego

"When I’m posting on Instagram, I like to mix it up so that I’m not exclusively sharing photos of food. I love showcasing the different aspects of being a chef, not just the end result. So much needs to happen behind the scenes to make even just one dish happen! I like posting interesting facts about the ingredients I am using or have recently discovered, as well as stories and anecdotes that come from the creative process. I’ve noticed that a lot of my followers are receptive to the ‘inside scoop’ posts and not just pretty food pictures.” @claudettezepedawilkins

Angela Garbacz; owner and head pastry chef; Goldenrod Pastries; Lincoln, Neb.

“We always try to keep aesthetics in mind when creating new products — not just so they look great on our Instagram feed, but because this makes treats more enticing in general. We eat with our eyes, and in this day and age, we also eat through our Instagram accounts.” @goldenrodpastries

CJ Jacobson, chef and partner, Ema, Chicago

"I like Instagram because it contributes to the free flow of ideas of food. It shows our possible patrons what we're working on, new menu items and what we're excited about." @bigceej

Alex Levin, executive pastry chef, Schlow Restaurant Group

“While not connected to the creative process, the goal is to make the outside world experience the food via the Instagram platform, almost to the tune of being able to imagine what it might taste like. I recently cooked an iconic dessert, our Pot Brownie Sundae from the Riggsby, at the James Beard House, and I created a lot of content to describe the dessert and also its story. Any dessert that is not worthy of a good photo or Instagram is probably not going to happen, just because the same parameters [apply]: it must taste as beautiful as it looks.” @chefalexlevin

Todd Erickson, chef, Schwan’s Chef Collective  

“[Instagram] gives chefs the ability to see in real time what other chefs are doing anywhere in the world, which ingredients bloggers are going crazy over, etc. In turn, those ingredients or techniques can be worked into future menus. I don’t necessarily think about Instagram when creating menu items, but when it comes to plating, lighting, angle and filter are incredibly important. I love to cook with color and texture in mind, which definitely helps with capturing the perfect Instagram-able moment.” @iamcheftodd

Adrienne Cheatham, “Top Chef” Season 15 runner up, New York City

"I do love Instagram. It’s become the new way to communicate and connect with people. It can help drive traffic and get people in the door. I know chefs who are reluctant to use [Instagram] because they view it as self-promotion and would rather focus on creating and cooking, but they’re missing a huge opportunity to share what they’ve created and get people interested in coming to try it." @adriennenonacheatham

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