Social media has now become one of the most powerful tools to reach people, share knowledge, promote products, and earn financially. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook/Meta, YouTube, and Pinterest are dominating the social media space. Platforms that began as mere photo-sharing and video-sharing apps have now emerged as the most suitable platforms for content creators, businesses, and brands.
Specifically, chef influencers in India are leveraging the increased number of social media users and are promoting and sharing relevant content concerning food and cooking through social media.
Several social media platforms have launched new features in recent times that have enabled influencers to diversify the type of content they create and have also enabled businesses and startups to reach more people and sell directly from the platform. Be it individuals who are looking for some food inspiration, are seeking some cooking tips, searching for the next restaurant that has to be on their planner, or are just scrolling for some entertainment- Chef influencers have become the go-to solution for all.
The Covid-19 pandemic has driven the spike of influencer marketing. During the lockdown period, people across the world were stuck at home. Consequently, the amount of time spent on social media has increased. A study notes that some of the top influencers on Instagram have seen that their engagement has tripled during the pandemic.
The absence of regular television programs has also contributed to higher consumption of online content. Experts note that audiences engaged better with Influencers or content creators in the F&B niche.
As most of the eating outlets and restaurants were closed, people relied on influencers for food recipes ranging from simple to unique. Be it baking or preparing vegan food- chef influencers were the saviours of those who were looking for some help with cooking at home. This has resulted in increased popularity of chef influencers.
Chef influencers in India have millions of followers, and they create content that keeps people engaged on this platform. Also, their partnerships and collaborations with stem brands give the respective products and services not just exposure but will also amplify brand awareness.
With this in mind, let’s explore the top 10 Chef Influencers, in India, in 2023 who have made a unique mark for themselves in various aspects of cooking. The following list has been curated in terms of the popularity, the number of social media followers, personal achievements, entrepreneurial entity, and the unique aspects of each chef influencer. Read on to know more.
Shipra Khanna was born in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, and is the most famous name in the food industry. Her journey did not start as an Influencer. After receiving her education from the Loretto College School in Canada, she won the second season of Master Chef India, which was telecasted on Star Plus. She is India’s ambassador for culture, well-being, and health. With 4.8 million followers on Instagram, Shipra is the most popular chef influencer in India.
While pursuing a degree in Political Science from the Hindu College at Delhi university, Shivesh Bhatia developed an interest in eating and writing. Soon after his graduation, he started a food blog. He is also the author of 2 cookbooks and is a self-taught baker. Bhatia is one of the most popular chef influencers in India, with over 941K subscribers on YouTube and 915K followers on Instagram.
What started as a small YouTube channel by Kabita Singh has become a sensation over the years. Singh started cooking in her spare time and published the videos on YouTube. Over time, her popularity grew, and she went on to become a famous content creator, author, and food blogger from India. She has 1 million followers on Instagram and 12.8 million subscribers on YouTube. She is a much-loved chef influencer among women and young people.
Also popularly called @cheftzac, Zacharias is known for his exploration of local and regional delicacies. He is the founder of Locavore, India, which focuses on championing regional food in India through storytelling, partnerships, events, and more. With 129K followers on Instagram, Zacharias is the crowd favourite of those who look for local and sustainable food and cooking and is among the list of top chef influencers in India.
Suresh Pillai is a corporate and celebrity chef who has hosted the reality show Masterchef: The Professionals on BBC and owns his restaurant chain named Chef Pillai in Bangalore and Kochi. He is known for traditional South Indian food, and his dishes are often spicy and tangy. Apart from his restaurant chain, Pillai also owns other ventures like Kothu Xpress, North Rasoi, and United Coconut. With a 737K follower base on Instagram, he is the go-to personality for all aspiring to become a chef.
Nisha Vora quit her career as a corporate lawyer and started a food blog in 2014. She has a YouTube channel where she actively talks about and promotes her vegan lifestyle. She also has a blog where she frequently shares facts about Veganism, stressing how the lifestyle can be enjoyed and how vegan recipes are mouthwatering. She has 746K followers on Instagram and the name of her handle reads Rainbow Plant Life. Also, Nisha Vora is all about making comfort food, and globally inspired dishes that one can master at home, and hence she is among the top chef influencers in India.
Chef Ranveer Brar is a popular name among food and chef enthusiasts. Brar has become the youngest executive chef in India at the age of 25. He went on to start his Franco-Asian restaurant named Banq, which received much applause from the global food and beverage industry. Brar has 2.1 million followers on Instagram, and he is much loved for his unique recipes and cooking style.
Priyanka Naik is a global vegan chef, a television host and an author. The interesting aspect of her is that she is a self-taught vegan chef. Her passions include endorsing vegan recipes that involve zero-waste cooking, are sustainable, and also represent Indian culture.
Be it making traditional Indian pickles or making vegan Pizzas, Naik is known to explore everything that people find hard to believe that it’s vegan. For engaging people with interesting content and showing that eating all kinds of dishes is possible in a vegan lifestyle- Naik is a perfect choice for brand collaborations. Currently, with 134K followers, Naik is transforming the way the global audience looks at Indian vegan food.
Chef Kunal Kapur is a renowned television presenter and chef. He learned cooking from his grandparents and began his career as a chef in the Taj Group Of Hotels. Kapur is currently one of India’s most well-known chefs and the list of the top chef influencers in India is incomplete without him. Currently, he has over 2 million followers on Instagram and he is India’s go-to Kebab and Curry guy.
Amar Sirohi hosts the biggest page for complete Indian vegetarian food on social media. Raised in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, Sirohi is an Indian food and fitness blogger who frequently blogs about food and cuisine. As a vegetarian food blogger, Sirohi is known for his delicious recipes. His Instagram bio says, “I’ll find you & I’ll make you hungry”, and his content lives up to that. He currently has over 1.4 million followers on Instagram.
Why are chef influencers so popular and considered to be assets to the F&B sector? To state simply, influencers intensify the brand reach among the target audience. They are individuals who can understand the audience and create exciting content that keeps the users engaged. Moreover, for better reach and amplification in the number of followers, many brands reach out to collaborate with influencers.
When the audience sees that their most trusted influencer is promoting a certain food brand, a cooking product, or a meal service, they are likely to be influenced. The pandemic has also witnessed increased digitalization that has spiked the number of hours people spend on social media platforms.
Influencers are active on social media platforms and hence hold their audiences, motivating them to prefer the brand, product, or service that fits their interest. Influencers can actively make their followers listen to them and help them make a purchase. Be it through posts, videos, reels, and stories, influencers can spread necessary information and can create amplified brand engagement.
Due to this, food and beverage brands and businesses with no previous presence on social media platforms are recruiting influencers to implement the right content marketing strategy and encourage their target audience to focus on the brand. Micro, Macro, and Nano chef influencers in India are creating an enormous impact too. These influencers are those who have followers ranging from as less as 1000 to millions. These influencers help to reach that section of the public who cannot be reached by mega influencers.
A study notes that by 2023, brands will be spending $4.62 billion on influencer marketing. This is a 25% increase between 2021 and 2023. More and more brands are looking at Influencer Marketing and this sector has a brighter future in store. This is enough proof that Influencer Marketing will not be seeing signs of a downward trend anytime soon.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are favourite places for Influencers and brands should know who tops their respective niche to market successfully. Also, collaborating with upcoming influencers will help to reach a more targeted audience. Influencer Marketing will not just help brands to understand the type of content that succeeds but will also provide insight into personal branding.