Kraft Heinz revives What’s Cooking as a digital platform for chefs

The recipe hub is now an unbranded service for cooks to grow their audience, continuing Kraft's data-driven transformation.

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Kraft Heinz is relaunching its print publication What’s Cooking as a digital platform for chefs to grow their audiences and foodies to find inspiration, with help from Top Chef alum Chef Edward Lee.

Developed in Kraft Heinz’s digital lab in Toronto, the dedicated food discovery and publishing platform, at the website and on Instagram and TikTok, allows creators, chefs, and home cooks to share their culinary voices, manage their own food content, engage with audiences and collaborate with each other.

A big part of the site seems to be offering a low-maintenance alternative for burgeoning chefs looking to launch a web presence. Chefs who sign up for the site can create their own “home base” for all of their food content, be it recipes, tutorials or videos. It features tools to help chefs organize their content, help with discoverability and promotion and partner with Kraft Heinz’ brands.

Brooklyn’s Chef Lee is signed on as the CD behind the digital platform and will share exclusive content in the current beta phase as the platform brings on more chefs. As Kraft Heinz learns about the audience, the “multi-phase launch” will include new features to help featured chefs commercialize their audiences, as well as improvements to design and functionality, and investments to drive greater reach, says Diana Frost, chief growth and sustainability officer at Kraft Heinz Canada.

For home cooks, Frost tells MiC that the company continues to see growing interest in cooking at home and food culture, and that it wants to engage with people on their home cooking journeys. While content is available to anyone who visits, a sign-up is required for home cooks who want to use some of the sites personalized features, discover “cooking hacks” or the ability to save recipes.

“Most people love looking at food content in social media but lack an ability to action food inspiration,” Frost says. “We believe we can help tackle this consumer problem.”

What differentiates the platform from the many recipes-based sites is the “great content” coming from the chefs themselves. Frost says each food creator has their own style and heritage that can reach their own unique audience. Unlike the company’s previous recipe hub, the site is currently devoid of any Kraft Heinz branding, and chef Lee’s first few recipes don’t directly mention any of the company’s brands.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach with this opportunity,” Frost says, adding that the goal is to build a platform that allows food creators to engage and interact with their audience “in whatever medium they want,” whether through video or blogging or even virtual cooking one-on-one.

The beta test is not directly connected to Kraft Heinz’s traditional retail or growing ecommerce capabilities. Frost says the primary focus is driving engagement and building the capabilities that its consumers and food creators desire most.

One thing it is connected to, however, is ongoing digital transformation efforts at Kraft Heinz. Kraft Heinz recently announced it had adopted a new centralized data hub within the company, helping it more quickly respond to consumer trends and changes in the marketplace, as well as guide product innovation efforts. A site that lets it directly see and hear what chefs and consumers alike are interested will join the sources of data Kraft Heinz can pull from – and better data, Frost says, allows the company to offer more contextually relevant and personalized content to consumers.