Wagamama Exec Chef Steve Mangleshot showing how to make chicken katsu curry

A Success Recipe For Cook-At-Home Videos by Wagamama

A Success Recipe For Cook-At-Home Videos by Wagamama 2048 1213 Chris Wilkie

Some of the biggest names in high street food and drink like Pizza Express and Greggs have started sharing their best-loved recipes online. If you can’t go out to get your favourite foods, then being able to create them at home is the next best thing. And some of these big names are going a step further with detailed cook-at-home video demonstrations showing how people can make these favourites by themselves.

One excellent example is from Wagamama’s Exec Chef Steve Mangleshot. Filmed in his own home kitchen, he donned his chef’s whites and jumped right into the classic chicken katsu curry – a favourite for many Wagamama patrons.

If you’re not so familiar with making video content you might wonder: “What makes this video so good?”. It’s not all about budget or having a well-known brand. Anyone can make great videos that represent you and your brand really well by sticking to these best practice tips.

 Here’s some of the crucial bits Steve from Wagamama got right in his cook-at-home videos, that we reckon make a big difference:

The Setup

His ingredients are laid out individually so he can show them off. Where there’s some simple prep needed (like beating the eggs) this is already done. It’s a good way to show which ingredients are part of specific stages of the cooking process. In this case – what is for the chicken and what is for the sauce.

The full ingredient list is in the description. This is vital! No one wants to start/stop a video to write them down. Got hard to find ingredients? Throw a link to a place where people can buy them online in the description too.

ALL the lights are on – great videos need good lighting. We can see it’s the middle of the day but every downlight on the kitchen surfaces is on. This draws the viewers’ attention to the main event and prevents background lighting causing Steve to be just a silhouette. 

He filmed it in manageable sections. This makes it easier to edit, without depending on one take to do it all. It also allows for close-ups of the cooking processes and ingredients to be slotted in to make the video engaging.

You don’t need expensive or complex video editing software to arrange a series of clips into one video. Apple’s iMovie or Windows Movie Maker are just fine for doing these. If you don’t want to export it to a desktop or laptop, GoPro’s Quik app can do the same thing on mobile.

The Human Element

What makes this video work is that he’s tailored it for the audience and the situation. The audience are going to be Wagamama fans to some degree. They are also people who are stuck at home with potential restrictions on their ability to shop for groceries. The little things Steve does here to make the video relevant to all these audiences are spot on.

He talks about the ingredients that he found in the cupboard – it’s made from household stuff not wholesale exclusives. This reassures the watchers that this really is doable at home with mainstream ingredients.

Steve’s dog makes an appearance – pets in the video are all the rage right now! We’ve all seen the jokes and memes about cats, dogs and other pets appearing in video calls. Here, it injects some empathy. Any dog owner knows how much they love to lie in the most in-the-way place whilst you work about the kitchen.

There’s encouragement for viewers to make it their own. Steve suggests that viewers adjust the volumes of certain ingredients to their own tastes. He shows where and when to do this with the caveats of how it will affect the dish.

Lastly – and this isn’t for everyone – but he’s really channelled his inner “TV chef”:

  • Talking directly to the camera
  • Be loud and clear, project your voice so the built in phone camera picks you up
  • Use lots of adjectives on the food. Wonderful, gorgeous, delicious, incredible, lovely – the list goes on.
  • Be really descriptive. Getting the smell of particular ingredient combinations or the sound of the perfect bread crumb coating.
  • Show the hard parts in detail. Go back and watch the part about the sauce and roux. He takes plenty of time to show the slow addition of stock and how it should develop.

Wrapping Up

With all the above in mind, there’s still some neat editing gone on behind the scenes as well in Steve’s Wagamama video. Such is the nature of a large restaurant company and its resources.

This cook-at-home video is definitely more of a target to aim for than a minimum requirement for video standards – don’t try and overdo it. Quick and down-to-earth resonates with audiences as we’ve seen in many other how-to videos. 

Also remember, these best practice tips aren’t limited to food videos. This advice all still applies whether it’s a showcase to make sourdough bread, a cocktail class or a beer tasting. Lay everything out, get the lights on, humanise the situation, record in sections, be descriptive and you’ll be on to a winner.

If you keep the points above in mind, you’ll have people flocking to your wonderful cook-at-home videos whilst keeping your brand and your credibility up front and central for your customers.

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