Just five weeks after shooting and posting his first live cooking show at chefbud.com, Bud Thomas is “completely shocked” at the response.
People are watching the show from London to Asia. And they’re asking questions live, helping to pioneer what the show’s producer Dennis Lankes says could be one future direction for broadcasting.
Chefbud.com is a new business/marketing activity or, as Thomas puts it, “internet entrepreneurship forced by economic challenges.”
Along with the cooking show, five episodes of which have been shot, and all of which are archived on the website, Bud and his wife Jenna Thomas are both twittering about food, each Twitter followed by more than 500 people.
“I’m not quite this adventurous,” Bud says, expressing just a little surprise at finding himself stretching out digitally. The response in the early going has “been awesome.”
The show has been shot Wednesdays at 2 p.m. at various locations around town. Last week, Bud and Jenna were cooking up peanut butter and jelly crepes for an attentive audience of Telluride first graders at the Wilkinson Public Library. The week before it was appetizers at Aemono.
“Everything we’ve done has been suggested by people,” Bud says, largely responses to questions. In addition to the shows and twittering, the website includes blogs by both Bud and Jenna, and recipes.
“What we have here is an example of using social networking tools to build an audience and a following,” Lankes explains. The most innovative feature, he believes, is the interactive video: television that invites audience participation.
“The whole idea is to keep it like an open dialog,” Bud says. “Somebody will ask a question and that will turn into another blog post.”
Whether, when or how chefbud.com will turn into a revenue-generating business is another question, Bud allows. There is the potential for some advertising and there’s even been interest in “syndication,” whereby other websites post the shows.
A professional chef for 20 years, Bud Thomas originally came to Telluride to work at The Wyndham Peaks Resort. He previously worked at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and Café Terra Cotta in Tucson, and at The Collection in London.
chefbud.com hints at a new way of being a professional chef: Building a following online by offering services that include catering, cooking lessons and even coaching. The site invites you to call Bud, tell him what you’ve got in the fridge, and he’ll talk you through turning it into a meal.