Our interview to Tom Hemerka, the founder of the Instagram account @pastryelite (353,000 followers)
We present his point of view about the contemporary social content managing in pastry and what does the modern concept of "web influencer" mean to him
Pastry Elite's vision is to empower those who work in the pastry industry to become better creatives, chefs, scientists, leaders, and business owners, and through that work create culture and environments that allow businesses and the people who work within them to thrive. "We offer a range of services that include media creation and coverage for events in the pastry world, marketing services for small businesses and chef operated shops, and are in the process of developing an apron which will allow us to create scholarships opportunities and contribute to future pastry chefs and the future of our industry – explains Tom Hemerka –. We welcome those who would like to contribute to our cause and showcase unique perspectives, techniques, news & competitions".
Why, did you start to share your creations on Instagram profile?
Instagram account was created September of 2015. After my shifts in the pastry shop, I spent countless evenings self-educating for years via books, magazines, and youtube, and quickly found that by using social media intentionally as a tool I was able to stay on top of trends and learning new techniques in a way that I wasn't able to do previously.
I began sharing because I knew that there are many people who have limited resources or had to be hungry for more knowledge and taking it upon themselves to self-educate like I was and rather than passively consume it all I wanted to take the opportunity to create the space where others could in the same way I was.
How much the social activity affect your work?
Social activity is the majority of my work. Every day I go through my feeds and look at every post that's put out from the previous 24 hours, which allows me to see what the trends of the moment are.
What does the modern concept of “web influencer” in pastry mean to you?
To me, the term "web influencers" is not something that particularly interests me as it encourages people to take the same actions that someone posts on social media. To me the conversation it's much more interesting to be focused on the idea of how to become a person of influence. A person of influence as a pastry chef does things with principle, takes pride in their work, are constantly looking for ways to grow as both leaders and creatives, and are looking for ways to contribute to others. Most chefs that would be considered "web influencers" really have made a name for themselves through their body of work which just so happens to translate to the following of many.
Which accounts do you follow?
Since we follow more than 1600 accounts we can't name them all, but we can say what we look for. We follow chefs who we can see contributing to the education of those who focus and have the ambition to work in the fine art of chocolate, pastry, desserts, bread, etc
Finally, have you three practical tips for pastry chef who would like to invest in social activity?
After you took so much time and effort to make a pastry put a little thought into how you'd like it to be portrayed. For example, most kitchen lighting isn't going to make for a flattering image, try and take the image with natural light by a window.
Focus on your craft and improving your skills as a chef and your products will magically become more attractive to take images of.
Be active - post consistently, leave genuine comments and have genuine conversations with others, be involved in the pastry community, not just online, but offline.
Some pictures from the accont IG @pastryelite