468: Breaking into the Private Chef Industry and Sharing What You’re in Pursuit of with Celebrity Chef Kenneth Temple

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A blue photograph of a person cooking at a restaurant with the title of Kenneth Temple's episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'Breaking into the Private Chef Industry and Sharing What You're in Pursuit Of.'

Welcome to episode 468 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews celebrity chef and food blogger Kenneth Temple. 

Last week on the podcast, we shared a replay of an exclusive Q&A that Bjork hosted with Kate Ahl from Simple Pin Media. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Breaking into the Private Chef Industry and Sharing What You’re in Pursuit of with Celebrity Chef Kenneth Temple

Kenneth Temple started his food blog in 2017 and has been a private chef since 2009 so he’s got a lot of great insights to share with us in this interview. He now finds himself cooking for NFL, MLB, NBA players, and Grammy artists. On the blog side, he qualified for Mediavine in November of 2023—a huge milestone!

In this interview, Kenneth and Bjork discuss how he broke into the private chef industry, landed his first celebrity client, and why he chose to go down this route over working in a restaurant. They also talk about the importance of putting yourself out there and sharing your aspirations with others and the power of word-of-mouth marketing. They also chat about what blogging as a chef looks like and how he had to adjust his strategy after learning about SEO and searchability.

Even if your goal isn’t to pursue a career as a private chef, we find Kenneth’s advice on managing your time and promoting yourself extremely valuable and think you will too. We hope you enjoy the episode!

A photograph of Kenneth Temple's chocolate beignets with a quote from Kenneth's episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast that reads: "You have to want it."

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Kenneth’s background as a private chef and why he chose this path over working in a restaurant.
  • How he was able to land a private chef gig with an NBA player from the New Orleans Hornets.
  • How he went about pricing his work.
  • How he prioritizes his time due to the seasonality of his work and what his day-to-day looks like now.
  • How he maintains a professional relationship with his clients.
  • Tips for those looking to break into the private chef industry.
  • How he grew his network by sharing what he was in pursuit of (and why you should do the same!).
  • How he used his knowledge as a private chef to create a 21-day meal prep challenge to help his clients with weight loss.
  • How he got into food blogging in 2017 and blogged as a chef (and what that means exactly!).
  • How he learned about searchability and adjusted his blogging strategy.
  • What his experience was like as he grew his site and got accepted to Mediavine.
  • The pros and cons of working in realms that were 1:1 and 1:infinite.
  • How he saves time and stays productive by batching recipes.
  • How he chose to de-prioritize certain projects because he realized they weren’t solving problems for his audience.
  • How he’s now looking for pursuits that will allow him to solve problems.

Resources:

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Transcript (click to expand):

Bjork Ostrom: This episode is sponsored by Clariti. If you’ve been frustrated trying to discover actionable insights from different analytics and keyword platforms, Clariti is your solution. Clariti helps you manage your blog content all in one place so you can find actionable insights that improve the quality of your content. Not only does it automatically sync your WordPress post data so you can find insights about broken images, broken links, and more. It can also sync with your Google Analytics and Google Search Console data, so you can see keyword, session, page views and user data for each and every post.

One of our favorite ways to use it, we can easily filter and see which of our posts have had a decrease in sessions or page views over a set period of time, and give a little extra attention to those recipes, this is especially helpful when there are Google updates or changes and search algorithms, so that we can easily tell which of our recipes have been impacted. The most Listeners to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast get 50% off of their first month of Clariti after signing up. To sign up, simply go to clariti.com/food. That’s C-L-A-R-I-T-I.com/food. Thanks again to Clariti for sponsoring this episode.

Ann Morrissey: Hey there, this is Ann from the Food Blogger Pro team, and you are listening to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. This week on the podcast, Bjork is interviewing celebrity chef and food blogger Kenneth Temple. He started his food blog called Kenneth Temple in 2017, and has been a private chef since 2009, so he’s got a lot of great insights to share with us today.

In this interview, Kenneth and Bjork discussed how he broke into the private chef industry, landed his first celebrity client, and why he chose to go down this route over working in a restaurant. They also talk about the importance of putting yourself out there and sharing your aspirations with others and the power of word of mouth marketing. They also chat about what blogging as a chef looks like and how he had to adjust his strategy after learning about SEO and searchability.

Even if your goal isn’t to pursue a career as a private chef, we find Kenneth’s advice on managing your time and promoting yourself extremely valuable, and think that you will too. If you enjoy this episode, please share it with your community. It helps our podcast so much, and it means a lot to us. And now, without further ado, I’ll let Bjork take it away.

Bjork Ostrom: Kenneth, welcome to the podcast.

Kenneth Temple: Thank you for having me. Thank you for having me.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, you have something that we’ve been talking a lot about on the podcast, which is one of the reasons why I’m excited to have a conversation, which is you have your business, but it’s almost like your business is split into two parts. You have your in-person stuff that you’re doing. It’s like a service-based business where you’re a private chef, and then you’re also building your digital business with your site where you’ve got traction and working with Mediavine to create ad revenue on your site. To me, that feels like a really great balance, and we’re trying to encourage people to think about not just how do you build your site, but how do you build a business potentially doing multiple things in the area that you love, and it feels like you have done that. It feels like you are doing things that you love. Is that an accurate read on the career that you’ve built?

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely. It’s not a mirage. You’re not seeing things. Yeah, so my background, I started off as a private chef. So I went to culinary school and college, got a degree in a bachelor’s in science in culinary arts actually. And so my goal when I graduated wasn’t to be a restaurant chef, because respectfully to the restaurant chefs, there’s a couple of things. I don’t know any chefs that’s on their first marriage in the industry just because of the requirement of being there. And also I’ve seen, growing up in New Orleans, I’ve seen the wear and tear on the bodies of cooks and chefs and just how depleted they are.

But then also while in school, I got exposure to doing private dinners and events for fundraising money, and I was in these mansions and multimillion-dollar houses, and the menu was always changing, so we was cooking something different every time, and it was a opportunity to just taste something different, experience something, learn a new technique, and I just fell in love with that experience and I knew that’s the route I wanted to go. And of course, in a restaurant you could do a similar thing, but in a restaurant, obviously, unless you’re in one of these new restaurants that changes the menus every day, you always have something new to learn. And that’s the thing I wanted to do. And so I worked at a restaurant for one year after college, and then I got my first opportunity to cook for my first NBA player, and that was back in 2009. So I haven’t looked back blessedly.

Bjork Ostrom: Can you share who that was?

Kenneth Temple: His name is Julian. His name was Julian Wright. He was one of the… Was is the Pelican, Hornets? New Orleans Hornets at the time before they became the Pelicans. He was one of the previous first round draft picks. So yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: How did that happen? You’re in this restaurant, is there just a connection that comes from somebody that comes in? What does that look like for you to suddenly be like… I imagine the moment where you’re knocking on this NBA player’s door and you’re like, “I’m here to make you a meal.” And it feels like that would not only be nerve wracking, but also really exciting.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, yeah. So how that happened is, like I said, coming out, I knew I wanted to be a private chef, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to leave New Orleans and go to Los Angeles to pursue it because obviously Hollywood, that’s where celebrities and all of that is. But one of my uncle’s clients was cooking for Chris Paul and Reggie Bush at the height of their careers in New Orleans at that time. So this is like 2007, 2008. And we actually ended up meeting because before you introduce anybody into a high profile client, you got to scan them. You got to make sure who they are. Because people are crazy.

So we had a meet and greet, we talked, we chopped it up, we had good vibes. And I told him where I was trying to go. About three months later after that, he gave me a call and said that one of the Hornets was looking for a chef, was I interested. I said, “Give me his name and his number. I am in there.” So at the time, I was only making $9 an hour on the line. And then again, that’s another thing about being a restaurant chef, your pay is very, very tough.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It almost feels like the restaurant business is similar to if you’re an artist pursuing art, it’s like it can pay really well in very narrow instances. You have to follow a very specific path. And it’s people who have a love of this thing oftentimes, but it’s not necessarily going to be the most lucrative career always.

Kenneth Temple: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: So for you, were looking to, it sounds like, finding ways to do something you really love that might be a little bit of a better paying avenue than working in a restaurant?

Kenneth Temple: Oh, absolutely. My number one goal was always to be an entrepreneur, still is to be an entrepreneur. Cooking is just a vessel that I use to fulfill that. And of course, if you make $9 an hour or you can go cook for a client and make $75 an hour, well, not even an hour, just for one meal. What are you going to take? I’m not taking the $9 an hour anymore. But it was a beautiful transition because I worked my way up off the line. I learned every station on the line. And I also was in charge of doing offsite catering with the head chef. And then they bumped me up to the back to do the prep work in the back, which was meaning…

Anybody who ever been in New Orleans and been to Zea’s restaurant, they know Zea’s grits, they know Zea’s corn grits. Phenomenal. Excellent. So I was in charge of mass-producing all of these things by myself, which was a prelude to me cooking these meals for a client all by myself, no help, no prep, just head down and swinging and having fun. And so once I got that opportunity, I went and did my demo meal. He enjoyed it. I got the job. And as they say, the rest is history.

Bjork Ostrom: The demo meal, is like you go in… Is it actually at his house?

Kenneth Temple: Yes, yes.

Bjork Ostrom: You go in, you make a meal. Does he give you any ideas of like, “Hey, here’s what I like?”

Kenneth Temple: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s almost like a little bit of a foreshadow of some of the Food Network stuff that you did. It feels like a real life version of that where you’re just competing for this job. What was that, like they give you an idea of generally speaking, “Here’s what I like”?

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely. What do you like, hate, and any allergies? And so you just make sure you make something around them. And then of course, since you’re not sure if you’re going to get the job, you’re not trying to make foie gras and surf and turf. You’re not pulling out all of those, but you just want to show them that you have a good energy, you’re trustworthy. You can come up in there, get the job done. You’re clean. You’re clean, because I’ve seen some chefs in the kitchen.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure, yeah.

Kenneth Temple: Whoo, stuff be everywhere. Right here, it’s all you need. This little space right here. So yeah, and then you present the food and make sure they enjoy it, come to agreement to terms, and then you start swinging.

Bjork Ostrom: So it’s interesting. I feel like a huge part of it is probably… You talked about this, but you have to be somebody that people feel comfortable having in their house.

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: Not only do you have to have the skill and expertise of putting something in front of people that they’re going to be like, “This is really good,” but you also have to be somebody who people are like, “Hey, I’m cool with you being in my house,” and/or maybe actually having you around. And so it feels like this really unique skillset where you have to have these concrete skills around food and food recipe development, but you also have to have these soft skills around being somebody that people feel comfortable with and that they trust and potentially that you come into their house when they’re not there to prep a meal.

One of the things that you talked about was come to terms and an agreement. How did you know in that instance what to charge? In any industry, it feels really hard. You get a brand deal and you’re like, “What do I charge?” How do you know what to charge either like, in one instance, there’s this NBA player who’s probably making millions of dollars a year, but you’re also in a market where there is a market rate for being a private chef. But for you in that season, you’re also probably excited to get the job and build your resume. What did that look like? How did you figure out how to do that?

Kenneth Temple: Like all things, in order to get accurate depictions of what things may cost, you always reach out to somebody who’s already doing what you want to do. And that was me reaching back to Chef Pat. Shout out to Chef Patrick, by the way, and ask him like, “How does this go? Do I charge a hourly rate? Do I charge a day rate? Do I charge a per meal rate?” And he said he was doing a per meal rate of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And if I can remember, back in 2009, it was 50, 75, 100, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Breakfast being easier, lunch being a little bit harder, dinner being the most involved.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, because sometimes you can have guests, family coming through and all of that. And even to this day when clients say, “Do you charge extra for family?” Everybody eats.

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, that’s cool.

Kenneth Temple: You’re reimbursing me on the grocery, so. I’m already cooking, so. If you’re going from two to eight, everybody eats, I’m not going to be, “Well, on this day you had five more people, and on this day, just…” Just keep it flowing like that. So that’s how I do. You reach back. And we’ll touch on it, but when you start to understand people are making money blogging and the Mediavine, it’s like, what does that look like? And then you figure out RPMs. And like everything in life, you have to learn a new language and understand what those metrics entail.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and I’m sure anybody who is listening to this understands, either they’re there at one point where they’re like, “What are these numbers and what is a plugin and how does it work? And what are analytics and RPM?” Like you talked about. But eventually, like any language, the more you study it, the more you internalize it, the more you understand it, the more it makes sense. And obviously people listening to this podcast, that’s part of it. It’s like the Duolingo, it’s like it’s your exposure to the language, hearing it over and over again.

So what does that look like for you now? So you’ve built this private chef business. Is that still the main thing that you are focusing on right now? And what is the split? If you look at a percentage split of your time, how much of that for you on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis is doing private-chef-based work?

Kenneth Temple: That’s a good question. Let me make sure, because actually, that’s the main focus. This is a good question. Okay, so I got the answer for you. Literally, my season just ended yesterday because the Dallas Mavericks lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA finals. That’s the end of my season. The NBA season is over. So I just had my first client make it to the NBA finals. I was looking to be a part of a championship team.

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, shoot. Who was it?

Kenneth Temple: It still hasn’t happened yet.

Bjork Ostrom: Who was it? So somebody on the Mavericks?

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, Tim Hardaway Jr. Yeah, that’s the current client. So yeah. Was looking forward to having that first championship team after being in this thing for a while, but-

Bjork Ostrom: So close.

Kenneth Temple: So close. Beautiful thing. So yeah, it’s still the main thing. I’m also looking at other opportunities out there because being a private chef for NBA players, it’s a seasonal job. Granted, you have three months off because NBA season could end in April or blessedly like we just did in June and start right back up again in October.

The beautiful thing about being in Dallas also is just such a wider market, more people, a little bit more wealth and resources out here than back home in New Orleans where in the offseason I would have to jump back into catering and doing dinner party specials and stuff like that. But since-

Bjork Ostrom: In the off-season?

Kenneth Temple: In the off-season, yes. But since I built the brand to it is now, opportunities come to me. Like you said, now you have brand deals. Now we have the blog, so. I would still say about 80% of what I do is private chef work, but the beauty in it is since I only had one client this season instead of three like last season, I have a little bit more time. And I do have a goal, anytime I go to a client house, I’m seeking never to stay at a client house longer than two hours if I don’t have to. And that’s-

Bjork Ostrom: Can you tell me about that? Where did that goal come from?

Kenneth Temple: That’s me being in someone else’s space. You’re in your home, you’re comfortable, you’re looking for food. Sure you like… Like we discussed, you want somebody personable that you like having around, but a chef.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yeah. Right, right. Like whenever you’re ready, you can leave.

Kenneth Temple: You can leave, dinner’s put up, dishes are clean. No, don’t kick your feet up and have a beer. And that’s just me wanting to make sure that I’m never too comfortable with a client because you can easily blur a line because of the relationship that you have. A bad, funny story. The bad part is that this is something you never do. But there was a chef, I didn’t know him personally, but when you’re in a circle you know of who people is, he was so comfortable with his client, he threw a house party at his house when he wasn’t there.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yeah, not ideal. It’s the opposite end of leaving when the dinner’s done is arriving when nobody’s there-

Kenneth Temple: And nobody’s there, and you throw a house party at your client’s house. That is crazy. But that’s how comfortable you can get with a client. You go out, you have some fun, you go to some games, you start having drinks, y’all build this relationship, and sometimes you think you’re the star, but handle your business and keep it moving.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s interesting. And I’m sure it’s something that people appreciate. It’s almost like customer service. It’s like how do you create the best environment for the people that you’re working with? And my guess is a lot of these people have people in their lives that want to be close to them. And if you can say like, “Hey, I’m going to do what you hired me to do and do it really well and not make you feel like I’m trying to intrude on your space,” or-

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely. Absolutely. You can say the word groupie. You can just say the word-

Bjork Ostrom: Sure, yeah. Or somebody that’s in his inner circle or an entourage. It’s like I’m sure there’s a level of appreciation for somebody who’s just like, “Hey, I’m going to do my job and I’m going to do it.”

This is just a curiosity question specifically for the NBA. So are they not working with a private chef in the offseason? Is it just because they’re not as intentional with their eating in the offseason?

Kenneth Temple: Yes. Unless the client stays in the same city that they play in. They go back-

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, so they move and then-

Kenneth Temple: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom:Got it. And they maybe have somebody else that they would work with-

Kenneth Temple: Exactly. Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay, that makes sense.

Kenneth Temple: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: So it’s not necessarily that they’re not working with a private chef, it’s just like they’re around in this case Dallas, and then they go. Okay, cool.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: How about for somebody who would be interested in doing that? I think of… I do this meetup once a year with friends. We go to Breckenridge and there’s this private chef we work with, Jenny. She’s incredible. And we’ve worked with her for four or five years. It feels like she’s established this business now, but every time we’ve gone, I just wonder how do you get started with that and what is your advice for somebody who, hey, they love food, they want to build a business in the world of food. They also probably are interested in the digital space, building a following, but what’s really nice about this is you can potentially, and this would maybe be a question we could talk about, but you can potentially ramp up revenue faster when you are doing a service-based business like this.

And then if there is a season where you’re not working as much in this season coming up for you, my guess is now you can focus on your site a little bit more. So it’s great to have something that counterbalances service-based business that you can then backfill a little bit with. But also it’s complimentary in that your digital business helps compliment your private chef business. But if somebody’s looking to break into that industry to get their first client that they’re cooking for and they don’t have a connection, who knows-

Kenneth Temple: Who can connect them.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, Reggie Bush. What would be a good way for them to get started?

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, two things. First, your faith. You have to want it. You have to want these things. A lot of us, I don’t know how old you are, Bjork, but-

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, thirty-

Kenneth Temple: At this point… Oh, so we’re same age. So at this point in life, you know that the things that you really desire and want, you’ll put the effort towards to get them. I have a phrase like I don’t believe in saying the word try because I never say, “Oh, I tried to go to the store.” If I wanted to go to the store, I’m going to the store. So first you have to want it. And then once you do that, now what I didn’t have coming up is this vast array of social media outlets. You can just showcase your skills on social media and then say private chef bookings available. And depending on where you are. Word of mouth is such a powerful marketing tool.

You may think you don’t know anybody, but somebody in your friend circle may have a friend or a boss who’s looking for meal prep, and then you start meal prep, and then he says, “Oh, I want to do a dinner party.” And then you start the dinner party, and now all of a sudden, now you have become this private chef. It just happens like that. But you won’t get it if you don’t really want it. If you just say, “Oh, well, no, I don’t really know,” you’re going to continue to float on that.

Bjork Ostrom: Sit on it.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, there’s a difference between liking the idea of it, like, “Conceptually, this sounds like something I want,” versus actually wanting it and getting after it. And that seems like there’s not much of a gap there between liking the idea of it versus actually liking it. A comparable is in the world of publishing, I think people like the idea of having a website, earning income, working with brands. Maybe you get advertising income from it. But I think once a certain group of people actually get into doing that, it’s like, “Oh, I actually don’t like this.”

Kenneth Temple: Don’t want it. Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: “I just like the idea of it.” And what I hear you saying is you have to actually want it first because then you are going to be able to get after it, and you have to get after it in order to get it.

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s a really small thing, but even the idea of what you talked about where you’re just sharing with people. One of the things I’ve been in my head about is we have a lot of… It’s a little bit of a strange example, but it’ll get around to the point-

Kenneth Temple: Go ahead. Shoot it out. I’ll pick up, pick up things-

Bjork Ostrom: Okay, okay.

Kenneth Temple: We’ll see.

Bjork Ostrom: So one of the things I’ve been trying to figure out is we have stuff that we’ve accumulated through the years. It’s technology. Maybe it’s a computer that we’re not using anymore, and it’s valuable, but I also feel like I don’t have the time to go to Facebook Marketplace and sell it, or I do have the time, but it’s probably not smart for me to spend an hour doing that versus an hour doing a podcast.

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: And so I’ve been trying to figure out what’s the best way to do this? How do we sell this stuff and what do we do? And I’ve just been in my head about it. And just today I was having lunch with a couple friends and I was like… I thought to myself, “I just need to speak this out loud, this thing that I’m trying to solve.” And so I did. I was like, “Do you guys…” And it was not like they had any expertise in it, but I just was l:** ike, “Do you guys have any ideas around this?” And the guy that I was with, Matt, was like, “Actually, you know what? My 15-year-old twins are right now trying to figure out a summer job and they would be great at this.” And I think that’s… Is that what you’re getting at, which is you need to start speaking out loud the things that you are in pursuit of, because who knows the connections that can happen?

Kenneth Temple: There it is. There it is. Now, before I became a private chef, I didn’t know any private chefs. I’m not even sure, it must’ve been the spirit of God that put it in my spirit to be a private chef. I didn’t even know that existed because I think around the time of 2007 and ’08 the word was starting to float around a little bit more, and I didn’t know anybody. But as I started pursuing it, my chef instructor who was running the school at the time was like, “Yeah, one of our graduates actually left and now he cooks for Will Smith.” I’m a proponent of don’t let me hear nothing if I can’t achieve it. Don’t let me hear nothing. So I didn’t know anybody who was a private chef, but this is the things I was speaking and talking of.

And my uncle, Who Dat Nation, you know. We used to be… Yeah, Who Dat. We were Saints season ticket holders before I left New Orleans. You know your uncle always ask you, “Son, you just graduated from college. What is it you want do?” I had no idea who his client was, was cooking for Chris Paul and Reggie Bush, but I told him, “This is what I’m seeking to do.” And that’s how it happens. And that’s why I said, if you have somebody who’s looking to get into it, first, you have to want it. Because once you want it, then you’ll start to pursue it and let people know, “I’m open for business.” Yeah, nobody’s going to know you’re open for business if you’re quiet.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. And I think that there’s naturally something that happens when you do share what you’re in pursuit of, which is people can’t help but then try and figure out with you how to get that for you.

Kenneth Temple: Yes. Especially if they’re your friends. Especially if they’re you’re real friends.

Bjork Ostrom: Totally.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: And if you’re like, “Hey, I’m…” This was an idea that I floated by Lindsay the other day. I was like, “Hey, what if we tried to visit every national park in the us?” She was like, “Cool.” And then I was like, “There’s 63.” And then she’s like, “I’m out.” But-

Kenneth Temple: I didn’t say in one month.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, exactly. But if I started to talk about that with other people, I think naturally what people try and do is they try and draw connections. And so maybe for those listening, the takeaway there is formulate what it is that you’re actually after, and then start to share it with people. Because like you said, if they’re your friends, they’re going to naturally try and figure out how to help you with that.

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. Before we continue, let’s take a moment to hear from our sponsors.

This episode is sponsored by Raptive. You may have heard of Raptive, formerly AdThrive as an ad provider for over 4,000 of the world’s top digital content creators. Pinch of Yum included. But they’re not just an ad provider, they’re a strategic partner that helps creators build their businesses with the resources they need to grow and monetize their audiences. They offer customized industry-leading solutions like an engagement suite called Slickstream, resources on email strategy assistance, HR guidance, and more, so creators can focus on what they want to be focusing on, creating great content.

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So lets… You are in this season where you’re able to downshift a little bit in the private chef world. Does that then look like an upshift for you into the world of digital and you’re building your site and your social media? Tell me a little bit about that, how that fits into the picture, because I think it’s a wonderful compliment to what you’re doing.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, it’s definitely wearing many hats. And like I said, the beauty of it is that being a private chef, I may work a total of three hours a day per client, and then you have the rest of the day of what do I need to do? So right now, I’m in a strategy of, and like we were discussing, I was trying to test myself, see if I could write a recipe now. And so instead of me just making dinner, “Well, I don’t have a Salisbury steak on my website, so I can use that as content.” So now I’m going to shoot the reel, take the in-action photos, and now I’m going to turn it into a blog post, turn it into a reel while simultaneously having a dinner.

And so even while the season is still in full swing, I’m still seeking to clean up, especially after Google. What’s the gentle the way of saying this? Is Google abused all of our websites with tractions and speeds and updates and all of this, it’s just like your head spinning on, “What content is valuable that I need to improve? And how much of it do I need to create new content?” So it’s always this give and go with the digital space, but then also at the same time focusing on, what social media platform do I really want to grow? Because a brand reach out to you and they say, “I need you on TikTok.” And then you say, “I want the same rate I would get on Instagram because it’s the same creativity.” “Oh, your TikTok’s not as large.”

So it’s all of these things. But at the end of the day, to simplify, yes, it upticks. But then also since I don’t have a client, I’m always looking for another client. So I’m always open for business or creating a new product. I have this product in my spirit that I want to create for registered nurse and busy moms and also busy people, but I want to focus on registered nurse, RNs, because I just appreciate what they do so much teaching them how to make healthy meals in 30 minutes. I did a 21-day meal prep challenge maybe about two or three years ago, right around COVID or right before COVID. And I had people losing weight in 21 days, people lowering their ACH. I believe that’s the right thing, if it’s not the right thing. But the diabetes levels lets them know that they have diabetes, they was lowering their diabetes.

So I saw a plan, me using the knowledge I had for being a private chef, working for regular everyday people, and now with the inflation and rising prices, and people still want to have life and enjoy, I want to create this 30 minute meal thing, which I actually, the unfortunate thing is, y’all, I have all the recipes wrote down. I just haven’t tested them.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. And anytime you put something into an official published format, it’s like you want to do a couple rounds of-

Kenneth Temple: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: Just double checking.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, just make sure. And I trust myself in it. I just need to do the testing and do a couple of quick photography, and then we can create that, turn into ebook, turn into a couple of audiobooks, and then maybe even have a private cooking class where I show you a couple of ways to have some fun with it. So there’s a couple of other things that I take. Like you said, now that this is done, now I shift my focus so I can keep it going because I’m a father, I’m a husband, and we all got bills.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. And like we talked about one of the nice things with a digital business complimented with another business on the side is you can do that backfill. So let’s say you have a day and you’re super busy in your private chef business, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get to publishing a blog post because that’s not your main thing. But let’s say you have a day that’s a little bit lighter, it’s maybe two hours and you get in and out, finish a meal, and then you can say, “Okay, what do I feel like I want to prioritize with the business?” And the nice thing is the… You’ve started your site and I pulled up just some information around it. It’s like you’ve had it for a while, but really over the past few years have experienced some growth with it. You were accepted to Mediavine last fall, last winter?

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, this fall. Yeah, this fall. Yeah, go ahead because I’m going to talk about that.

Bjork Ostrom: Say it again?

Kenneth Temple: I said go ahead because we’re going to talk about that.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay. Yeah, share. Yeah. What was that like, and what was that experience like once you do grow your site to the point where you get ads on it? Talk to us about that.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, it’s a beautiful thing because I started blogging because of my wife, meikoandthedish.com, ladies and gentlemen. meikoandthedish.com. Because when I met her, she was blogging, and then I was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” Because the thing I also enjoy about cooking is I’m a avid learner, so I enjoy teaching too. I know some people look at cooking as a chore, as a… Sometimes they look at it as a plague, but if you understand the basic steps and fundamentals, you can make anything really delicious. And so I looked at that as my opportunity to share food. Unfortunately, for several years, because I started blogging in 2017, for several years I blogged as a chef. Now y’all might be saying, “What does that mean?” I thought, for instance, that a pineapple upside-down sticky bun sounded amazing.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. Totally.

Kenneth Temple: So I created the recipe.

Bjork Ostrom: So you make it and you publish it.

Kenneth Temple: So I’ll make it and I’ll publish it. And then I learned about searchability.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Kenneth Temple: Nobody’s looking for that, Kenneth. Don’t nobody even think to put those two together. Oh, that’s something for a cookbook, because nobody’s looking for that because how I started-

Bjork Ostrom: Or social media.

Kenneth Temple: On social media, right.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah. But unfortunately, a lot of people who create these beautiful creative things on social media, it lives on social media platform. They don’t own that space. So if Instagram, TikTok, Facebook ever shuts down, everything you ever created on the digital spaces is gone. So I started food blog and also because I used to do a show on Facebook called The Hunger Trap when I used to go live every Tuesday. I need something to cook, and my audience needs someone to get the recipe. So whatever I created to cook, that’s what ended up on the blog, and that was the recipe that I shared out. And that was my motto.

But again, I was blogging like a chef because I didn’t understand search intent and all of those things. And then one of my friends, shout out to Jocelyn Grandbaby Cakes. She grabbed me by my hands and told me, “You’re doing too much. You got to simplify. People aren’t looking for this. They may be looking for upside-down cake. They may be looking for sticky buns. So you have to create those. And then you link it to this creative recipe and then let it go from that.” So it was after that twist that she told me that I started readjusting. I wrote down 100 recipes, and I knocked out 100 recipes in less than three months, and it probably would’ve been short if I didn’t have to be a private chef. Again, that’s the rate and volume I can crank out content if I’m just locked in.

Bjork Ostrom: So that was you taking pictures, developing the recipes? Wow, that’s-

Kenneth Temple: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. You probably have a skillset that not a lot of people have, which is the ability to really efficiently develop and then also create a recipe from years of working or-

Kenneth Temple: As a private chef.

Bjork Ostrom: One or two years in the restaurant, but then also as a private chef, you just develop. It’s like reps. To use the basketball analogy, it’s like you shoot 10,000 free throws and you get good at shooting free throw.

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: You make 10,000 recipes and you get good at making recipes.

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: And so that was the catalyst, the number of recipes that you made combined with the insight into moving more towards recipes that are maybe being searched. Yes. That combination was what allowed you to have that growth that eventually allowed you to sign up for an ad network, which then eventually allowed… Like we talk about is never truly passive. But the thing that feels good to me when I imagine it is you could go and you could cook all day as a private chef, and then you could also make money with your site working in the background $100 without having to do any work that day on the site. So can you talk about what that has felt like to have that as an additional backstop source of income running in the background for your business?

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, it’s definitely a rewarding stamp because during COVID, I had went to San Diego and was talking to a friend, and we was talking about one of her friends who was a food blog, and she said, “Yeah, she said she’s doing something wrong if she doesn’t earn $1,000 a day on her website.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And you’re like, “Huh?”

Kenneth Temple: I was like, “Excuse me?” She said, “Yeah, that’s what she said.” I said, “Is she classically trained?” She was like, “No.” I said, “So she’s not a chef.” She was like, “No.” “So she’s never worked in the industry ever?” She said, “No, she just creates recipes and put them on there.” I went, “I just finished going to toe and toe with a client who tried to lowball me to cook for a hundred people for less than $1,000. And you mean to tell me that she’s sitting at home passively earning $1,000 off of something probably like brown rice and Instant Pot, you telling me that’s what you’re doing?” She was like, “Yeah.” I said, “Okay, we got to look at this blog and thing from a different perspective,” because one reason why I started going live on Facebook is because I know I can be a private chef literally in the private, and no one in the public ever know I exist.

Bjork Ostrom: Right, right. Yeah. It’s like the ultimate contrast of one-to-one versus one to many, one to infinite. You could reach as many people as possible. The thing is, I feel like, and would be interesting in your thoughts on this, both of those things are good. I think there’s something to be said about having something that is one-to-one. Let’s say there’s an algorithm change. Instagram changes how they prioritize content. There’s a Google update. If your sole source of income is advertisements on a blog or working with sponsors, you are one algorithm change away from that going away.

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: And in your case, you have a little bit of security in each area. And it’s one of the things, I was listening to a podcast a long time ago, and they talked about one of the benefits of entrepreneurial pursuits, even if it’s not the thing that you were doing full-time, is that it’s like an incredible insurance policy. It’s an incredible additional opportunity that you have if you ever need to ramp that up. And we hear many stories where somebody who’s working at a normal job, it’s not a business that they have like in your case, but they have a job and they get let go, and that becomes… Maybe they’re making 1,000, 2,000, $3,000 from their site, and suddenly they’re like, “Okay, I guess this is my time to scale it up because I need to, this is my opportunity.” Can you talk a little bit about what that feels like, maybe the positives and the negatives? Are there negatives to trying to do two things at the same time, but also then what are the positives?

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, yeah. I think the negatives is just getting too busy. The negative is you’re getting too busy trying to do too many things, but you have to keep the first things first, and then as you say, each day you have a different goal and a different priority that’s going to point you to where you’re seeking to go. So if I have a week, let’s say I have a week, my client’s in town all week, then maybe I’m not going to work on the blog at all because I’m trying to make sure our menu developed. And also there’s the accounting part. You’re working with multimillionaires, but still going “Hey, why is every receipt $300?” “I want you to have nothing but the best.” “Reduce that down and give me some mediocre stuff.” Especially when groceries are reimbursed. So that’s one thing.

And then burnout, because you’re trying to do so much at a time, you can burn out. But as you mentioned that my fun skillset is that I can batch recipes with the best of them by myself. So if I have a week to myself and no distractions, we can probably do 30 recipes in five days.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, because you have that skillset of when you go to the grocery store, you know how to get what you need in bulk and line it all up, taking care of-

Kenneth Temple: Yeah. Match the recipes. Yeah, matching recipes. How many times can you reuse this? So y’all say, “What do you mean batch recipes?” So okay, if I’m going to do pancakes, say take pancakes. How many pancakes recipes, are there opportunities? And then go for them. At the end of the day, a pancake is a pancake regardless if you put blueberries, bananas, chocolate, syrup, red velvet. Still pancakes. So we’re about to have a pancake day, just going to make pancakes and execute-

Bjork Ostrom: Yep. And that’s what you focus on that day, as opposed to doing pancakes and then steak and then-

Kenneth Temple: Exactly, exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And having similar recipes that you’re doing on similar days.

Kenneth Temple: Yes. Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Makes sense. So what do you feel like has been working the best for you right now? What are the things that feels like they’re locked in that… Whether within your private chef business or on the digital side, what are the things that it’s like, “Yeah, this feels like it’s working”?

Kenneth Temple: Yeah. With the private chef is the brand, the reputation. Being in it for 15 years now, because July, going on, I don’t remember that, 29. 2009 to 2024, whatever that number is, 15, 16, wherever we at with that. Being in it for this long and being able to sustain myself, having done what I have done and accomplished on the Food Network, being a Chopped Champion, doing my own series with Food Network Kitchen, and then being a author, selling seasonings. All of those things work together. And of course, I’m still… As I improve in one area, I’m always looking at something else to take away. And that’s probably also what I learned in culinary school quickly, because they was like, “Oh, you got a menu. You got all these items.” Well, there’s a star, and then there’s a dog. The star obviously is the main thing that’s selling, the dog is the thing that’s not really moving.

And it’s like, “Okay, do I want to become the next Dan-O’s Seasoning?” My savory seasoning is pretty phenomenal, but how much energy and effort do I have to put into pumping the seasoning? That takes away from the blog, that takes away from this. I don’t think Dan-O is blogging, he’s just focusing on seasoning. I don’t think Dan-O is being a private chef, he’s just focusing on seasoning. So it’s like finding that balance of prioritizing what’s important each and every day, and making sure that I’m cleaning up all the recipes. Because when I used to write blog posts y’all I, “Hey, here’s a summary, here’s a couple of substitutes, and here’s the recipe.” And I even have friends that say, “Why is y’all blog posts so long?” I say, “Blame Google.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure.

Kenneth Temple: Blame Google. If it was up to me, you’ll just have a summary, a photo, and there’s the recipe.

Bjork Ostrom: 100%.

Kenneth Temple: But because that’s the market, you have to tell the story and give the people all of the things that they need. So my content writing has thoroughly improved. I can write with the best of them with minimum, minimum, minimum AI assistance, and then just pump out stuff. So yeah, yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. Yeah. I love that idea of the star and the dog. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Do you view that within your work like, “Hey, if I’m going to start to do a new thing, it means I’m probably going to stop doing another thing”? And then do you have an example of what that looks like? What’s a thing recently that you started doing, and then another thing that you stopped doing?

Kenneth Temple: Oh, okay. Perfect. So started on… I was about to go on the deep dive. I promise you I was about to go. I was about to go on deep dive on creating reels and exploding my Instagram. But then I came across a video, and this is brand new news, and then I re-came across government contracts. In 2012, I was a part of it, and I didn’t really understand the opportunities that was there. So we talk about being in the down season of it. Doing that job will allow me to get more capital coming in while still being a private chef, while still being able to blog, so I was like-

Bjork Ostrom: Like a government contracted position?

Kenneth Temple: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah. Which is like maybe there’s more paperwork, there’s more red tape you have to go through. But the type of work that you eventually would get as a private chef once you get into that, is probably pretty good?

Kenneth Temple: Yeah. And I’m talking about I can sell envelopes for a government contract. That’s the type of stuff, it’s stuff like that. So you can find these different opportunities. I said, “I’m still in the food space. I know equipment. I know all of these things. Let me see if I can test my knowledge in this and then build this into a business where I can build a team and a system to work this for me while still simultaneously doing my other things.” So that’s one focus I’m about to go into this summer. But also…

So like I said, I was going to do a deep dive into improving my reels to grow my Instagram, because your viewers may know this and a lot, but the brand sponsorship market is down dramatically 2024 from 2023, and we see what’s going on in the world, so we can make that… We see. So I was like, “To shoot that up, you got to get the numbers up because that’s who they’re going after to go after them.” But I was like, “Okay, before I do that,” I scrapped eBooks off my site. I scrapped my online course off my site. I scrapped a lot of different things that I was offering and just said, “None of these things are really gone because I created them for a passion and a hobby, something I wanted to, not really anything that was solving a problem for anybody.”

The reason why I have this registered nurse idea is because a friend of mine who’s a registered nurse told me about a problem she was having and asked me to solve it. So I’m like, “How many other people in your field in your position feel exactly like this? You’re working out. You want to eat good, you want to eat clean, but it’s so many options after a long day. If you just had something simple and quick to whip up, you would attack it and then you’ll reap the benefits of what you’re working out.” I’m going to go after that.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. Yep. And the idea in that case, it’s like, hey, you had these things on your site, eBooks, products, courses. It’s like you enjoyed creating those, you felt like, “Hey, there’s maybe a need here.” So you put them out into the world. Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t, maybe it wasn’t solving the problem, a problem that existed for people. So it’s like, “Hey, let’s take those down, but,” and I think this is really important, something that we try and talk about on the podcast a decent amount, which is like… It’s almost like customer development. You hear from somebody, “Hey, I have this problem.” And anytime somebody’s like, “I have this problem,” it’s like, oh, opportunity. My example before, it’s like, how do I efficiently sell stuff that we have if I’m not the one selling it? Like, “Ooh, that’s a problem other people probably have that…”

In your case, it’s like talking to a friend who’s a nurse, and they’re like, “I work like a double and I just need to do my laundry. I can’t think about making a meal that takes 90 minutes after.” So then it’s like, “Oh, that’s a problem. There’s probably some other people who have that problem.” If you are going to prioritize that, maybe getting rid of some of those other things on your site so you’re not… It’s just like cleaning that up?

Kenneth Temple: Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: The thing I’m interested in, so when you’re talking about the government contracts, that would be not in the food world. That’s like-

Kenneth Temple: No, no, it’ll still be in the food world. It will still be in the food world.

Bjork Ostrom: Government contract, like there’s an opportunity-

Kenneth Temple: Yeah, universities.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Kenneth Temple: So universities, hospitals, just for instance. They have to buy rice, they have to buy sugar, they have to buy equipment, and they have to put bids out into the world to get those things fulfilled.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I see. And so it would almost be in the category of retail or E-commerce or wholesale, like there’s an opportunity for you as somebody who understands the world of food and restaurants and ordering to have this really interesting space where you potentially are working with people to fulfill some of those needs that they have. Got it, okay. That makes sense.

Kenneth Temple: Because it’s a problem that they need solved. Yeah. So that’s still on that trajectory of instead of me just putting out something that, “Oh, I’m passionate and I want to create this steak course.” I had some people signed up for the steak course, got maximum value, got transformations of it. But when I put it back out there.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, sure. Yeah.

Kenneth Temple: Crickets. Here’s a opportunity where there’s people. Because as entrepreneurs, what we all should be focusing on is solving problems. The only reason why you create a Salisbury steak recipe is because everybody that tried five Salisbury steaks on the first page and know though they look good, they’re just not. Okay, let me create that to solve a problem to give you that old TV dinner nostalgia you may have had with your family. That’s the reason why you create recipes to solve problems. So if I can find markets and opportunities within my field of expertise to solve a problem, I need to be pursuing them, especially if it’s within my wheelhouse.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s great. And I feel like that to draw that out even further, you’re solving such an obvious problem in the world as a private chef where you have a professional athlete who has really specific needs for their diet. You are probably one of the critical team members-

Kenneth Temple: Teammates, yes.

Bjork Ostrom: For an NBA player, because it’s like you are literally the fuel that like Tim Hardaway is going to go and play in a NBA championship game. That’s really an incredible thing. In that case, the problem is one-to-one, like we talked about. Then the question becomes, what does it look like if it’s one to many or one to a few? And it still needs to be solving a problem, which is such a great point, like what are the problems that we as entrepreneurs are solving in the world?

And one of the best ways to find those, it goes back to what we were talking about before, is just like talking to people. It’s putting it out into the world and saying like, “Hey, I’m thinking of in the case of registered nurses creating this product for people who are medical professionals who want to eat well but don’t have time. Do you feel like that’s a problem for you, somebody who’s a doctor or a nurse or whatever it might be?” And starting to get that feedback. That’s awesome and I think something that all of us could be doing a better job of, is having those conversations.

Kenneth Temple: Yeah. And most of us are so engulfed in love with ourselves, and we think, “I think it’s cool, so you should think it’s cool.” That’s not the way it works. Now, granted, like you said, it took me to this point in my career as an entrepreneur to really lock in on it, not as simplified as you just said it. Being a private chef is solving a problem, but I was seeking to create external other streams of revenue with things I thought would be cool, but it wasn’t truly solving a problem in the market. And that’s now my focus, is let’s scrap all of this, let’s rebuild. I just had a baby. Well, he ain’t a baby no more. He’s still a baby, seven months. Just had a child.

Bjork Ostrom: Congratulations. Yeah.

Kenneth Temple: Thank you. You’re moving around, you’re starting fresh. And it was like, “Okay, let’s purge these things and let’s re-shift and let’s rebuild.” And I think a lot of people have an issue with the appearance of failing. Y’all can’t see if you’re listening to audio, the air quotes, the appearance of failing just because you stopped one thing and shifted to another thing. And many times, those are the people who are successful because they didn’t keep beating a dead horse. Again, the steak course, phenomenal, but if nobody’s buying, it’s a dog. Get rid of it, get it off the menu, and focus on what’s working.

Bjork Ostrom: I love that idea too, of the comparison in the menu world. You could have a really incredible item on the menu, but maybe nobody orders it for whatever reason.

Kenneth Temple: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: Who knows? But if it’s really good, it doesn’t matter if nobody’s ordering it. And so you need to figure out not only what’s going to be really good, but what are people going to order? And in our world, it’s like we need to figure out what are the problems that people have and what does it look like to create something that… If we are looking to build revenue, what does that look like for those people who will actually buy it?

Kenneth Temple: Exactly. Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. Kenneth, we could go another hour here. I know there’s so much more to your story, your TV appearances and all the things that you’ve done there. So we’ll have to have another conversation-

Kenneth Temple: Hey, I’m always down for a good conversation.

Bjork Ostrom: For people who want to follow along with what you’re up to online, on your site, how can people do that? What’s the best way for people to follow along?

Kenneth Temple: Anywhere in the world wide web, from my website, to LinkedIn, to Instagram, TikTok, all of those fun places. Kenneth Temple. Just look up Kenneth Temple. Yeah, kennethtemple.com is my blog, and Kenneth Temple on all other social media platforms. I don’t have any alternate aliases going around. It’s too confusing for me to remember which alias I was using that day. I’m Kenneth Temple all the days. So yeah, just go with that. Yes sir. Yes sir.

Bjork Ostrom: Kenneth, thanks so much for coming on. Really appreciate it.

Kenneth Temple: Thank you for having me. I look forward to part too.

Emily Walker: Hey there. This is Emily from the Food Blogger Pro team. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Since we are kicking off a brand new month, we wanted to give you a rundown of everything you can expect in the Food Blogger Pro membership this month. We are kicking things off on the 4th of July with a brand new coaching call with Katie Wilken. In this coaching call, Katie and Bjork talk about monetizing Katie’s Instagram following. She has over 180,000 followers and whether it makes more sense to focus on sponsored content or building her email strategy. Katie also shares more about her upcoming cookbooks and Bjork shares his recommendations for growing her following on an email or membership platform before the cookbook launch.

Next up, we will have a live Q&A on Thursday, July 18th with Arsen Rabinovich, all about the state of Google algorithm updates. Arsen from TopHatRank will be joining us to chat all about the recent Helpful Content Updates, how to respond, and what you might want to keep an eye out for this fall. At the end of the month, on July 25th, we will be releasing an updated version of our Setting Up Your Food Blog course. New and improved, lots of great new information, and just everything updated. It’s going to be a really great month. If you’re not yet a Food Blogger Pro member, head to foodbloggerpro.com/membership to learn more about our awesome membership. We would really love to have you join us. And that’s it for this week. We will see you back here next Tuesday for another episode. Have a great week.

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