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Live social video whets foodie appetites

As well as being consumed in large quantities this Christmas, the turkey has been taking a starring role in live online video.

Food — whether eating it or cooking it — has become one of the most popular subjects to show online, from social networks to a new app specialising in foodie culture.

Live video has been taking over social feeds, from Facebook to Twitter’s Periscope and now Instagram, which launched live video last month, enabled by improving smartphone technology and large mobile data plans. Facebook Live videos showing food and recipes have garnered almost 550m views so far this year, according to data from video research company Tubular Labs.

From Martha Stewart going live from her kitchen for 40 minutes, making sweet holiday treats, to Jamie Oliver roasting potatoes from an “insane” chapter of his new Christmas cookbook, chefs have been adopting the new medium to reach larger audiences.

Cooks and food bloggers have been trying to reach audiences turning away from TV by using a range of platforms. Celebrity chef Jeff Henderson recently went live on Periscope from the Southern Ideal Home Show while Amazon’s Twitch, which is primarily known for livestreams of people playing video games, launched its creative section with a 201-episode marathon of Julia Child’s The French Chef, a series first aired in 1963.

Two early YouTube executives — Steve Chen, who was a co-founder and the video site’s chief technology officer, and Vijay Karunamurthy — have even created an app focused on livestreaming food. Nom aims to combine a Snapchat-like experience with allowing users to ask questions of their favourite food bloggers and celebrity chefs.

This holiday season, food blogger Abbey — @thebutterhalf — has used Nom to show how to make mini sufganiyot, a jelly doughnut eaten at Hanukkah, and pomegranate mojito mocktails, while cookie recipes were broadcast live from ecommerce company Brit + Co’s holiday house.

Mr Karunamurthy, who led engineering at YouTube, said people tended to comment and try out recipes more when they saw live video of chefs in restaurants. Corey Lee, the former head chef of the West Coast’s French Laundry, has invested in Nom and taken the audience behind the scenes at his restaurant Benu. Food shows The Chew, from ABC, and Vice Munchies have also put videos on Nom.

“We think a new generation of people want this content, with quirky different perspectives on say, Chinese food,” he said. “The format on mobile is different from a TV show, it is simple to swipe through the video and click rather than watching 20 minutes.”

Nom is backed by Silicon Valley investors such as Khosla Venturesand SV Angel, as well as the actor Jared Leto and Psy, the Korean pop star who gained fame with “Gangnam Style” and whose grandmother owns a chain of Korean noodle restaurants.

Via FT