I am José Andrés. I am a cook, restaurateur, and the founder of World Central Kitchen, a global non-profit organization that feeds people in the wake of disasters. What connects all these different pieces of me? A belief that food has the power to connect us. It tells a story about who we are and where we’re going.
My new media company, José Andrés Media (JAM), was created to tell some of these food stories. JAM works across many platforms to explore all the ways food connects us. One of JAM’s first projects was my podcast, Longer Tables with José Andrés.
Why a podcast? Well, for one it was a forum in which I could talk about my experiences as a humanitarian and a chef and how those two roles influence one another. The podcast also allowed me to reach a new audience and to explore other people’s food lives and stories. Finally, if I’m honest, I wanted to be the interviewer for a change! I’m used to going on other people’s shows, but I’ve never been the one asking the questions. I wanted a chance to drive the conversation we have about food and how it can change the world.
When we started talking about a podcast our first question was this: Does the world really need another podcast? Our answer: Yes!
Why? Well, for the last several years I’ve been sharing my message that we need longer tables, not higher walls, to bring us together—on news programs, other podcasts, and my own social media. It was time I had my own platform: to spread the word and to show, through interviews, cooking and conversation, how we all have a food story, and by sharing them with each other we can understand one another better. For interviews, we wanted a mix of global thinkers, cooks, and entertainers: people our listeners thought they knew but would see in a new light after understanding what they eat, and how they think about food. With help from members of my team, we set up conversations with my friends and people I admire: Yo-Yo Ma, Stacey Abrams, Eric Ripert, Ron Howard, Martha Stewart and event my own daughters!
I also wanted to share recipes with listeners. Everyone told me it was crazy – cooking is visual; people will want to see what you are doing, they told me. Maybe I’m stubborn, but I knew we could inspire people to cook just with their ears—once they heard the crackling sounds of eggs when they hit hot oil or the chop chop chop of mincing garlic. In truth, this wasn’t easy. I have had to rethink the way I describe what I’m doing, slowing down, and making sure to tell people what I’m seeing, smelling, even feeling. For those who still want to see me cook, we decided to invite a videographer into the kitchen. We post the videos on YouTube and make sure to share written recipes through my Substack newsletter. Footage from the podcast also became additional content for my YouTube, Substack newsletter, and other social channels!
The final editorial hurdle was to create a Q&A segment, where I could directly answer questions from listeners. This was essential to me because, well, I’ve always loved the old NPR show, “Car Talk,” and I thought we needed to do one for food. I confess, this is one of my favorite parts of the show because I never know what people are going to ask. (One time, I had to talk about what I eat with a dietitian…how crazy is that?!) I think this leads to truly memorable moments.
Getting the word out about the show has required the most work. The JAM team works together to coordinate release, promos and extras on a variety of channels, from my Substack newsletter to video content for my YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter.
My podcast, Longer Tables with José Andrés, has thrived—not only on Apple podcast but it also helped funnel growth on my Substack newsletter and social channels. So yes, I consider it a big success.
Some examples: From September to December 2022, subscribers to my YouTube channel jumped 38%, driven by increased content and the performance of recipe videos and full-length interviews from my podcast. All told, my YouTube subscribers doubled in 2022, and, since the podcast launch, our watch hours have quadrupled!
The podcast also increased subscribers for my Substack newsletter (also called Longer Tables). Every month, since September, newsletters featuring new podcast episodes, contributed an average of 30% of new, paid subscribers. We have 4.9 stars out of 5 on Apple podcasts and we outperformed our goals for downloads per episode. I guess people like it!
In short: My podcast is resonating with listeners, driving growth and increasing our following and reach. In only three months, we spread the message of “Longer Tables” and helped to build my community of food fighters, who are committed to changing the world through the power of food.
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