Meeting with Diego Alary, the most followed French chef in the world on TikTok

On “Top Chef,” how do you learn to cook in front of the cameras? Competitively?
I didn’t think of that. I just had in mind to make good little dishes. When asked questions, I shared my tips, but I didn’t pay attention to the cameras. I was really focused on cooking, cooking, cooking… I experienced it as a very beautiful adventure. Like a football tournament!

How have you managed to stand out from other professionals in your field?
I love to do many things. My life is cooking! I test things, I improve my ways. I like to discover new dishes, to exchange with people. Furthermore, I do not have a signature right. I love so many things and I love to cook so many things! But I love everything that is produced from the Mediterranean, from Spain, a little pepper here, a little lemon there. What I especially like is the shared kitchen. I have a Spanish-Portuguese mother and my palate has it in it.

At the end of summer 2020, you open your TikTok account, which now has 3 million subscribers. What made you communicate on this social network?
Right after “Top Chef”, Jean Imbert contacted me to be the head chef at the To Share restaurant he opened with Pharrell Williams in Saint-Tropez. A few months later, in September, we had to close for the season, and that’s when there was the second lockout. I took time to ask myself, think, meet amazing people and then I got to know about TikTok. In the beginning, there really wasn’t much on TikTok. I started by making a video that was a tequila flambĂ©ed avocado guacamole. It took me a long time to do it. I waited at least a week before posting the video because I hadn’t found my paw yet. But by the time I posted it, it had become a hit with 1 million views in 24 hours. I didn’t expect that at all. After that I kept making more and more videos and taking it really seriously. It is something that requires a lot of preparation. There are recipes that I test on my own before I film them because I can’t offer people recipes that fail, that people can’t make or that don’t work. I have to come up with something really good. Subsequently, I set up a production company “Vamos”, and it became something very structured with a team behind it.

Today you are unveiling a new cooking guide. How can you be a social media star and want to edit a cookbook?
I am very attached to the cookbook. In 2021 I published a first recipe book after long months of work. I realized that I loved being able to offer an object to people who follow me on the networks. It’s more exclusive sharing and it’s very different from the videos I make on TikTok. This guide is a companion item that you can take out and then leave on your coffee table for a week to flip through from time to time, cook with it, or even not cook it and see on the pictures. You can also just read the little tips. I see it more as a guide than a real classic recipe book.

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