There’s something fishy going on with Instagram’s 15-second films, thanks to Dutch chef Bart van Olphen.
The TV personality and author got his team behind the social media lens — no, it’s not a fisheye — to teach audiences about easy-to-cook recipes and sustainable fishing. Think of @bartsfishtales as bite-size learning.
Here, the restaurateur talks to Metro about why he’s trying to reel in an audience with his fishy tales.
Why did you decide to start an Instagram cooking show?
Around 10 years ago, I was a chef in a Michelin-rated restaurant in Paris, and I realized that there was a story behind the fish supplies that came into the kitchen. Fish is the last product that we actually catch in the wild and I wanted to tell the story connected to the fisherman and small-scale fisheries.
Your videos are only 15 seconds long. Was it a personal challenge as well?
Yes, the limit made us wonder whether it was possible to prepare and cook fish in 15 seconds. The videos show how easy it is to do.
Is this a spoof of Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute meals?
He has 15 minutes, we have 15 seconds. Suddenly, we have the shortest cooking show in the world. I actually love his work because he changed people’s consumption habits with his healthy eating campaigns.
They remind me of early 20th-century movie shorts. Was this the intention?
[Laughs] Keith Floyd was my inspiration. I love him. He was cooking on the beach, in people’s homes, on boats and sometimes after having drunk too much wine. If something went wrong, it went wrong. It was natural.
Is there an educational side to the videos?
I would like to teach people about sustainable fishing in a fun way without pointing the finger at individuals who flaunt the rules.
Has social media been good for business?
Hmm, it wasn’t for that purpose but maybe. I only started using Instagram in November and two weeks ago, I had 1,000 followers and now I have over 22,000, so it’s moving quite fast. My followers are coming from Russia, Japan, South Korea — all over.