Comfort food and communications

by Connor Walsh

November 7, 2017

Buzzfeed's Tasty comes to Newhouse

Tasty, a wildly successful video series launched by BuzzFeed in 2015, now has over 90 million Facebook followers. 

“Our goal was combining social [media] with food. Food is a social network in its own way,” said Scott Loitsch, a senior producer for Tasty.

Loitsch visited Newhouse Oct. 26 to shoot a Tasty video and discuss his career with students in Professor Jennifer Grygiel’s Buzzfeed: Future Media Skills class, as well as other interested onlookers.

Loitsch started out as a video intern for BuzzFeed, then moved into his current position. He was one of a few employees who developed the idea for the Tasty series by combining two passions: cooking and making movies.

Tasty’s focus on social media originated from the team’s desire to help people share recipes with each other. This idea led to the series being developed exclusively for social media platforms. The team’s inspiration also came from food shows where the host,  not the ingredients, was the focus of attention.

Despite the reduced focus on the host, Loitsch pointed out that the host’s work is not always easy. “The biggest thing is to not make the hands the stars of the show,” Loitsch said while mixing together ingredients for his No Bake, Homemade, Copycat Almond Joy Truffles. He was quick to point out common difficulties that come with the production of Tasty videos. The biggest challenge is keeping everything in the center of frame, he said. Loitsch required four takes to set the bowl down and begin the video, despite his experience. Tasks like stirring are also very difficult to shoot, as he has to stir with his arms outstretched, to keep his face off-camera.

Loitsch said the turnaround time for Tasty videos is quick. The producers discover or create a recipe and, after having it approved, shoot within a day or two. The videos take between two and four hours to shoot and are made singlehandedly by the producer who found the recipe. The footage is then edited the day after the shoot and posted shortly thereafter.

Loitsch ended his talk by allowing the students in attendance to grab and eat the completed truffles off the plate.

Loitsch stressed the importance of social media advertising, saying Tasty owes its success to people scrolling through their Facebook feeds and finding new recipes. Loitsch and Grygiel encouraged students to use the hashtag #NHBuzzfeed when tweeting about the video to demonstrate the power of social media in spreading the word.

Connor Walsh is a senior television, radio and film major at the Newhouse School.