The Drum paid a visit to Twisted’s headquarters to uncover the secret sauce behind the viral video phenomenon, attracting 8.4 million Facebook followers and global brands to the fold.
Having started as a conversation between friends, video recipe page Twisted began life in a house-share kitchen, filmed on a GoPro. The shoots have changed a bit since then, with its growing team now working atop four busy stations in a studio flooded with bright lights and overhead cameras.
The food videos viewers have come to love, obsess over and attempt to recreate are all made from the comfort of an unassuming but large office in London’s Whitechapel. Aside from the growing fan base, the channel has also attracted the attention of household brands.
On the day of The Drum's visit, the duo was preparing for a meeting with Birds Eye to discuss a sponsored video featuring the brand's garden peas. Working with a number of brands including Frank's Hot Sauce, The Laughing Cow, Pepsi, Baileys and Cadbury's, the team first of all works out how to incorporate the product into one of their distinctive, fun meals.
An arm of media company Jungle Creations, the concept for Twisted emerged from a conversation between chief executive and founder Jamie Bolding and Harry Bamber, who was at the time working in a job outside of the culinary world.
“I really wanted to be a chef initially and [Bolding] propositioned me,” Bamber said. “Jungle Creations was in its real infancy. It had been going for about two or three months and he asked if I would like to start the food stuff.”
As Jungle Creations had only just opened its doors, there was no space for a kitchen set up. This meant video production began in Bamber's London house share.
“It was me, a GoPro, the odd kitchen tools I had in my house, three housemates and it just started in my kitchen,” he noted.
“I was filming, cooking, editing, writing up the recipes, cleaning up and ordering for three recipes a day, which is what we do as a team now on some days; so it was all a bit manic and wonderful."
He added: “I mean the video quality was questionable and the GoPro would fall into the dishes. We were definitely lacking a certain skill set.”
Now, the team of 11 can collectively create up to eight videos a day.
After a period of growth an advertisement was put out for a videographer to join budding home chef Bamber. It caught the attention of Tom Jackson, now head of food at Twisted Food, who responded to tell the team that what they were in fact missing was a chef.
Describing how it felt on the first day, Jackson said he remembered feeling a bit unsure. “I knocked on Harry’s door and walked up the stairs, having never met the guy I would [come to] spend more time with than anyone else, ever, and he was making pizza cones.
"I wasn’t quite sure if it was the job for me on that first day.”
Creating videos is now a bit slicker. No longer is there a risk of the GoPro falling into the dish mid-filming, nor are the shoots taking place in a shared kitchen. Instead the team is set up in a kitchen with four designated filming stations and a long table for editing and holding the weekly planning meetings.
Discussing the growth of the page, Bamber said: “It exploded at a rate that we never could have expected, a million in six weeks was wildly beyond our most imaginative dreams. We are over eight million and we released a small cookbook last year. That’s the great thing about social media.”
Watch the video above to see how the viral spots are created.