A chef who has worked at some of the world’s most renowned restaurants with a combined total of 24 Michelin stars has stepped out from behind the stoves to change the way people see the hospitality industry.
Nathan Snoddon launched London-based Food Story Media in 2018 helping top restaurants to develop inspiring brands through storytelling, using social media, photography, cinematography and web design.
The 29-year-old’s clients include the likes of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester and Clare Smyth’s Core, both holding three Michelin stars, and in 2022, Food Story Media will expand to America with a New York branch opening.
Nathan, who trained as a chef after leaving school, moved to London from his home town of Belfast in his mid-20s to work at some of the capital’s best restaurants – but whilst working as a sous chef at Bonhams in Mayfair, he was made redundant due to its closure.
Feeling the pull of his passion for storytelling, he bravely decided to launch out on his own, using the small amount of redundancy money he had received to buy a professional camera and lighting equipment. Many of the Michelin-starred restaurants that he had worked at quickly became his clients as they were so impressed with his digital storytelling skills.
“The best stories told are by those who have lived them,” said Nathan, who has ‘Food Story’ tattooed on his left hand. “Chefs at that level can spend 16 hours a day, five days a week in restaurants. There is so much sacrifice involved physically and mentally. I wanted to do those chefs justice and communicate the levels of passion and drive involved whilst helping people to understand more about what goes on behind the kitchen door: the details, the precision, the teamwork, the comradery. I thought I could be the one to do that because of my background as a chef and my love for the craft.”
He now has a team of four, including his life partner, Alla Malina, who also comes from a restaurant background and helped him to set up the digital brand development agency. She works as Creative Director at Food Story Media, based in Aldgate East.
His first client was superstar chef Clare Smyth, of Core in Notting Hill, the first and only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars in the UK.
Nathan said: “Clare was an idol of mine when I was a chef and I had previously worked in her kitchens at Core. Early on, she saw the potential of Food Story Media and understood the value of our work. She has been a huge mentor of mine throughout the whole journey.”
He reveals that back home in Northern Ireland, his life has always revolved around food, with him working as a pot wash since the age of 11 at a restaurant where his mum worked front-of-house.
His love of good food soared to greater heights in his late teens as he travelled the world and worked in restaurants in Asia and Australasia for two years, expanding his knowledge of cuisine.
He said: “Throughout my entire career as a chef, I’ve seen photographers coming into kitchens asking the chef to hold up a plate of food in their hands and smile at the camera. I always hated it, it never told a story! It was the same old rubbish without any context, emotion or purpose. I always say don’t sell, story tell. It was during this time that I became obsessed with storytelling and the ability to capture a moment of passion that speaks to you. That’s when you find the best moments, when someone is engrossed in their craft. I wanted to give the kitchen the voice it deserves. I set up Food Story Media to be the three Michelin starred version of a digital media company, where we peel back the layers of the story from a chef’s perspective. Many photographers would find kitchens intimidating but for us, it’s home.”
Clare Smyth added: “Nathan’s background as a chef has helped him to completely understand what we are doing and capture it.”
Celebrity chef Monica Galetti, who is also a Food Story Media client, said: “Nathan continues to push the boundaries that keep both us and our audience excited.”
Nathan has had zero investment in his business and almost every penny made has been reinvested.
He strongly believes Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP has given him the tools to create successful strategies within his company and team culture. Indeed, in 2020, he became a Master Practitioner of NLP and a Master NLP Coach.
For further information about Food Story Media, please visit: www.foodstorymedia.com