I love to cook, and I love when others appreciate my cooking. Even before the pandemic hit, I cooked every night and loved trying new recipes out on my family. So when a good friend started a website and Instagram feed that had a heavy focus on recipe development (not to mention stunning photos of the results of those recipes), I knew I had to feature her on my blog. Greta Wichman of @chez_lucolette is an incredibly accomplished cook and has a keen eye for all things creative. Ever the perfectionist, she tinkers with and reworks her recipes until they are not only divinely tasty but stunningly beautiful to look at. Her website includes all things homemaking, but food is the focus as it is such a large part of her life and how she demonstrates her love for her family. I can relate to that.
I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her inspiration, how she envisions her new venture, and what the future of it all looks like. I hope you feel inspired to follow her feed and enjoy making some of her creative and inspiring recipes.
Below is a slice of our conversation.
HCD: What is your point of view for Chez Lucolette, and how do you think it sets you apart from other food blogs?
Greta: I would start by saying it's not a food blog. I cook a lot, so naturally, I share a lot of cooking photos and recipes. That said, Chez Lucolette is more of a 'Home Blog,' intending to share things from daily living. Right now, the content on the website, lucolette.com, is largely food-focused. After all, you eat every day, multiple times a day.
HCD: Most people I know who are good cooks often are lacking in terms of baking, and those who bake seem not to feel confident as a cook. You seem to excel at both. Do you feel drawn more towards cooking or baking, or are they different creative outlets for you?
Greta: For me, it goes back to the central idea of daily living. Whether it's Sunday night supper, a family celebration with cake, Monday morning yogurt parfaits, or a quick weekday taco night; each of those is a mini or large-scale creative outlet. I take pride in showing my family love through cooking. Daily eating is not just cake or tacos! The result is, without intent, I continuously work on both skill sets.
HCD: In looking at your feed, I see that several gourmet food companies have re-shared your recipes when you use their product. Is this collaboration part of your overall marketing plan for becoming an influencer in the industry? Are you looking to do more of that? Who or what type of food companies would you most like to collaborate with?
Greta: I have been fortunate in that the brands I enjoy using in my daily cooking have reached out in appreciation of my posts tagging their products. The result has been organic collaborations, spurred by my photography, which feels odd. I am a skilled cook from decades of daily practice, but I am not a photographer. My food photos are all taken with my phone. In all honesty, I am still trying to figure out - what is my goal with these collaborations? At this moment, I am enjoying the appreciation for my aesthetic along with all the creative kindling they are sending my way for more posts. If I had to pick a single dream collaboration, it's so hard to pick one; I would say Food52 since that is nearly everything I love in one marketplace.
HCD: Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your hopes in terms of advancing a career in the food industry, and what does it look like for you?
Greta: Ultimately, I expect my career (how I pay the bills) will stay where it always has been, in tech working with customers. From a goal perspective, I would aspire to leverage my collaborations into a cookbook eventually. I have that little fire in me that many parents have, the desire to leave a legacy for their children. I would like that to be part of my legacy, Luc and Colette's Mama, a published cookbook author.
HCD: Tell us something that those who know you might not think about you, something that would surprise them.
Greta: I was 25, the first time I ever flew on a plane (I don't count the time with my mom when I was one year old).
HCD: I love the way your recipes tie your childhood food memories into an updated spin on those classics; how did you come to choose this idea as part of your brand? What has been the response from your followers?
Greta: I am perhaps overly thematic in my approach to nearly everything. For my mental harmony, each thread must pull on another, and another. Nothing stands alone, even if I do not note all the connections in my head with each post. I'm sure folks don't want to drink from the firehose of my thoughts daily. When I do share my thoughts with a post, it's an appeal to followers: Do you feel this way too? In other cases, I write more with my posts when I feel compelled to share a tribute. Tribute to my loved ones, tribute to all those I don't even know, but that I am thankful for. Hands down, my most 'liked' post was for my Mixtec Whoopie Pies recipe. I attribute that mainly to the why of the recipe resonating with so many. It is heartening to learn via likes how many people agree we should have deep gratitude for farmworkers' hard work.
HCD: Do people make your recipes and then share their thoughts on them? Do you want more of that?
Greta: They do, but not many. I think, primarily, my followers are a visual audience; people respond to what they see. I gauge some of this via comments, but also by analytics. After all, I am a bit of a numbers nerd. I spend some time looking at Instagram, Pinterest, and website analytics to determine what about what I share engages people. It helps me to decide how I will spend my time on this creative endeavor. I recently, as in last week, started actively posting to Pinterest. As they are both highly visual social platforms, I was surprised to discover the Pinterest audience is different from Instagram, resulting in many more visits to the website recipes. It will be interesting to see if that generates more actual cooking and feedback.
HCD: Is there anything we did not cover that you would like to share?
Greta: As many people like myself might say, Thank you, Martha Stewart!
Yes, I can definitely include myself in that group that thanks Martha Stewart for making all things domestic not only respectable but HIP! I am delighted to see her legacy show up in so many of the next generation.
Happy cooking… or eating, whatever your contribution to that dynamic is.
Until next time,