Ali Rosen cut her teeth in news as an on-camera reporter at NY1, but she long harbored a desire to work in the food world. And so she took a job with the Daily Meal, which was just starting to shoot video, and got to work building content on food personalities from around the country. “It was a fun place to be,” she says of her time there. “I’m really excited about what they’re doing.” But she had bigger plans, and so she left to launch Potluck Video, where she’s attempting to make inroads into the relatively unexplored world of food-related web video.
“I think video online is a growing space, and I wanted to have more control about what I was doing,” Rosen explains. “It’s a really exciting time to be doing content online. In the food space, written and video content have been very divorced. You have magazines, and you have cooking shows.” Rosen also found that most content in the video space were either demos or crazy food-related feats — like guys eating 300 chili peppers in one sitting. But that didn’t even scratch the surface of her own interests: “I’m really interested in the people behind food, and I think that’s missing,” she says.
With Potluck Video, she wanted to dig in. “Our tagline is ‘Bringing everything to the table,'” she explains, and that meant talking to people from all over the food and beverage industry about everything from their inspiration to memories in the kitchen how to sear fish. She created a site that releases five videos a week, and then she began building partnerships with more traditional content providers like People.com. “They’re all trying to build audiences with video done inexpensively,” she explains. “They usually have to hire a freelancer that charges an arm and a leg — we can charge a lot less because we share it with a lot of people.”
Now she’s getting ready to take the next step in her company’s development: She’ll package a number of these videos together for a weekly news-like show debuting on NYCTV tomorrow night at 9:30 p.m. “We’re going back to that idea of a potluck; we’ll interview chefs, restaurateurs, and producers,” she explains. “You get a taste of everything in three- to five-minute bites.” She’s collecting stories from around NYC, mixing familiar faces with people flying under the radar.
Look in particular, she says, for the series called Inspired Recipes, which is near and dear to her heart. “I talk to chefs about their inspiration, and they also cook a recipe based on that story,” she explains. “With Christina Tosi, you can understand why she became a baker — her mother and grandmother baked all the time, and they would throw cereal into baked goods when she was young because the cereal was stale and they didn’t want to waste it. Alex Guarnaschelli’s mom came and cooked with her. Their dynamic is relatable for anyone who has a mom that they’re close to.”
From here, Rosen hopes to keep growing her brand. “I love the online landscape,” she says. “I look forward to growing there. I still feel the same way I felt on my first day at the Daily Meal: Oh my god, I get to make videos about food all day long. As long as I get to do that, I’m happy as a clam.”
Catch her show tomorrow night on NYCTV at 9:30 p.m.