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Goldbelly — the food e-commerce platform that delivers fully cooked meals as well as meal kits nationwide from more than 1,000 restaurants — is launching video platform Goldbelly TV on its website on Tuesday.
The company also announced that veteran TV producer Art Edwards (co-creator of Cake Boss) has joined Goldbelly, overseeing new production arm Goldbelly Studios. Edwards’ producing credits include a slew of Food Network and TLC shows such as Heat Seekers, Kitchen Boss, Ultimate Recipe Showdown and Bakers vs. Fakers.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Goldbelly CEO and co-founder Joe Ariel asserts that what will make its new video content stand out in the marketplace is that, unlike traditional TV offerings, users of the platform will be able to readily access the food seen on screens.
“With [typical] food programming, you watch these shows and you want the stuff but you can’t get it. There’s a disconnect for anyone who views that food content. I would always vent about that,” says Ariel. By contrast, with Goldbelly’s new video offerings, customers can order prepared meals and watch content from the restaurants they enjoy, or take it a step further and select food kits and cook along with chefs. “We want to be Food Network 2.0,” Ariel says.
“You can really consume the content twice,” Ariel continues. “You can consume it with your eyes and with your belly — and that has never been done before. We’re connecting those dots so that people can watch these amazing stories and also taste them. It elevates the whole experience. You can access what you’re watching.”
For his part, Edwards, the co-founder of Cakehouse Media (with Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro), says that he’s approaching food content at Goldbelly quite differently than when he worked in cable TV. “I would bring in talent and they [cable executives] were very specific on the type of person that they wanted,” he says. “It wasn’t always the best cook or the most innovative and experienced chef. It was a pretty narrow type of person they were looking for, people who are interesting or funny or might drop their cake, and that was frustrating — having access to the greatest chefs in the world but not being able to put them on television.”
Goldbelly TV’s shoots take place in restaurants, in chefs’ home kitchens and in a studio kitchen in Manhattan. Content will include both on-demand and live-stream videos. “What’s been so refreshing is the choices we’re making editing our videos,” says Edwards. “There are things I would never get away with putting on Food Network. We put in mistakes. We put in when people say things that are off-color and are really revealing about their personalities. We’re free to do whatever we want to.”
Most of the videos will run about three minutes. “You’ll have the chefs in our studio kitchen for the most part and you’ll see how they prepare their ingredients. They’ll tell their stories. We’ll also visit the restaurant and see how the food is made kind of in its normal environment. There are chef interviews. It’s part travelogue, part kitchen how-to, part food beauty shots. We’re capturing all elements of the traditional food genres in three minutes,” Edwards says.
Goldbelly’s move into content production comes after the company has experienced rapid recent growth. Founded in 2013, Goldbelly, according to Ariel, has seen sales double in the last 18 months, partly due to people being stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. (In May, Goldbelly secured $100 million in new funding, while in early November, DoorDash announced that it was adding national delivery to its offerings in what seems to be a direct challenge to the company.)
“In the last two years, a lot has changed in the world,” Ariel says. “Whenever there’s a crisis, you’re ready to step out of your day-to-day pattern in some ways and for us [consumers] may have heard about Goldbelly — ‘Oh, I can get this food in a box shipped to me.’ They were willing to give it a shot. We got millions of new customers.” For some of those customers, the appeal was ordering from restaurants in cities they loved and had visited but were prevented from traveling to due to pandemic health concerns and restrictions. “[Getting] food shipped to you from places you may have grown up with, places you may have traveled to, that may have deeper meaning,” Ariel says.
He adds that just in the way that Goldbelly created a national e-commerce platform for restaurants across the country, it is now offering a new level of reach to its participating chefs. “These are chefs and restaurants who don’t have access to the airwaves. Now with Art [Edwards] and his background and the team — they’ve produced the top shows on TV — and to be able to access that level of content is something totally transformative and empowering to chefs and restaurants all across the country,” Ariel says.
Goldbelly had previously live-streamed some cooking shows on its website, and Edwards had worked with the company on producing a series of videos for YouTube called The Goldbelly Show a few years ago. “It had been relatively low-budget but a big success, like 20 million-plus views on YouTube,” Ariel says.
Among the chefs whose meal kits are available on Goldbelly are Daniel Boulud, Nancy Silverton, Thomas Keller, José Andrés, Marcus Samuelsson and David Chang.
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