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20 Tastemaking Food Influencers To Follow

Madisyn MacMillan
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May 17, 2024
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Dernière mise à jour le
pink and orange food influencer blog header

Do you live by a ‘phone eats first’ mentality? Meaning you must take a photo of your meal to share on social media before taking a bite? Pre-social media, this take would have been unfathomable, but with the constant rise in popularity of food industry content on social media and specifically food influencers, it’s very much become a reality. 

In this blog, we dig into: 

  • What is a food influencer?
  • How food influencers affect what we eat.
  • Top food influencers on Instagram.
  • Top food influencers on TikTok.
  • How to find food influencers.

What Is a Food Influencer?

A food influencer is a person who shares the food they are eating or making on social media, either through video or static images. There are three main types of food influencers. 

  1. Home Cooks: This type of food influencer typically shares recipes and makes food from the comfort of their home, 
  2. Reviewers: This type of food influencer usually shares content and food from local restaurants and establishments with a solid review of whether or not it’s a place you should go. 
  3. Mukbangers: This type of food influencer is less about reviewing the actual food and more about the amount of food they can eat and the sounds they make while eating it (think ASMR). 

Not all food influencers will necessarily fit into one of these three categories. Overall, all types of food influencers are popular (44% of Gen Z follow food influencers) because they usually serve as inspiration to users who are looking to broaden their tastebuds or try something new — no matter your comfort level in the kitchen, there's a food influencer for everyone.

How Food Influencers Affect What We Eat

As previously alluded to, food influencers significantly impact what and how we eat. They do this in different ways, but most commonly through creating or participating in food trends and working in partnership with food brands. Like any type of influencer, food influencers also have a certain level of relatability and trust with their audience, which means that audiences will be more prone to try (or not try) the food they recommend. 

Lastly and possibly most importantly, food influencers impact what we eat by making things accessible. By taking the time to demonstrate how to create, how to eat or where to go for different types of food, cooking and eating becomes easier and more possible than ever. 

Top Instagram Food Influencers

Instagram is one of the most popular channels for food influencers to reside. The platform’s flexibility allows influencers to seamlessly post food content on their Stories and to their feed in the form of photo, video or a combination of both. Some of the most popular Instagram food influencers include:

Betal Tunc (@turkuazkitchen)

  • Engagement rate: 5.28% 
  • Followers: 10.3M

Betal Tunc is one of the most popular food creators on Instagram. Her content is not only aesthetically pleasing but also extremely informative. Betal uses her feed to share flavorful recipes from her own cookbook, giving followers a step-by-step in the video and in the caption of exactly how to recreate the delectable dish. While her feed is reserved strictly for food, Betal uses her stories to give her 10.3 million followers a little insight into the behind-the-scenes and her life. 

hand stirring ingredients in mixing bowl
Image credit: @turkuazkitchen

Alexis Nikole (@blackforager)

  • Engagement rate: 4.28%
  • Followers: 1.7M 

Alexis Nikole has built an inspiring platform to share knowledge on foraging, unique ingredients and vegan recipes. Her content ranges from information on ingredients not common to everyday folk to how to use those ingredients in your next meal. 

Alexis’ Instagram strategy stands out by infusing humor and historical context into videos. Her infectious personality, coupled with her expertise, keeps her 1.7 million followers constantly coming back for more.

woman wearing pink houdstooth sweater with fuzzy sleeves outdoors foraging
Image credit: @blackforager

Yumna (@feelgoodfoodie)

  • Engagement rate: 3.29%
  • Followers: 4.6M 

Feel Good Foodie, or Yumna, is an influencer who dedicates her platform to sharing ‘healthy-ish’ recipes, showcasing how eating healthy can still be filling and delicious. She uses her feed to share mouthwatering photos and videos of recipes from her cookbook. She also shares glimpses of her family and life in her feed, helping her 4.6 million followers feel right at home. This relatable approach helps build a community among her brand and audience, who will return to see what’s she’s cooking and follow along with her day-to-day life.

bowl of hummus with olive oil, pita bread, pomegranate seeds and parsley
Image credit: @feelgoodfoodie

Derek Wolf (@overthefirecooking)

  • Engagement rate: 3.49%
  • Followers: 3.1M

Derek Wolf is a self-proclaimed ‘fire cooking enthusiast’. Because of this, his feed is jam-packed with some of the most delicious BBQ and meat dishes you will ever see. Derek uses his platform to launch cookbooks, sauces and more under his brand FYR. 

What sets Derek apart? Aside from his unique method of cooking that hooks viewers in (whether they plan to cook over fire themselves or not), you will always find him in his comments, interacting with his 3.1 million followers. 

cheeseburger slider dripping with sauce
Image credit: @overthefirecooking

Hajar Larbah (@moribyan)

  • Engagement rate: 3.77% 
  • Followers: 2.2M

Hajar Larbah has created a cozy and delicious corner of Instagram. Her content is a balanced mix of her own recipes, her take on trending food items and exciting series related to events like Ramadan that connect with those who celebrate, and even users who just want to learn more about different cultures. 

One of the most popular pieces of content amongst her 2.2 million followers is her ‘copycat’ series, where she creates at-home versions of the most popular fast food items. This type of content is a great way to remain relatable to audiences by connecting over easy comfort food that many users have grown up eating and loving — especially with her healthy twist.

garlic bread bagel stuffed with cream cheese
Image credit: @moribyan

Claire Saffitz (@csaffitz)

  • Engagement rate: 2.18%
  • Followers: 1M

Claire Saffitz rose to popularity through her popular series on the Bon Appetit YouTube channel called “Gourmet Makes.” In this series, Claire would recreate the most popular treats like Oreos, but make it ‘gourmet.’

While she still shares ‘gourmet makes’ style content on her Instagram with her 1 million followers, she also mixes in recipes from her cookbook, Dessert Person, reviews and collaborations with other food influencers who keep coming back for her talent, tips and food collaborators.  

claire saffitz pouring olive oil on pizza in front of outdoor stone fire oven
Image credit: @csaffitz

Josh Elkin (@thejoshelkin)

  • Engagement rate: 1.94%
  • Followers: 1.1M 

Josh Elkin is known for creating decadent and indulgent food content for his 1.1 million followers, which he initially did with Epic Meal Time over 10 years ago. His Instagram profile is filled with recipes, food inspiration and snippets from his podcast. 

While his feed is mainly dedicated to his extravagant recipes and ingredients, he also uses his platform to share interesting clips from his podcast ‘Full Discourse,” where he chats with other members of the internet food community to get their take on the industry. This is a great way to incorporate entertainment marketing, while drawing users in with short entertaining clips and encouraging them to check out his podcast. 

person putting chicken sausage into seasoned bun
Image credit: @thejoshelkin

Meghna Kamdar (@meghnasfoodmagic)

  • Engagement rate: 1.12% 
  • Followers: 2.5M

Meghna Kamdar, or Meghna’s Food Magic, is a banker turned baker with over 2.5 million followers on Instagram. Her content radiates positivity and of course, delicious-looking food, with a particular focus on education around Indian dishes and ingredients. 

What makes Meghna’s community so special is the time she takes to interact with her followers on all of her posts, showing how much their support means to her. This community-based marketing approach helps users feel more invested in her profile, which in turn boosts engagement rates.   

woman in blue shirt holding owl of aamras
Image credit: @meghnasfoodmagic

Dave Chang (@davidchang

  • Engagement rate: 1.03%
  • Followers: 1.8M 

David Chang is the founder of the Momofuku Restaurant group, a podcaster and television personality with over 1.8 million followers. Unlike most food influencers who dedicate most of their feed to recipes and food, David also uses his feed to promote new episodes of his latest podcasts, clips with other celebrities and chefs and new product releases from his brands. 

This behind-the-scenes approach on Instagram gives Chang’s audience useful tips on how to use Momofuku products and helps foster a sense of inclusivity to the brand — and the man behind it. 

david chang wearing blue apron talking about food in kitchen
Image credit: @davidchang

Binging with Babish (@bingingwithbabish)

  • Engagement rate: 0.82%
  • Followers: 1.1M 

Binging with Babish originally started as a popular food YouTube channel before moving to Instagram to share more short-form content. While most content is focused on BWB founder Andrew Rea and his recipes or reviews, there is also a mix of other Babish Culinary Universe members to keep things exciting and fresh for their 1.1 million followers. 

Babish shares recipes using common ingredients — often partnering with brands, to give viewers an idea of how to incorporate common items on local grocery shelves. Among this content, he always shares recipes and tips for creating slightly more ambitious dishes, making his content mix perfect for a variety of skill-levels.

tortilla wrap stuffed with cheese with a side of onion rings
Image credit: @bingingwithbabish

Top TikTok Food Influencers

Food influencers are widely successful on TikTok because of the popularity of all different types of food content,, from recipes to taste test videos. The bite-sized (no pun intended) length of most TikTok videos is perfect for those looking to satisfy any craving. Here are some of the most popular food influencers on TikTok: 

Men With The Pot (@menwiththepot)

  • Followers: 12.9M 

Men With The Pot is a mouthwatering TikTok account that focuses on creating feasts and ‘making you hungry.’ Their simple, nature-focused format and delicious meals — almost exclusively prepared outside — leave their 12.9 million followers in awe, with most of their videos reaching hundreds of thousands of views. 

Through sound and visually appealing cinematography, Men With The Pot effectively leverage TikTok’s video sharing strengths to engage viewers and encourage them to watch, like and share their immersive culinary adventures.

ingredients in wooden bowl outdoors
Image credit: @menwiththepot

Emily Mariko (@emilymariko)

  • Followers: 12.6M

Emily Mariko quickly rose to TikTok fame after posting her viral ‘salmon bowl’ recipe, but that fame was not fleeting. Users enjoy the way Emily focuses so closely on her food, often not even speaking in her videos so the food can have the floor. As time passes, Emily has slowly started to open up to her 12.6 million followers by showing little moments of her life amongst the food content. 

Mariko’s strategy is notable for its consistent aesthetic, aspirational setting and simple ideas, which inspire users to try new recipes while soaking in her relaxing style of video. 

emily mariko prepping salmon
Image credit: @emilymariko

Nara Smith (@naraazizasmith)

  • Followers: 5.9M

Nara Smith is constantly going viral due to the lengths she goes to create amazing food for her family, making almost anything and everything from scratch. Nara also gives her 6.4 million TikTok followers a glimpse into her life, regularly showcasing her family and her routines alongside her cooking and baking content, which adds a layer of relatability to her content. 

Over time, Smith has opened up and responded to user’s comments, humanizing her social media presence to offer a perfectly balanced blend of aspiration and approachability.

nara smith in polka dot shirt and blouse with wooden bowl
Image credit: @naraazizasmith

Joshua Weissman (@flakeysalt)

  • Followers: 7M

Joshua Weissman is a food influencer with 7 million followers who shares a wide range of short-form informative content. Not only does he share great recipes, but he also takes time to inform users about basic cooking skills, offers reviews and alternatives and, most excitingly, collaborates with celebrities who help him cook and try his food. 

Another way Weissman’s TikTok strategy stands out is by using high-quality, snappy dynamic videos that highlight his knife skills, plating details and more. This is useful for home cooks that are looking to soak up his knowledge and get a close-up look at the sometimes intricate techniques used in meal prep and cooking.

chef holding up onion and large kitchen knife
Image credit: @flakeysalt

Alejandra Tapia (@nanajoe19)

  • Followers: 6.9M

Alejandra Tapia is best known for her “Let’s pack today’s lunchbox for….” series on TikTok, where she packs extravagant and delicious meals for her family and friends. Aside from that, she also posts in-depth recipes and food reviews for her followers using her platform to give her 6.9 million followers a look into her personal life. 

Tapia’s TikTok strategy uses a blend of ariel shots, so viewers get a great vantage point of what the process of cooking looks like, along with the dish itself. Over time, she’s started to incorporate more ‘slice of life’ content focusing on her day-to-day and family, which helps build a connection with her audience — who’s already hooked on her tasty recipes.

aerial view of woman cutting up tomato
Image credit: @nanajoe19

Karissa Dumbacher (@karissaeats)

  • Followers: 3.3M

Karissa Eats gained popularity on TikTok for her eating a specific type of food for a day type content. She prioritizes travel and trying unique kinds of food that only some know about while also trying some of the most trendy and popular foods in NYC as recommended by her 3.3 million followers. 

Karissa initially shared ‘what I eat in a day as a cruise ship singer’, which was a great way to pique user’s interest by exposing them to an industry they might be unfamiliar with — in addition to this, Karissa’s known for travelling often and exposing her followers with her food choices abroad, perfect to capture users interested in the travel industry, too.

tea being poured over churro
Image credit: @karissaeats

Tiffany Chen (@tiffycooks)

  • Followers: 3.3M

Tiffy dedicates her platform to creating amazing food that is ‘better than takeout.’ Her short-form videos are informative, fun and accessible for most home cooks. She also uses her platform with 3.3 million followers to cook her family their specific cravings with a twist. Her success on TikTok has led her to launch her own brand, Kai Dong, which translates to ‘Let’s Eat!’ in English from Mandarin Chinese. 

The magic of Tiffy’s TikTok presence is found in how re-creatable her recipes and content are, making it a perfect, practical follow for anyone who likes — or needs — to cook. Her use of trending sounds, clear instructions and relatability helps her connect with a broad audience, boosting her reach and engagement.

woman with pot of teokbokki holding up cheesy rice cake
Image credit: @tiffycooks

The Salad Lab (@thesaladlab)

  • Followers: 2.6M

Darlene Schijver, or The Salad Lab is a food influencer whose account is dedicated to creating delicious salads. There is a nice mix of content focused on replicating recipes from her cookbook and also recreating notable and famous celebrity salads to see if they live up to the hype. Darlene’s hyper-specific content and consistent ‘birds eye view’ of how she assembles salads is perfect for her 2.6 million followers who are eager to add excitement to what can sometimes be considered a boring meal.

Overall, her consistent branding, engaging presentation and interaction with her audience help foster a loyal following and strong community engagement.

aerial image of kentucky derby salad
Image credit: @thesaladlab

Meredith Hayden (@wishbonekitchen)

  • Followers: 2.2M 

Meredith Hayden originally became a popular food influencer for showcasing the days of her life as a private chef in New York. Since then, she has dedicated her platform to creating accessible, tasty recipes, celebrity collaborations and tips to become an amazing host or hostess for your lucky guests. 

Her consistent posting schedule, high-quality visuals and authentic personality resonate with viewers, driving high engagement and follower growth.

person spooning tomato sauce over roasted eggplant
Image credit: @wishbonekitchen

Hailee Catalano (@haileecatalano)

  • Followers: 1.8M 

Hailee Catalano is a food influencer who cooks from the heart. She often recreates meals she ate growing up with an elevated twist, and shows her 1.8 million followers how to put the ‘comfort’ in comfort food. While the majority of her content is focused on food, she also uses her platform to share delicious cocktail recipes and pairings with the food she is making. 

Catalono’s content strategy is impactful because she shares easy-to-follow, visually appealing recipes that cater to a wide audience, including those with dietary restrictions. Her upbeat personality, creative presentation and use of TikTok’s trending sounds and challenges enhance viewer engagement and keep her content fresh and relevant.

person picking up pot roast with stainless steel tongs
Image credit: @haileecatalano

Find Food Influencers and Serve up Success With Dash Hudson

Brands in the food industry can reap many benefits from partnering with food influencers. But how do you find the right one? Dash Hudson offers a suite of tools to help brands source the right influencer, like our Influencer Marketing Measurement tool that helps you identify ROI and earned media value from your influencer partnerships. 

Social teams can also stay in tune with their audience, whether through Social Listening or Dashboards. Social Listening lets food brands tune into who is already talking about them and how they’re saying it, plus which other food trends they’re talking about most on social. With Dashboards, brands can source UGC to find food creators who are already actively engaging with their brand. 

Once you’ve solidified your partnership, tools like Social Analytics and Monitoring, and Community can be used to measure results, and most importantly, the reception from your audience.  

FAQs 

How are food influencers changing the restaurant world? 

Food influencers are changing the restaurant industry in many different ways, both positively and negatively. From a positive perspective, food influencers are using their platform to showcase many different kinds of restaurants in various locations that may have never had the opportunity to have that type of exposure before. From a negative perspective, food influencers can lead to an influx in traffic that the restaurant isn’t prepared for, or post about a bad experience, stopping people from going there without ever trying it themselves. 

Overall, food influencers have a more positive impact on the restaurant industry than negative. 

Who are the top food influencers?

With over 17 million followers, Gordon Ramsey (@gordongram) is seen as one of the top food influencers. 

How do you approach food influencers?

Like any influencer, it’s important to approach food influencers with genuine interest and knowledge about what they do. As a brand, if you’re looking to partner with a specific influencer, ensure you do your research to make sure your brand and the influencer have aligning values and would make a good pair. Be sure to mention specific things they do in their content that you like, made you notice them and made you want to collaborate. 

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