Earlier this week the New York Times published its biweekly Here’s-the-Latest-Industry-TikTok-is-Upending piece. A few weeks ago, it was how MovieTok is changing film criticism. This week, it’s how TikTok creators with little or no professional cooking experience, but who have millions of followers, are getting deals to publish their own cookbook.
The focus of the piece is B. Ryan Hollis, a creator with 10.2 million followers on TikTok, who’s been posting cooking videos since 2020. According to the Times, just three years ago, “Hollis was an unemployed musician in Wyoming who had never baked anything outside a home-economics class, much less written a recipe.” Now he has the bestselling cookbook in the country.
Much of the story focuses on how Hollis and other creators have used their social media popularity to acquire book deals. This isn’t exactly news. The TikTok-to-book-deal pipeline has proliferated for several years, and it was only a matter of time before it affected the cookbook industry.
But in the last few paragraphs, Hollis touches on a common anxiety in the oft-sanctimonious world of gatekeeping. In response presumably to a question about how more and more creators with little to no cooking experience are getting cookbook deals, Hollis says that he’s worried about how that could impact his own cookbooks. …