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A new chapter for Great British Chefs

A new chapter for Great British Chefs

by Ollie Lloyd 02 July 2015

Today is a landmark in our company’s story as late last night we launched a new website that will give us the foundation to showcase thousands of exclusive recipes, videos and features from over 100 of the UK’s top chefs and most highly regarded food writers in a brand new way.

Ollie is the CEO of Great British Chefs.

You are reading this on our new, fully responsive website that we have built completely in-house over the last year. We are pretty excited about what we will now be able to do and it is worth saying that what you see today is only the beginning.

Before I introduce the new site, I want to mark the passing of the old one. Hidden beneath all websites are the fingerprints of developers who laid the foundations that others were able to build upon. So I want to recall the work of Jim Tollan, Iain Galloway, John Bull, Re:Media and a CMS by the name of Kentico that allowed us to get to this point. Later, under the unflappable leadership of our CTO, James Ellis-Jones, and our ever-optimistic senior developer, Martin Malloy, these foundations stood up to our evolving business model and rapidly growing traffic with multiple iterations. Over the last three-and-a-half years, it has served more than 50 million page impressions to 12 million users. Today, however, we find ourselves faced with new challenges and opportunities which require different solutions and technologies.

greatbritishchefs.com v.3.

We began work on our new platform in July 2014 and have spent the last 12 months creating not only a new site with a completely different look and feel but also a completely bespoke back-end to support it. We tested our vision at the end of 2014 with Great Global Chefs and rapidly built a great team of in-house developers and designers around James, Martin and our designer Arjuna Woodrow to help deliver the new Great British Chefs site which you are visiting today. This site has been built with the user in mind – its consumer-focussed experience is best in class and makes the most of the incredible images and content that we have published over the last four years and the wealth of material we will be commissioning moving forward.

The site has been built using the content management system – named Lynicon – our chief technical officer James has created. You can find more information about it here.

The growth of mobile

As with many sites, we now receive a huge number of visits from mobile devices. We have worked hard to ensure we can now deliver our content in the most user friendly way possible, irrespective of the device you are using to access it.

Editorial

Our editorial team has expanded to ten people and, led by Gemma Marti, they have undertaken a Herculean task in the last six months. They have migrated all our recipes to a new template, rebuilt all our how-to-cook articles and videos, polished up all our features and created almost 1,000 recipe collections. They’ve also rewritten almost all our chef profiles and created galleries to ensure people can enjoy our stories in their full glory.

The team is now on a mission to produce even more content that people are going to love, with an objective to publish at least three new chefs, over 100 recipes and 15 how-to-cook articles each month as well as restaurant reviews, behind-the-scenes exclusives and all the latest food trends.

We plan to create an ever-growing stream of editorial that goes far beyond the UK and tells the stories of everything from truffle hunting in the Italian hills to street food in Hong Kong. We are also going to be producing a significant amount of video content, a good example of which is the fabulous video you can watch today of Stanley Tucci, the Italian Consul General in London and Francesco Mazzei or Vivek Singh’s ode to the tandoor oven.

Images that inspire

Everyone seems to be obsessed by taking pictures of food, scrolling through feeds of ‘food porn’ and, even in this digital age, leafing through beautiful cookbooks. We have 21,805 images that we have taken over the last four years and we decided it was time to shout about them. Our team have undertaken the huge task of uploading all these images to our new, bespoke media library so that our community can enjoy them to the full. To celebrate this, we have pulled together a gallery of some of our team’s favourite images.

We have stunning food photography, in our view the best images in the world, so we’ve decided to make them count and to raise the bar on what is known as 'food porn'.

Sorting through the brilliance

We now work with over 100 of Britain’s finest chefs and have almost 3,000 of their recipes. As the content has grown so has the challenge of giving people an easy way to find the recipe they want. To this end, we have introduced filters directly into our recipe collections and search functions to help users find the particular item they are looking for, whether it’s an ingredient, a recipe, a chef, a restaurant or a technique.

New features and global aspirations

Over the coming months, the site is going to evolve rapidly. We have new features that will be added soon, like restaurant maps, photo stories and the creation of a comments module to allow people to share ideas and tweaks to recipes. We will continue to improve the site’s speed and further optimise the user journey across all devices based on the feedback we receive. And we will also integrate new international platforms, like Great Italian Chefs, which is launching in the autumn.

We would love to know what you think of the new site and how we can improve it. If you do have any comments, either complete our survey or drop me an email at CEO@greatbritishchefs.com.

 
 

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