Cooking Videos: A Memorable Recipe

Who can forget grandma’s cookies, or mom’s sweet-bread twists? We share meals with loved ones our whole lives and this video project preserves both the treasured recipes and the sights and sounds of the person who made it.

The goal of a recipe video is to follow a friend or family member as he or she makes a favorite recipe — capturing the process of preparing the food and the personality of the person making it.

The recipe is the script. Shoot each step in order as it is performed. As a bonus feature, I like to include an interview of the chef that focuses on the history of the dish, who taught it to him or her and the recipe’s place in the history of the family or circle of friends.

Here is the ‘recipe’ for the video:

  • Welcome to the kitchen – Introduce the recipe
  • List the required ingredients
    • Include a title screen listing the ingredients
  • Prepare the food step-by-step
    • Include close-ups of preparations
    • Explain special tools/techniques
  • ‘Glamour Shot’ of finished dish
  • Interview with Chef

With careful planning you can edit this project in the camera by shooting everything in the exact order you want to show it – including titles and credits. But this is a project that will really benefit from editing. If you plan to edit you can shoot extra close-ups on the food preparations and select the best angles and moments to demonstrate the process.


If your subject isn’t comfortable talking on camera, have a ‘side-kick’ in the kitchen. This person can ask questions about what is happening and the chef will be more comfortable talking with another person rather than performing for the camera.

A grandparent teaching a grandchild adds a wonderful dimension to the project.

Get creative with your titles. Spell them out in cookie dough on the counter, write them on the kitchen chalk board or write them in frosting on a cake. Use your imagination and have fun.

Allow 4-5 hours to shoot and make sure your chef knows that it is going to take longer to prepare the recipe when it is being filmed.

Prepare and measure as many ingredients as possible before you start. You only need to peel one potato for everone to understand the process. Enlist helpers to peel the remaining 20 and the chef will love you.

Use a wireless microphone to record audio. If you must use the camera mike, get in close and have your chef speak loudly.

Recipe videos make great gifts. You can buy cases and labels online, or at your local computer store. Hand written recipe cards in the case are a perfect final touch!

Best of luck with your Reel History project!