Influencing with Purpose: Scotty Scott of Cook Drank Eat
Social media influencers are everywhere. However, not all influencers were made equally. Some use their platforms for more than just advertising themselves. This issue’s Influencing with Purpose focuses on Scotty Scott, the culinary genius behind the popular blog Cook Drank Eat, and author of Fix Me a Plate: Traditional and New School Soul Food Recipes.
Madeworthy: You recently made the jump from Instagram foodie and pop-up caterer to cookbook author with the publication of Fix Me a Plate. (Congrats, btw!) Can you tell us a little about the transition from Instagram star to author?
Scotty Scott: Well apparently, I was doing it all wrong. I talked to a couple other authors, and apparently the usual process is one year-ish of planning and proposing the book idea and then one year of recipe testing, writing, and photography. In my case, the publisher reached out to me and asked me and… not fully knowing what I was getting myself into, I agreed to turn the book around in 10 months. It was fairly daunting, but all in all, it was a very enjoyable experience, especially the research…
MW: Your recipes and Instagram videos speak of a deep and long-lasting love affair with food, yet you went to law school, presumably wanting to be a lawyer. Tell us a little about how the law’s loss is cooking’s gain.
SS: My undergraduate degree is in psychology with a minor in political science. After graduating, I knew I was not interested in psychology enough to get a masters or PhD and thought my employment opportunities would be limited with that bachelor’s degree. I decided to go to law school primarily out of a desire to make more money but also to learn about law and business.
MW: Food is inextricably tied to memory, as your book proves. What is your first real food memory?
SS: It’s funny that you say that because in sitting down to write the book, I started going through old recipes my mother used to make in my mind. Some of the recipes I’d totally forgotten about until I sat down and started thinking about old family dinners. I remember one discussion vividly… a debate between my mother and uncle as to how many eggs belonged in the mac and cheese. My mother said five, my uncle six to eight. Mine uses two to three.
MW: Your older boy is your sous chef in a lot of your Instagram videos, and you’re a natural teacher. Did your family let you help in the kitchen?
SS: Absolutely, that is where my passion for cooking began. My parents were slightly older for that time when they had me (around 35), so most of my cousins were much older than me. With a sister 14 years older as well, I was raised around a lot of adults. Instead of playing by myself, many times I would be hanging out in the kitchen, soaking up tips and tricks and helping out anytime they would let me.
MW: You have a new baby in the house, as well as your amazing sous chef. Are you making baby food?
SS: Absolutely. I been dabbling a little bit with the basics – steamed carrots, peas, and bananas mixed with breast milk – but I’ll be getting a little more adventurous once he’s eating more than he’s leaving on the highchair. I’m thinking maybe some sous vide meals.
MW: This issue of Madeworthy is our traditional food, holidays, and celebrations issue. What’s your go-to dish to take to a holiday party?
SS: Hands down, sweet potato pie. Everyone loves pie. It’s also a good dish that travels well even if made the night before, as I’m very finnicky about when people consume my food. I also like introducing those that may not have had sweet potato pie to one of my favorite desserts.
MW: Fix Me a Plate is full of foods that were passed down to you by your family. What recipe or food loves do you hope to pass down to your children?
SS: Ultimately, I just want them to be able to enjoy the process. Time doesn’t always permit during the week, but on weekends and holidays, the preparation of food was always the focal point of family get-togethers.
MW: What do you think the Fort Worth food scene needs and is currently missing?
SS: Just more variety. I know several cuisines that have taken off in other cities (Vietnamese bakery, Korean barbecue, Ethiopian) that haven’t seemed to get a foothold in the city center. You can find them on the outskirts, but I don’t think people embrace foods outside of Tex-Mex and barbecue in the downtown area.
MW: What’s next for you? Will we get another cookbook? (And do you need recipe testers?)
SS: I’m putting together a proposal for a new cookbook. As my last cookbook was written during COVID, I’m sure my partner would welcome someone else sampling the food this time around. I’m also looking into doing a little bit of television. I never really saw myself as a TV personality, but I’ve got mouths to feed.
MW: What’s one piece of advice for aspiring food bloggers/cookbook authors?
SS: For food bloggers, focus on your website. That is your home base and your baby, and if done correctly, can sustain you. Without your home base, you can find yourself at the mercy of social media trends… With a strong website, people will find you and then go to [your social media]. For cookbook authors, think of what inspires you in the kitchen. Having a theme makes the writing much easier.
It’s time for our Lightning Round! Give us the names of your Fort Worth favorites:
- Coffee shop – Cherry Coffee Shop
- Kid-friendly restaurant – Anywhere with outdoor space where they can scream
- Breakfast/brunch restaurant – Paris Coffee Shop
- Bartender and/or cocktail – I forget the name but it’s a whisky drink at Thompson’s
- Sweet treat – Swiss Pastry Shop
- Hamburger joint – Rodeo Goat or Gusto’s
- Barbecue – Brix
- Mexican restaurant – Tinie’s
- Date night – I’m not familiar with this concept 😉
- Place to hang out with friends – Woodshed or Twilight Lounge
- Place to relax and recharge – the Modern
- Museum or art gallery – the Modern
- Local artist and/or musician – Rambo Elliot
- Yearly event or festival – I haven’t been yet, but I’ve been wanting to check out The Main Table