Delia Smith is the UK’s most successful cookery writer. Having spent 40 years devising recipes rarely matched in their ability to teach people to cook, in 2012 Delia decided it was time for an online presence that would continue her incredible legacy. The task of devising an online series carried huge responsibility. Create a watchable learning structure that all ages could tap into and follow, ensure all videos and their web presence matched the accuracy and integrity of Delia’s recipes, make the steps super clear and simple, and make the food demonstrated look absolutely delicious. Delia turned to Hotpot Pictures because of our unique knowledge of mainstream food programming and Director Graham Sherrington’s more recent work as lead Director on the Waitrose Delia and Heston campaign. The task carried huge responsibility and demanded a solid production process.
This production was very much Delia’s vision and she had a very clear idea of how clean and simple the recipe steps shown had to be. No frills, no overly visual references – this was stripped down education and it had to be clear and practical. With Delia’s help, Hotpot produced a pilot on a small tabletop set and worked to Delia’s script for how to bake a simple sponge cake. When edited together with some basic graphics, the film proved so incredibly effective (on audiences ranging from 9 to 90 years old) that Delia Online immediately commissioned a series of eight to be launched in conjunction with Delia’s Cakes in the summer of 2012. The format was devised specifically to teach; Hotpot production values were a key part in ensuring the films remained watchable, repeatable and shareable, so people could tap into them any time they wanted to in order to learn the most basic of cooking methods. Subsequent series were achieved by devising a block shooting structure, allowing a small crew and production team to deliver high volume content, with commercials production values, on a much smaller budget.
So much interest was generated throughout the airing of the Cookery School’s first series that a second series was immediately commissioned in the summer of 2012. Term 2, as it became known, was based around Delia’s How to Cook books. Shortly afterwards, Waitrose became the main brand sponsor, securing a further four series to be supplied exclusively by Hotpot Pictures through to 2015. We currently produce around twenty five films a year for Delia Online with Waitrose, released as various themed series on their respective websites. The films continue to be incredibly well received by online viewers worldwide.