How do you make a cooking show that works for everyone, whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a top chef?
That’s the question that eko’s new original cooking show Cook Together was created to answer, by pairing celebrity chefs and their favorite recipes with an unprecedented level of viewer customization.
During the show, viewers can tweak ingredients, increase portion sizes and get extra help and advice depending on their skill level.
The result is a completely individualized cooking experience depending on how much assistance you need. If you’re confident with ingredient prep and basic cooking skills, you might breeze through a recipe in 15 minutes. If you’re the kind of person who wants to learn how to dice an onion like a pro, you could easily spend an hour on the same recipe and pick up a host of new culinary skills along the way.
Eko Producer and Creative Director Marli Scharlin, who has supervised production of a range of fiction and non-fiction interactive experiences, said designing Cook Together is one of the most technically challenging projects to date.
“To plan out interactive experiences, we build branching narrative trees that plot the possible paths of the user and ensure every choice is accounted for,” Marli said.
“Taking a recipe, which already has a bunch of steps, and giving the user multiple options to customize, resulted in some of the most dense and elaborate tree structures I’ve ever worked with.”
“One of the big differences with Cook Together from other interactive shows I’ve worked on is rather than ensuring each branch results in a compelling emotional story, the goal is to ensure each combination results in a delicious meal,” Marli said.
“There’s a science to achieving that and getting to work with some of the best chefs in the business made that both fun and achievable.”
What do we hope to learn from
From a data and analytics perspective, the show will provide an opportunity to better understand how users engage with cooking shows and interactive media in general. How much detail do viewers actually want? How much time do they need at each step of the recipe?
Unlike traditional web video players, which track total video views, with eko’s player it’s possible to track the number of views on each of the “nodes” of footage – the individual paths on the narrative tree. This can quickly give a picture of how popular different features are and which features should be developed further.
“We’re expecting to see two clear styles of play through in the experience: people who can’t get enough ‘pro tips’ and take their time, getting every ingredient perfect, and those more experienced chefs who are looking for food inspiration, clicking through quickly without pausing for too much detail,” said Amiel Shapiro, eko’s VP of Data and Insights.”
“Understanding these styles and how popular each is will help us build even more interactivity into the experience, to ensure different methods are catered for. Our hope is to build a cooking show that is uniquely adaptive for every kitchen, every chef and every type of meal.”
“Just like we want our viewers to make the right choices for them, we want to make great choices when we design our experiences.”
New Cook Together recipes will be rolling out all summer of 2019. Try the latest recipes here.