A day in the life of Molly Baz, the former Bon Appétit star whose Recipe Club on Patreon has accrued thousands of paying subscribers in its first month
- Molly Baz, the former Bon Appétit star, is now facing many of the challenges faced by small business owners in her pursuits as an entrepreneur.
- In addition to creating new content, she also manages every aspect of her business, including a cookbook coming out this spring, a Recipe Club Patreon that has accrued thousands of paying subscribers, and a line of ever-changing merchandise, among others.
- She also manages her social media, writes her own newsletter copy, and styles her own food, all jobs that would be distributed across a team at a larger company.
- To find time for everything, Baz uses the Reminders app on her iPhone, makes physical and mental lists, writes out daily schedules, and is in constant contact with her manager.
- Below, the chef and entrepreneur shared what a typical day looks like in her fast-moving world.
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On a sunny Los Angeles afternoon, Molly Baz was getting ready to go live on Instagram with fellow Bon Appétit alumna Carla Lalli Music when disaster struck: Baz had mounted her iPhone a bit too high, cutting her work station out of the shot.
"Grip!" she called out, turning her head toward her living room to get the attention of her husband, Willett. In film and TV production, the "grip" is in charge of rigging lights and cameras. "Grip Willett!"
"We've got the husbands," replied Music, as their off-camera spouses jostled the cameras into position.
Baz and Music then launched into their latest in a series of collaborative Instagram Lives, called You Got Snack'd, in which the two send each other mystery ingredients using a grocery-delivery service, then film the ensuing hijinks as they transform the surprise foodstuffs into a meal and a cocktail.
An hour later, Baz had turned a bag of secrets into mortadella-stuffed fried olives with spicy mayo and a Gibson martini.
Since leaving Bon Appétit, Baz has made a habit of coaxing structure out of chaos. She has a cookbook coming out this spring, a Recipe Club Patreon that has accrued thousands of paying subscribers, and a line of ever-changing merchandise, among other projects still in the works.
Though she begins this new chapter with a built-in fan base, Baz has still had to navigate many of the same challenges of early-stage entrepreneurs. She is a recipe-developer by trade, but she also runs her social media, writes her own newsletters, styles her own food, and runs her own business.
Without a dedicated staff, she's also had to lean on her family for help: Her husband Willett helps with creative direction and production, while her sister-in-law helps recipe-test, her mother copy-edits her newsletters, and her dad has played guest in a handful of her videos.
"It's a lot," Baz told Insider. "I need to hire an assistant."
Still, Baz has her time management and organization down to a near-science. Her culinary background has instilled the value of list-writing and schedule-making, two skills that every prep cook must master early in their careers. To thrive in the midst of her shifting schedule, Baz plans, delegates, and coordinates down to the minute.
To find out how Baz builds her personal brand on top of developing new recipes every week, Insider asked the chef and entrepreneur to share a typical day in her fast-moving world.
I wake up early naturally, and — I'm embarrassed to admit this — the first thing I do is check my phone. Then I make myself a cappuccino and feed my dog Tuna.
I don't always eat in the morning — it varies based on my recipe-developing schedule — but sometimes my husband will make breakfast. We eat a lot of boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, and cottage cheese. We also keep cereal on hand, because often that's all there's time for.
I launch into work pretty quickly, which nowadays means sitting on my couch with a laptop. First, I respond to emails. Then, I use the Reminders app on my phone as a to-do list, so I pull that up and look at what's left over from the day before.
Working from that list I make a game plan for the rest of my day based on what I have to get done. If it's a really big day, I'll write out a schedule, just to make sure I'm on a cadence that will allow me to do everything I need to.
Writing everything out helps because I'm not yet at a point where I can devote an entire day to being in the kitchen, or an entire day to handling business issues. Instead, my days are peppered throughout with different tasks.
Regardless of what my schedule looks like, I'm usually in the kitchen twice a day, recipe-testing for my newsletter or who knows what else. Generally, I test out a recipe two to three times, sometimes more. Sometimes, it's a hole-in-one, meaning I don't need to test it again. Either way, I have to photograph everything I make, so I cook every recipe at least twice.
When I'm recipe-testing, I like to visualize out an entire recipe before I step foot in the kitchen. I write, down to the minute, how I see it happening, to the point of: "Sear on one side for two to three minutes. Flip. Sear two to three minutes on this side." Then I go to the kitchen and follow my new recipe.
The first time I do this, I'm mostly checking to see if my predictions about timing, temperature, and quantities are correct. If they're not, I adjust them as I go.
After that, I'll cook this newly updated recipe and if I'm happy with it, I'll take the finished product outside and do the food styling part of my job. I used to be a food stylist, so I've had to tap back into that side of me.
I get a sheet tray filled with things like napkins, paper towels, Q-tips, and extra bowls and spoons. Then I style the recipe outside because there are concrete slabs around our house that make really good backgrounds. If you've seen any of my recipes from the last couple of months, they're probably on cement, because it's a nice neutral backdrop.
I don't have studio lights, and I shoot everything on an iPhone, which I like because it makes it more relatable. I don't want my food to look like it came out of a magazine, because that won't feel authentic to me or my experience.
Whatever I'm recipe-testing on a given day often turns into lunch. That can get weird, because I don't cook things based on whether they're appropriate to eat in the middle of the day.
Sometimes it works out, like when I made a pizza last week, which is a perfect lunch. Other times it'll be 2 in the afternoon and I'll have made a cake and not eaten lunch. In those cases, lunch becomes cake.
In order to have a few uninterrupted hours to recipe-develop, I try to schedule meetings and phone calls before and after I'm in the kitchen.
Yesterday, for instance, after I had finished recipe-developing, I had a meeting with my merch team, where we had a brainstorming and planning session for the second drop of my merchandise, which will be coming out in February.
We've decided to do five drops over the course of 12 months, so about every two and a half months there will be new merchandise on my website. Right now we're working on February, which means looking at different colorways, making mood boards, testing materials.
Every other week, my former Bon Appétit colleague Carla Lalli Music and I have been doing an Instagram Live series called You Got Snack'd. We go live together on Instagram, send each other a bag of mystery ingredients using a grocery delivery service, and then walk each other through a mystery surprise snack.
That's a recurring event, but there's almost always something happening on my social media. I don't have a social media manager, so I do my best to respond and stay engaged with everyone, but it's impossible to get to everyone. I'll also hop on my Patreon and respond to people there, and then I'll jump into the Discord server and talk with subscribers there.
I usually talk on the phone with my agent twice a day, because she's not only my literary rep: she helps coordinate all of my brand partnerships, sponsored material, and collaborations. We have a lot of stuff planned for the next few months, so we're constantly on the phone, making sure we're aligned on what feels comfortable and what will resonate most with my audience.
I might also have a meeting with my publisher at Clarkson Potter to talk about what the publicity rollout might look like for my cookbook. We're about four months away from its release, so we're trying to think of creative ways to drum up excitement for the launch. With Covid, of course, that means a lot of Instagram and virtual events, but I'm trying to think of some unique ways to get people excited for its debut.
If the recipe from earlier in the day was a success, I hop in bed with Tuna and write the newsletter that accompanies it. Once I'm done with the newsletter, which takes a few days, I send it to my mom to copy-edit it and my newsletter-designer to format it.
This is all to say that no recipe that I'm developing starts and finishes in a day.
Next year, I hope to block off a week or two to recipe-develop and get ahead of schedule, that way I could just bank a few recipes and not have to work week to week like I am now. But, I can't do that just yet because of how crazy everything has been.
You would think that after a long day of being in the kitchen that I would not want to cook, but I guess that's my blessing: I still love to cook, no matter what it's for. Normally, I just reinvent whatever is in the fridge, then my husband Willett and I have dinner and some wine.
By this time, I'm in bed and watching an hour or so of TV. Right now I'm watching "Friday Night Lights."
I'm in bed by 9:30!
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