Valley Lo Club’s Executive Chef Josuelt Rodriguez launched a video cooking series on Facebook to engage members and his community.
After hearing the news that Valley Lo Club (Glenview, Ill.) was going to be shut down because of a confirmed case of coronavirus – COVID-19 in our club’s community, we knew we would need to get creative. The management team started to strategize and brainstorm ideas about how we could keep our members engaged. Our membership director had a brilliant idea: Let’s send our members a recipe that they can make at home.
I decided to take that idea to a whole different level. “If we are giving them a simple recipe, why not just make a video and walk them through how to make it, step-by-step,” I said.
Our thinking is to let our members know we are still with them and we are going to get through this together. Here’s our first video:
The idea was to keep it simple, to the point and be as short as possible. We would film the video in my condo and my lovely wife would be the camera-woman. We talked about how to script and shoot the video as well as the logistics we would need to consider to make it a success. As we were discussing this among our team, I thought I might have bit off more than I could chew…
I have never done anything like this, nor have I ever even put myself out there for people to watch and learn from. I’ve been cooking for most of my life, but this was unchartered territory. It was scary, but this environment forces us out of comfort zones. We have to do business in new an unexpected ways. We have to continue to take care of our members, but find new ways to connect with them when we can’t make them dinner.
The hardest part was starting the video. I kept asking myself, what was the message that I want to tell people? I knew that I wanted to not only film a cooking demo, but offer up a positive message to my membership and whoever else was going to be watching. Times are tough, but I believe that it’s everyone’s duty to play a part in the solution in order to overcome COVID-19.
After we filmed the opening scene a million times we started rolling. The jitters went away, Jess (my wife) wasn’t yelling at me as much and we ended up having a blast doing this.
The objective of this video was to keep our membership engaged and keep the connection strong. The countless thank you messages, comments of appreciation and new connections I’ve made since are icing on the cake. Jess and I have since learned that this goes beyond our membership. We’ve connected with people we hadn’t spoken to in a long time, new people that are so happy to learn, and appreciative of our efforts. This was the whole reason we wanted to do this! We have received so much love and support from our family, friends, and members. I am truly grateful for every one of these people that have now touched my life. And I can’t wait to film another video.