Nicole McLaughlin is the creative director and senior content producer at Allrecipes. She oversees all video and photo content on the site and works to make cooking approachable, fun and inspiring for home cooks.
With over 20 years of experience in digital media, Nicole has helped shape Allrecipes into one of the largest food sites in the world. She’s passionate about food and truly believes that cooking brings people together.
Education and Early Career
Nicole graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a degree in TV/video production. After college, she moved to New York City and worked at Food Network for over 10 years. She started out as a production coordinator and worked her way up to senior producer.
During her time at Food Network, Nicole worked on shows like 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray, $40 A Day with Sandra Lee, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. She helped develop and produce hundreds of episodes, learning what home cooks want to see and how to present recipes in an engaging, helpful way.
In 2012, Nicole made the move to Seattle to join Allrecipes as a senior producer. Allrecipes appealed to her because of its huge home cook audience and data-driven approach to improving recipes.
Role and Responsibilities at Allrecipes
As creative director at Allrecipes, Nicole oversees all things video and photography. This includes:
– Producing cooking shows like Around the Kitchen Table and Tasty Dish. These shows give a behind-the-scenes look at the Allrecipes test kitchen.
– Creating fun, shareable videos like taste tests, kitchen hacks and recipe tutorials. These quick videos cater to social media and help recipes go viral.
– Managing a team of video producers, camera operators, editors and freelancers. Nicole ensures all videos support the Allrecipes mission of helping home cooks become better cooks.
– Directing bi-annual photography shoots to capture thousands of recipe images and stylized food photos.
– Art directing in-house photo shoots with food stylists and photographers. Nicole approves every visual on the site.
– Maintaining branding consistency and high quality photography standards across the site.
– Using data and analytics to identify content opportunities and areas for growth.
– Working with the editorial team to concept and produce content that will resonate with the Allrecipes community.
– Testing out new show formats, visual styles and content frameworks. Nicole isn’t afraid to experiment in order to stay fresh and relevant.
Accomplishments and Contributions
In Nicole’s time at Allrecipes, the site has grown into one of the largest food destinations on the web. Some highlights of Nicole’s work include:
Launching Successful Shows
Nicole created the show Around the Kitchen Table in 2016. It offers a behind-the-curtain look at the Allrecipes test kitchen full of recipe developers, cookbook authors and trained chefs. Viewers love getting a sneak peek at new recipes and cooking techniques.
She also launched Tasty Dish in 2020. This show features fun food challenges and taste tests with the editors. It’s become one of Allrecipes’ most popular shows thanks to its playful, relatable approach to cooking.
Increasing Video Views
When Nicole joined Allrecipes, video wasn’t a major focus. Under her leadership, the site now publishes over 700 videos per month. Their videos generate over 115 million views per month across social media platforms.
Nicole pioneered new video formats like one-minute recipe tips and kitchen hacks. These quick, snackable videos are perfect for platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Nicole helped establish the signature Allrecipes photography style. Images are brightly lit, vividly colored and focus on the food. She also championed shooting overhead food photos straight down onto the dish. This simple, clean look makes Allrecipes photos instantly recognizable.
Under Nicole’s direction, Allrecipes has built an industry-leading library of over 40,000 original food images and counting. This huge asset helps Allrecipes recipes stand out across the web.
While her accomplishments are impressive, Nicole is most proud of mentoring up-and-coming video producers and photographers. She meets regularly with her team to give feedback and advice.
Nicole also works extensively with freelancers and video production students. She allows them to shadow her on shoots to learn about lighting, camera work, food styling and more.
When COVID-19 hit, Nicole spearheaded virtual mentorship programs. She shared her expertise through one-on-one video calls with creators looking to improve their cooking content.
So what drives Nicole and her work at Allrecipes? In interviews, she often shares these core beliefs:
Food Should Be Fun
Cooking is so much more enjoyable when you relax and let go of perfectionism. Nicole strives to show the fun, humorous side of food through Allrecipes content. She’ll try weird food combinations and wacky cooking methods if it gets people excited about cooking.
Perfection Isn’t the Goal
Allrecipes readers cook because they love nourishing themselves and others. Nicole focuses on the memories and emotions tied to food, not restaurant-perfect plates. She believes achieving joy and connection through food is what matters most.
Creativity Never Stops
After 20 years in the industry, Nicole is still coming up with fresh content ideas. She stays tapped into food and pop culture trends to keep Allrecipes feeling current. Nicole also Empowers her team to brainstorm new shows and video concepts.
As Allrecipes’ audience grows, Nicole remains dedicated to helping home cooks gain confidence in the kitchen. She continues pushing the boundaries of food entertainment and storytelling.
Some projects Nicole is excited about include:
– An original streaming series focused on food traditions and family recipes.
– Expanded Tasty Dish taste tests featuring Allrecipes fans as guest judges.
– Spotlighting more diverse voices and cuisines to reflect the site’s global readership.
– Experimenting with shoppable recipes and integrated e-commerce.
While the technology may change, Nicole believes connecting over food will never go out of style. She’s excited to bring Allrecipes into the future while staying true to its cook-powered roots.
Over the past decade, Nicole McLaughlin has made tremendous contributions to Allrecipes and food media as a whole. She’s an exceptional creative leader who deals in the visual storytelling of food.
Nicole’s innovative videos and photography have helped transform Allrecipes into a multimedia powerhouse. Yet she stays dedicated to the site’s core purpose – empowering everyday cooks with practical recipes and inspiration.
All signs suggest Nicole will continue ushering Allrecipes into new creative territories. As technology evolves, her approach of blending data with heart promises to keep the brand relevant.
With Nicole’s keen eye for compelling stories and trends, Allrecipes is sure to engage home cooks for many more years to come. She truly embodies the spirit of making cooking fun and accessible for all.