Alla Driksne is a Russian chef and food blogger based in London. Her love and passion for food led her to start Alla’s Yummy Food with the goal of teaching people about Russian cuisine. Alla appeared on ITV’s Dinner Date this summer where she won by cooking up a feast that included a ribeye steak with crispy potatoes and chocolate peanut butter fondant. Alla graduated from the London School of Economics and has completed Professional Chef coursework at Westminster College. You can learn more at allasyummyfood.com.
When did you get started in influencer marketing and recognize it as a viable revenue stream?
I think I probably started like two or three years ago now. But most of the time it’s more like brands come to me and I did, you know, I did sort of do a bit approaching to brands this year but I find it’s actually easier when brands come to you because they’ve already done research on you, you know, they know who you are so it’s a bit easier
You’re a Russian chef but live in London so when creating your recipes do you focus on the flavors of one region or do a mix of both. How do you come up with your recipes?
I mainly do like Baltic Russian food and that’s mainly for audience that actually lives everywhere in the world. Maybe like people that left Russia, Latvia but forgot what the dishes are called so I’m doing them in the English language or a lot of them have Russian wives, husbands so they want to please their like other half so they tend to do these like childhood dishes for them. I do sometimes like universal desserts but main food is mainly Russian, Baltic, Latvian so, yeah.
What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare?
Obviously I can’t choose, I love everything but yeah we have like dumplings, we have a lot of like meat heavy – it’s quite heavy comfort food dishes. Definitely not vegan or gluten free sort of friendly it’s all like full fat, lots of, you know, meat and potatoes and cabbage but everything is very like kind of heavy but very delicious, you know. Not a diet friendly food I would say.
You were on the show National British TV ITV Dinner Dates this past summer can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yeah so it was a show it’s like a dating food show where a guy picks. He has five menus and he can’t see the girls so it’s like a blind picking based on the dishes that you create. So I was chosen one out of five so then he picks three girls and then he goes to each girl’s house and has dinner with them and then I won.
He picked my menu and then he tried my food and it was the best out of the other two girls. So, yeah it was a really fun show to do. Obviously, it would be really bad if I didn’t win because I’m a food blogger so it would be a bit embarrassing.
You have worked with numerous brands is there one that stands out to you as memorable or has been your favorite?
Yeah, I really enjoy working with t-fal. You know t-fal. So I think last year we did a campaign with street food and then they had like the full crew and it was all very like cool and professional and you can almost feel like the brand level straight away, you know, when they have, you know, huge sort of world recognition suppose so yeah that was definitely really memorable.
On the flip side of that what has been the weirdest request you have received from a brand?
I do get a lot of emails which are definitely not relevant to what I do but I never collaborate with brands that I don’t feel that are either representing food or kitchen equipment or something I would personally use. And of course like I think way back in the day I did like a collab with like a tea detox company because my stomach does get bloated but it didn’t do anything for me so after trying it for thirty days I was like guys like it’s stupid I don’t want to promote something that doesn’t actually work. So just happen when you sort of sometimes think that it might work but it actually doesn’t or it’s not very good, so.
How do you handle situations when you need to turn a brand down?
Sometimes they just don’t reply anymore, you know. That tends to be common thing if, you know, but it’s really rare. Yeah, it really rarely happens. Usually like I either just politely decline if it’s, you know, if people are messaging me and asking me to promote like a watch or something like that. Which could be integrated if it’s like a creative fun project but then again it has to be something that I would personally feel like yeah I could wear this or do this but generally if it’s really random and doesn’t really go with food then I just decline yeah, obviously.
Can you tell us a little bit about the online cooking classes that you offer?
Yeah! So it’s really exciting. I just launched – so I launched actually last December sort of bigger courses which is like mousse cake course which kind of takes you from zero to hundred like to learn how to make these cakes.
And just two weeks ago I launched separate cake courses which is basically like one cake course which you buy online and then they’re not as complicated let’s say and anyone can make them with no experience whatsoever anywhere in the world and yeah. And then kind of be able to recreate that beautiful stunning cake with decorations so you can kind of impress everyone. I’m still working on this it’s just like, you know, it’s a lot of work and I work alone, so.
Where do you see influencer marketing headed in the next five years or so?
You know what, it’s a really tough one at the minute because I think, you know, how algorithms change all the time on every platform and there’s also big roads now in people like say buying fake following and buying fake, you know, likes and comments and lesser brands are actually more scared now and more aware how to work with you. So I feel that even in the last sort of six month the process verification if the brands wants to work with you has increased, you know. They want to know all your details, all you analytics which is fine of course because you can provide all of that. But I feel like on one sided it’s good but on the other side I feel like it’s I don’t know where it’s going to go to be honest. It’s going definitely be a bit tougher now to work with brands in my opinion.
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.