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Do you know Thug Kitchen? It is a hilarious, primarily vegan, Tumblr that Saveur Magazine just named the 2013 Best New Food Blog.

For all I know, the blog is written by a group of croquet playing, Ivy League grads who originally hail from Portland, Oregon. The authenticity of the “Thug” factor is irrelevant to this discussion.

That’s because Thug Kitchen’s success drive home a few key lessons about creating content for the web:

  1. Before you freak the formula you must be dope at the existing game. Whoever is behind Thug Kitchen knows the rules and success factors of food blogging. It starts with appealing imagery, recipes that people like, and showing strong passion for food and cooking. You cannot freak the formula before you get the basics down. Thug Kitchen is very good at the basics – the must haves – and has built on these to create something new. Just as Picasso was a killer landscape painter before the cubes, Thug Kitchen knew the foodie blogging game before all the “fucks” and “motherfuckers” appeared across pictures of grilled lettuce.
  2. Formula freaking on the net almost always involves non-vanilla voices. When we think vegan or plant based diets, we tend to think of specific types of people from a narrow range of backgrounds. These imagined humans have very particular psychographic commonalities, fashion sense, etc. Hell, they even tend to talk a certain way. Thug Kitchen – at least the voice of the content published on the blog – is not at all like what we think the subject matter demands it be. It is the exact opposite of the stereotype. This, of course, makes the whole shabang all the more appealing to those (like me) who love it.
  3. You have to embrace the hate on the web. Intuitively, we all know that success usually means creating things some people really won’t like. However committees, clients, bosses, and assorted fraidy cats make us more risk averse. We pump out vanilla thinking everyone will love it when in fact it’s so watered down no one could. Thug Kitchen has haters aplenty (just click this Saveur Facebook page and you can read all their prim thoughts). That, however, is a great thing. One the “thug(s)” have embraced.

Whether you love or hate Thug Kitchen is entirely up to you. Regardless, it reinforces some good lessons about content on the internet. What do you think?

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