Realtor starts cooking series to heat her market up
In her 35 years as a realtor, Fiona Hatfield has done a lot to get her name out there.
She once got in a swimming pool in February wearing a rubber duck floatie around her waist.
“I can’t remember if I sold that house, but I sure hope I did because it was cold in that water!” Ms Hatfield laughed.
The 72-year-old is at it again. She launched a YouTube video series, Cooking with Fiona: A Foodie's Journey, last month.
“It is another way of exploring my life, and who I am,” she said. “It is getting me out there on social media, which I think is key in this day and age.”
In December she shared how to make Tuscan chicken with her viewers; she has just posted a recipe for French onion soup.
She plans to release one each month for the rest of the year; the idea came from a calendar she mails out annually, with recipes and her business card.
The videos are full of the wit the Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty agent is known for. She quips while making Tuscan chicken: “I always put a lot of garlic in my recipes because I always say it keeps the devil away.”
The recipes are compiled by the company in the United States that makes her calendars.
“Sometimes I haven’t made the recipe before,” Ms Hatfield said. “So I will make it once before we film, and then again during filming.”
The videos bring together her life’s two passions: food and real estate.
While making French onion soup she talks up Sunnyside Cottage, a home she is selling in Paget. Next month she will discuss Coldwell Banker’s services.
“It was me and my son Weston who came up with the idea for the YouTube series,” Ms Hatfield said. “He said, 'Why don’t you try this mom? It would be a great way to market yourself.'”
The videos are filmed by Colin Hassell, the marketing coordinator at Coldwell Banker.
Ms Hatfield works without a script although she plans what she wants to say in advance. She admits to getting a little nervous during filming. Although she has experience acting on stage, the videos are a first.
“But it is not a bad thing, because it makes you more alert and aware. I will get better as I go along, I hope. I don’t think I am doing too badly. I think I need to be less serious. I will probably get more relaxed, because there are going to be 12 of these."
She learnt how to cook from her mother, Sheila Gosling, who frequently threw parties.
“I was her sous chef,” Ms Hatfield said. “She would say, 'Fiona, go chop some onions.' When you are a sous chef you watch the chef when they are cooking and you learn yourself.”
Her mother always had quirky recipes such as the bread she made with bran normally fed to horses. It was wise to only eat it in small amounts as the high fibre content would push the bread through you quickly.
“She would go down to the feed store on Front Street and buy bags of this horse bran,” Ms Hatfield said. “Then she would mix it with molasses and lots of raisins.”
Cooking took a back seat to her work when she was busy as a realtor. These days she works fewer hours, and has more time to spend in the kitchen with her husband Martin. She gets most of her recipes from social media. Pinterest is a favourite.
“Tonight I am planning to have salmon and cook it in butter and maple syrup,” Ms Hatfield said. “Then we have some rice and a spinach salad.”
The first episode of Cooking with Fiona gained 150 hits. She was pleased, but is now ready to expand her reach.
“I think I need to spread it around on Instagram a little bit,” she said. “It will be on Instagram, our website and on Facebook. It will also go on Twitter.
“The trick is to make the videos fairly short. My videos are a little bit dragged out because that is the nature of my beast, not just with what I have to say about the recipe, but also what I have to say about real estate."
Next month she will be sharing a recipe for chocolate coconut macaroons.
“It is a Valentine’s recipe,” Ms Hatfield said. “I have never made it before, but it looks good. I had never made the French onion soup before either and that turned out really good.”
Watch Cooking with Fiona: A Foodie's Journey on Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s YouTube channel. For more information: 534-9932; email@example.com