You’re probably wondering who made this sumptuous dish – chicken in a parmesan basil cream sauce. Well, creators Kody Martin and Tyler Smith do not have a restaurant. They’re two friends who amped up their love of food during the pandemic and found followers on Instagram.
Kody and Tyler or Martin and Smith or KandT sound like a classic duo: yacht-rock band, comedy crew, investigative reporter team. But for these two 28-year-olds – the hands and minds behind PlatesbyKandT – they’re just two guys who worked together at the Kroger Marketplace in the Village of Coventry who bonded over food.
On slow days, they’d walk through aisles, looking at ingredients and talk about cooking. Both said they enjoyed meals from their childhoods – what gathering together for good food meant to a family. That enjoyment could be as simple as southern-style homemade mac ‘n’ cheese or as complex as Japanese A5 Wagyu Pastrami Panini (a recent recipe to be found on their page). But their do-it-yourself ethos is about having fun, sharing ideas and eating well.
Their conversations led to action.
“We kind of started off a little slow, then we got into a groove, and it just kind of took off from there,” Martin added.
Taking off includes branded reposts from Kroger Co., Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, Eckrich, Saffron Road and Southern Cast Iron to name a few. Aunt Mille’s has been a good local sponsor, they said.
“We were using their bread so frequently in our posts, that they reached out,” said Smith, who lives in Huntington with his wife and three sons. “It’s been really cool.”
Taking off includes garnering over 10,000 Instagram followers since last spring, with New York, not Fort Wayne, as the No. 1 city in terms of follower location. (Los Angeles is No. 3, and they’ve heard from fans as far away as Australia.)
As for the photography, it too is DIY – camera phones and editing. They’d love to do videos of their
meal prep, but again, it’s about time and resources.
“We just kept learning as we were going,” said Smith. “We’ve always had a passion for cooking. We learn what people liked, what our audience was on Instagram and kind of cater to their needs. It’s been fun!”
The two not only love to show off their meals, which includes downloadable instructions.
“When we started our website, we sold recipes for a $1,” said Martin. “We have about $430 in our joint PayPal account. But recently, we’ve gotten to where our recipes are downloadable for free on our website. We just want to make it
easy for people.”
And soon it’s going to be even easier as Platesbykandt are coming out with their own book of recipes, with a launch date hopefully in September. Check out the website for details.
As for the future, the two don’t have any plans other than to continue having fun with the site and learn more culinary techniques.
We just want to keep growing,” said Martin. “We plan to keep working with Aunt Millie’s and rack up more sponsorships.”