If you have passion, presence and chutzpah, you might just be the next YouTube cooking channel sensation. You may be wondering how to start your own YouTube cooking show and what it takes to make your show a seriously viewed channel. In the online world, there are many ways to grab that brass ring (or spatula, as the case may be) since there are many successful cooking channels to be inspired by.
Outrageous or Traditional?
Take a trip down the YouTube rabbit hole and you'll notice a few recurring themes when it comes to learning how to start your own YouTube cooking show. On the one hand, you'll find the almost game show-like approach of "bigger and bolder is best," with shows such as "Epic Meal Time" or "My Drunk Kitchen" scoring big audiences with their outrageousness.
On the other hand, there are more traditional, instructional cooking shows such as "Laura in the Kitchen," which has over 1 million subscribers. This just goes to show that there is a market for engaging hosts who know their subject matter well and can share their knowledge in an easy, engaging way.
In an online interview about her overwhelming success, show creator Laura Vitale said that YouTube is a place where you can "literally learn just about anything that you don't already know." Her forte is Italian-American cooking, including baked goods and sweets.
Why It Works
Breaking down difficult steps and making them accessible is Vitale's hallmark. She also tests her recipes thoroughly before attempting them on camera, so there are no surprises on set. Vitale uploads about three videos a week after filming episodes in her purpose-built studio kitchen. Her husband does the filming and the shows are edited simply, showing that you don't always need real "wow" production factor to get noticed. What you do get is a dedicated home cook who is passionate about what she does, and viewers continue to respond to that. If you consider yourself to be a knowledgeable chef, use that to your advantage in your videos by positioning yourself as an expert — nothing fancy needed.
On his show "One Pot Chef," David Chilcott makes simple, one-pot wonders, ranging from quinoa and Parmesan-crusted chicken strips to chocolate pudding. His set is bland (gray and white with no "oomph") and the editing is basic. But what Chilcott has going for him is his genuine enthusiasm for making no-fuss, no-muss meals that taste good and can be prepared quickly.
Why It Works
Chillcott knows what his viewership wants, and he delivers in spades. His approach is upbeat, happy and has a genuine "You can do it!" appeal that viewers like. He makes his recipes accessible and comes across as the guy next door. New videos are uploaded three times a week, netting him around 151,000 viewers. The bonus? His trajectory has led him to sell cookbooks on iTunes, and he's taking that straight to the bank.
How to Start Your Own YouTube Cooking Show
While some YouTube show hosts are professionals or even celebrities, not all of their shows are successful. If your episode is too long (six minutes or more), poorly edited, poorly lit and lacks clear focus, you'll likely flounder. Making yourself stand out in a crowd of seemingly endless online channel choices is tough, but knowing who your intended audience is, what the competition is doing and how you could be doing it differently or better is key to making a valuable start.
Having a clear voice, personality and genuine love for your area of expertise is crucial, too. Viewers can smell a fake smile a mile away, and they can tell when you aren't that into it. Also, it doesn't hurt to have a friend who knows how to stage, shoot and edit your show so it looks smooth.
The winding road to YouTube success can be fraught with course corrections, or you might hit the bull's-eye on the first try. With a bit of legwork and a market survey of what's out there, you will be taking steps in the right direction to YouTube fame.
Photo credit: Mary Luz Mejia