Page 1

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

Founder Jocelyn Johnson Editor-in-chief Sahil Patel Contributors Michael Varrati Liz Miller Designer Karen Almonte

VideoInkNews VideoInk: Video Food Fest


Videon ink



VideoInk: Video Food Fest


elcome to VideoInk’s latest special issue: Video Food Fest, devouring all things food and video on the web over the next seven days. So that the next time you’re around the dinner table, and your Aunt Judy asks, “Hey! What’s happening with food video content on the web!?” you’ll know exactly what to say. Beauty and music might be massive on YouTube, but there’s another genre that can lay claim to being the fastest-growing on the world’s biggest video site: food. This is according to a recent YouTube Insights study from Google, which made the aforementioned claim and provided some data to back it up: In 2013, the top 20 food and cooking channels generated 370 million views while seeing a 40% increase in subscribers.

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

But it’s not just YouTube, food is cookin’ (I regret nothing) all over the web. The world’s second-biggest video platform, Dailymotion, is also seeing positive numbers. “Not only in terms of the number of people watching food shows and other videos uploaded to our platform,” says Roland Hamilton, managing director, US, of Dailymotion. “But also in terms of the searches we’re seeing on Dailymotion.” Cooking, food, and chef are among the most-searched terms on Dailymotion, a platform that reaches more than 230 million unique viewers worldwide every month. This level of audience demand has resulted in Dailymotion inking deals with several food-content providers over the years, from TV networks like CBS to newer video programmers like BuzzFeed and Conde Nast Entertainment, to bring more professional food content on to the platform. ulive, a lifestyle video platform launched by Scripps Networks Interactive, the programmer behind Food Network and Cooking Channel, has more than 20 original shortform series directly about food or mentioning food in some way. And that doesn’t even include the full episodes of TV shows from Food Network and Cooking Channel that the platform offers. NBCUniversal’s Bravo has won an Emmy for “Last Chance Kitchen,” a companion web series tied to the cable network’s hit “Top Chef ” franchise — the success of which spawned a second companion web series, “Padma’s Picks,” for the 11th season of “Top Chef.” Why, though? Why does food content work so well on the web? On YouTube, that’s an easy answer — all you have to do is look at what’s popular within the food genre, and how it ties directly to what we already know about YouTube. According to Tubular Labs, the analytics company behind the above data from Google, YouTube users of all sizes uploaded nearly 113,000 cooking- and recipe-related videos in 2013, altogether generating more than 436 million views. It’s easy to see why. As much as it’s a daily life utility, cooking — like YouTube — is social. “Cooking has always been a social activity,”EpicMealTimeFoodIssue says Karen Sauder, Google’s industry director, food, beverage, and restaurants. “And YouTube gives people a chance to come together share ideas, recipes, and conversation around a global table.” And just as in life, on YouTube, people tend to gravitate to others who they want to “hang out” with. “YouTube gives a chance for personalities to shine, and for creators and audiences to find their own niche.”


VideoInk: Video Food Fest

Personality-driven content, connecting viewers with the creators who they can relate to (and virtually cook with), is also the philosophy behind what digital food network Tastemade is currently doing.

For instance, Epic Meal Time, which also distributes content on Dailymotion. Yes, they’re teaching you how to make an insane dish, but it’s also a certain type of living to say you’re going to cook and eat a food that can only be described as a “bird within a bird within a bird within a bird within a pig.”

“The mission of Tastemade is to connect the world through food,” says co-founder Steven Kydd. “It’s finding people with diverse culinary points of view and trying to engage that community to get into the kitchen.”

The best example of this universality? Scripps’ ulive, which offers an array of short-form original series. Many are completely about food. Most have nothing to do with food directly, but feature food as part of a larger theme. (For example: In “What You Don’t Know Could Kill You,” an episode about how leftovers can, yes, kill you.)

Tastemade has been doing this by not only running an MCN that works with almost one hundred talented food creators, but also via a mobile app that allows anyone to create their own food or cooking “show.” If the content is really good, Tastemade will bring the user in to continue creating the show for its network.

For its part, Dailymotion is aware of the universality of food. Just look at how it categorizes the genre: If you’re looking for food content on the world’s second-largest video platform, it’s actually available within the movies and entertainment category.

Did you know that Tastemade just inked a deal with Ryan Seacrest Productions to develop food and lifestyle programming for television ?

Yes, the success of food content on the web begins with the fundamental fact that we think about food every day. But it also helps that the genre and platform are uniquely f lexible.

But it’s not just about finding a virtual cooking buddy. Food, as a topic, is no longer restricted to itself. Food is universal. It can speak to a way of life. “I think it speaks to a broader trend of the content that’s being created out there,” says Hamilton. “Food is common to everyone, it cuts across a lot of different categories,” he adds. “Even in comedy there are ways to approach it.”

“There’s much more f lexibility, much more that can be done, and with that comes the ability to offer more voices and many more types of voices, and that’s exciting” says Kydd.

For each taste there is a youtube channel For instance, you’re a guy, and you just really love bacon (a lot of men do, as Tubular Lab data shows that 31% of males who watched cooking videos on YouTube in 2013 engaged with a video that had to do with bacon in some way). There’s a good chance, then, of you being a fan of Epic Meal Time, the insane food-loving dudes who love bacon, among many other food items, and have more than 6 million subscribers. Or, let’s go another way. You’re a geek who also loves food. There’s something for you, too: Rosanna Pansino’s “Nerdy Nummies,” the most popular baking show/channel on YouTube according to Sauder, with more than 1.4 million subscribers and 200 million views. Every Tuesday, Pansino publishes a new geek-inspired recipe for delectable dishes like Spongebob lemon bars and Star Wars Lightsaber popsicles.

VideoInk: Video Food Fest



rom classic YouTube favorites to some guy eating cereal, VideoInk scoured the world wide web for some of the best food-related series worth streaming on a [insert digital device] near you. Here’s our list, paired with the platform/network where you can find it. 7

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

10. “The People That Touch Your Food” (Blip) Though the characters are pretty contrived (especially “Emily,” the nervous, emotionally unstable server), We found ourselves wanting to learn the fate of the Second Spoon, the fictional cafe chronicled in this sitcom-style series. Led by an overenthusiastic manager Paige (think a much watered down version “Parks and Rec” Leslie Knope), the restaurant staff participates in exaggerated confrontation and deals with typical restaurant problems in a manner so ludicrous it kept me intrigued. “The People That Touch Your Food” has a title and content that will incite adequate skepticism of what goes on behind the scenes at your local restaurants.

9. “You’re Eating It Wrong with Dan Pashman” (Cooking Channel) This series answers the timeless question, “How do I get the most out of every bit of this slice of pizza?” Pashman provides interesting techniques for thoroughly enjoying the food you usually scarf down without thinking, like sticking the crust into the middle of your pizza before folding it up and taking a bite. With only three episodes, “You’re Eating It Wrong” is worth watching if you want to learn to eat better, and not in terms of your diet. We could all benefit from this guy’s insight into smarter and tastier methods of consumption.

8. “Co-op Stories” (YouTube) A somewhat painful look at the daily happenings in your average co-op grocery store, “Co-op Stories” provides three-minute glimpses into awkward encounters between staff and customers. Just entertaining enough to watch for three minutes, some episodes provided more laughs than others. We would specifically recommend the episode, “Juggle Complex,” if you feel like actually lol-ing. Though not particularly sympathetic, the characters end up growing on you as they reappear in multiple episodes.

7. “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen” (Bravo) A great online companion to Bravo’s “Top Chef,” this web series granting the season’s losers a chance to get back in the competition satisfies all of us who cheer for the underdogs. For those of us who don’t have TVs (we are out there!), it’s also a benefit to get a taste of network television so easily accessible on the internet. Though the single judge tends to point out the contestants’ prior mistakes a bit too pointedly, it does help ground viewers back into the main competition. And of course, “Last Chance Kitchen” gives us a wide variety of beautifully plated dishes, which is worth the stressful eight minutes leading up to presentation.

6. “Epic Meal Time” (YouTube) A concept that defies the overwhelming spat of healthy eating trends, the goal of raising the calorie counter as high as possible makes “Epic Meal Time” with Harley Morenstein a refreshing alternative to the many cooking series that showcase the home-grown and organic. Catchphrases like “YouTube money” have yet to get old, and bacon-wrapped everything continues to prove satisfying for this food porn connoisseur. Who can’t help but live vicariously through people who shamelessly feast on mustard-covered cake filled with chicken nuggets?

VideoInk: Video Food Fest


5. “Guy Eating Cereal“ Who would have thought that the domain name “” wouldn’t have been taken by 2010, when “guy” Tamir Kapelian started, as the title suggests, eating cereal for the camera? Starting with a riveting look at Kapelian consuming an entire bowl of cereal in episode one, the series only escalates with the appearances of evil twins and even Charlie the Unicorn (Kapelian edits himself — eating cereal, of course — into the first episode). Literally just a guy eating cereal in different locations, this show is so ridiculous it cannot be missed.

4. “Obsessives” (Chow) From pickles and knives to soda pop and absinthe, “Obsessives” on Chow’s YouTube’s channel features a range of fascinating food-related infatuations. This show will open you up to specialty items and methods that rarely get any media attention. People who usually lurk behind the scenes finally get to gush about their culinary obsessions in a series that’s educational and very unique.

3. “You’re Doing It All Wrong” (Chow) This instructive series has actually changed my daily life for the better. “You’re Doing It All Wrong” points out with simple description how you’re making commonly consumed items, as the show bluntly puts it, wrong. Each episode walks you through the steps of how to best concoct edibles ranging from PB&J to mimosas. With straightforward, helpful tips that manage to avoid condescension, the show’s hosts unfailingly provide valuable information that applies to pretty much anyone who eats food.

2. “Munchies” (Vice) “Munchies” takes Vice’s gritty, right-to-the-source documentary style to well-known restaurants all over the world, getting behind the scenes to show us chefs in their kitchens. Plying the chefs with alcohol helps them open up about themselves and their cuisine, while bringing cameras to real restaurant kitchens catches graphic imagery that many cooking shows are afraid to let their audiences in on, like chopping the head off a fully skinned lamb. Having featured chefs then turn it around by letting the crew join them and their friends at another restaurant for late night snacks makes you feel like you’re really getting in on some culinary secrets.

1. “My Drunk Kitchen” (YouTube) With clever cuts and a totally lovable star, Hannah Hart’s “My Drunk Kitchen” has only gone uphill since its unexpected debut in 2011. Doling out key advice such as, “It’s important to remember that when you’re cooking, use food,” Hart is either a great actress or a really cheap drunk (or getting much drunker behind the scenes than we viewers can imagine). Either way, it makes for great showmanship — millions of viewers’ worth. In this sense, the fans put this show at the tippy-top of our top 10. Endearing credits and inane acts like cooking a grilled cheese without the cheese got this show to the top.


VideoInk: Video Food Fest


V doesn’t just live on TV anymore — that’s a basic fact of the current media landscape. But when networks engage with the digital space, that doesn’t mean they all have the same approach; based on need and audience, a number of different strategies are currently in play. And two extremes can be found in how Bravo and Scripps approach the web with its food-related properties.

lifestyle.” But in addition, Scripps SVP of programming Amy Emmerich said that since its launch, ulive has produced about 70 (yes, seventy) original series for the web, all focusing on various aspects of that concept of “the wellness lifestyle.” ulive’s digital series focus not necessarily on recipes, but on how those recipes fit into healthy living. “I don’t think one person leads one life,” Emmerich said. “If you’re a mom and you have a job, then you’re trying to fit everything in. We try to pull that story into one place. If you were look- ing to tell a food-only story, we would want you to work with the Food Network. We try to find someone who, if they’re making a food item, it’s wellness first.”

When Scripps launched ulive in June 2013, it was billed as a Hulu-like platform for the lifestyle vertical. But while, like Hulu, ulive has a large library of content from Scripps’ broadcast channels (including DIY, HGTV, and Food Network), ulive also hosts a collection of web-original content on par with its library content. Part of that is due to how ulive is not a complete collection of everything ever aired on Scripps networks. “We actually don’t have ulivepagethe entire library — it’s a very curated experience,” VP of brand marketing and data strategy Jeffery Kissinger said via phone. “We’ve curated different things around the wellness

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

With an emphasis on seeking out talent that already has a digital following, this has led to series like “TV Dinner with jamieshupakFriends,” where Jamie Shupak (on-air talent for New York-based NY1) learns


to eat healthy with the help of other healthy-eating bloggers. There’s also “Yoga Rebel,” in which host Tara Stiles shows how she fits having fun and going out into her practice.

Chef,” this means supplemental video including extended interviews, judge’s panels, and the series “Top Recipe,” which features recipes cooked on the show. But its biggest success story has been the Emmynominated companion series “Last Chance Kitchen.”

Will you be seeing “Yoga Rebels” on HGTV anytime soon? Probably not — currently, there is no crossover between ulive programming and Scripps’ TV networks.

In “Last Chance Kitchen,” chefs who have just been eliminated from the main show compete for the opportunity to re-enter the game, going up against each other in head-to-head matches. Last man or woman standing rejoins the competition during the finale; in Season 10, eliminated chef Kristen Kish not only won “Last Chance Kitchen,” but the show’s top prize as well.

Part of that is the simple fact that, in Emmerich’s words, “With a lot of stuff we’re focusing on, I’m not sure it has a place on air. What works online might not work [on television].” In addition, a lot of the talent driving ulive programming isn’t as seasoned as those anchoring its broadcast properties.

“‘Top Recipe’ is really for fans who really want to learn more about cooking,” Hsia said. “‘Last Chance Kitchen’ takes the story to a deeper level, really connecting the on-air and the digital platforms and impacting what happens. It was really a breakthrough for us.”

“We’re working with some new, younger talent that needs some more experience,” Emmerich said. “But we are seeking that sweet spot for what might convert, and would love the success story of someone who can go to on-air.”

But while Bravo’s approach to creating content is focused only on supporting its television properties, its distribution strategy is extremely liberal. Rather than rely on a single platform for distribution, Bravo takes a more “platform agnostic” approach. “We always want to push to,” Hsia said. “But we recognize that content lives everywhere.”

While the line between digital and broadcast programming for Scripps is currently quite firm, that’s not the case for Bravo. The NBCU-owned network treats its digital properties as extensions of its broadcast programming — to the exclusion of web-original content. “The content that works best with Bravo fans is content related to the shows,” Lisa Hsia, EVP of digital for Bravo, said via phone. “The holy grail for us has been creating content which really extends what happens on the air.”

Thus, episodes of “Last Chance Kitchen” can be found everywhere from the official site to cable VOD systems to Amazon and iTunes (where “Top Chef ” does “incredibly well”). “It’s important that the content that drives shows be available everywhere, and it helps you find new audiences,” Hsia added. “Fans are amazing — wherever the content exists, they find the best way for them to watch it.”

In the case of the reality cooking competition “Top


VideoInk: Video Food Fest

VideoInk: Video Food Fest



VideoInk: Video Food Fest

sh i d al

t i g i d h wit



s dedicated members of any fandom will tell you, when you’re obsessively committed to a particular TV show or film, the ultimate dream is to be able to integrate a little of that world into our very own. For established YouTube phenomenon Jimmy Wong, the desire to make fiction into fact manifested itself in the most unlikely of places: his kitchen. Each week, Wong, along with co-host Ashley Adams, brings worlds of fantasy to life in culinary form on the popular “Feast of Fiction,” a YouTube series and channel geared toward offering viewers recipes derived from their favorite shows/movies. To be sure, these are not merely recipes based on a show, but rather, “Feast of Fiction” goes one step further to derive the recipes from the world of the show itself. For example, when Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor proclaimed a fondness for the odd combination of “fish fingers and custard” on “Doctor Who,” Wong and Adams set out to cook that recipe.

With a multitude of themed recipes under their belts, one has to wonder how well-versed Wong is with the various titles to which they pay homage on “Feast of Fiction.” To his credit, the YouTube maestro shows an impressive amount of geek cred.

ly askew from what we would find in the real world? Wong shares that it’s all about imaginative combination: “I’ll scour the web for 8-10 recipes for that particular item or items that are similar, and make my own combination of those recipes, adding specific things to make it more legitimate and closer to what the item on the show would be. After that’s all done, I’ll cook it once at home, maybe twice if it didn’t turn out right the first time, and then get ready to make it on set.”

“For the most part, I’m a fan of the majority of the shows we make food from,” Wong tells me. “Some of them, I don’t know because they are fan requests of more obscure animated stuff. But, I’ve been around the block when it comes to seeing different anime and movies, as well as all things geek/nerdy, so I’m usually at least familiar. My wonderful cohost, Ashley, isn’t as familiar, but she’s much better at things like crafting, baking, and the artistic side of the recipes. So, with our forces combined, it’s a pretty good combination.” But, you may wonder, what if the menu item is slight-

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

This commitment to craft showcases Wong is no slouch when it comes to culinary artistry, and by his own admission, it has led to Feast4some interesting challenges on the show.


“One of the particularly more challenging recipes was called ‘Milk of the Poppies,’ from ‘Game of Thrones.’ In the show, it’s akin to morphine, a highly potent pain drug that you take right when you’re on the brink of death to make your passing more passable. To make that, we had to grind up poppy seeds and make milk from it, and it ended up being one of the messiest processes I’ve ever done. We would put them in this coffee grinder and do them in batches, and these poppy seeds would literally go everywhere. I found poppy seeds all over my kitchen for weeks after that.”

passion is the process, and it’s a love he happily shares with a digital audience that is always hungry for more. More so, it’s Wong’s understanding of YouTube and traditional cooking programming that makes “Feast of Fiction” such an effective watch for its many hungry subscribers. “Cooking shows have been around for a long time,” Wong says, “You’re usually allowed a 30-minute time slot on TV to do a show, which means you can take your time with the ingredients, but it also requires you to be really engaging with the audience. It’s really similar for YouTube, but instead of 30 minutes, you get five, at the longest, eight. That may seem like a tiny amount of time, but when you’re watching something online, if you can’t keep someone’s interest, you’ve already lost. You have to keep it lively, upbeat, catchy, and everything that makes an online video successful. The cooking show format still remains the same, but there’s a lot more detail-work that needs to go into each bit to make sure people are entertained.”

From the challenges, though, also comes a great deal of fun. Wong admits that he loves the process of bringing some of these recipes to life. And it’s not just because of the final product, Wong relishes the challenge of taking the abstract and making it reality. “In terms of favorite recipes, more recently we made Lego candy in honor of ‘The Lego Movie.’ To do that, I needed to buy extra ingredients so I could make a mold of prior Legos, so that I could then pour candy gelatin into and let it harden. That whole process was a lot of fun, because it require a science-y aspect that we don‘t usually do.”

Luckily, when that entertainment is recipes derived from the very things that the audience is entertained by, what you’re left with is a tasty feast, not just of fiction, but of satisfying fact.

Like some of the world’s top chefs, part of Wong’s


VideoInk: Video Food Fest

sh i d al

t i g i d h wit


of Tastemade mission, it leads to a curating that implies and requires a certain approach,” Kydd says. “What we did not want to do is fall into the ‘celebrity chef ’ approach of ‘this is how food is done.’ You get a lot of that on television. We wanted to do something very different, which was much more useful, encouraging, and community driven. For us, connecting the world through food actually happened by not telling people the best way to make food, but rather by encouraging people to make it in a variety of different ways.”

“Food is a universal language.” For Steven Kydd and his partners at Tastemade, this isn’t just an oft-cited mantra, it’s also the edict that’s rocketing their brand around the world. “We’re all food lovers. That’s how it started, with a shared passion for food. But then, we saw a macro trend that could be a great business opportunity,” says Kydd. Recognizing that most food content online rarely reached past a single channel or platform, Kydd and his partners sought to change the game by not only connecting creators, but by also unifying the shared appetite of the world.

“Our content we create is from all around the globe. If you look at our channel, you’ll see people from the UK, Australia, and the United States who are traveling the globe,” Kydd continues. “Our network is a very global and offers a diverse point of view, and that’s really important. You’ll see a lot of networks, especially on TV, where the vast majority of their talent is from America, and that leads to a certain point of view about food culture. We wanted to have unique and authentic voices from cultures all around the world, and because we invite people into culture via food, it becomes more welcoming.”

“The mission of Tastemade is to connect the world through food. When you make that your

By breaking the constraints of the typical televised cooking show format, Tastemade revolutionizing the way content, both culinary or otherwise, can be consumed via media. Whereas a TV cooking program is locked in at a certain time, with personality and viewership curated to drive an audience to a particular slot, Tastemade has made multiple levels of content available to foodies who don’t VideoInk: Video Food Fest


want to wait for an airtime or date. Viewers merely have to seek out the voice and style that most appeals to them, and they can get to cooking.

your own show.”

The app launched a few months ago, and Tastemade has already started uncovering talent “at a With a chorus of international voices already very primitive stage.” “We had a user of the app singing the praises of food online, it would seem who was doing great things, and we said, ‘My that Tastemade’s goal of connecting the world via god, she’s really fantastic,’ and we reached out to food has already more than been achieved. How- her and now she’s doing some video work. This ever, Kydd reveals, the online network was merely is exciting for us, because the pyramid we have the beginning of the unification of this delicious of studio talent, global network, and consumers community. Taking into account that most users who share the passion of food now are interof this generation also access the web via smart mixed.” phones, Tastemade wants to change global food creation with its iOS app. More than just a food revolution, Kydd and company have done one better and created a food The first of its kind, the Tastemade app expands evolution, allowing anyone, anytime to be the the network’s roster of foodie creators by literally star of their own kitchen. allowing anyone to create their own show. Kydd explains: “Talking about diverse views, there’s a “There’s much more f lexibility, much more that certain amount of talent we have in our studios can be done, and with that comes the ability to in LA and a certain amount of talent around the offer more voices and many more types of voices, world on things on YouTube, but we wanted to and that’s exciting.” open it up beyond that. Because of all the smartphones now, we built an app that allows anyone to shoot, edit, and upload their own show directly from the app. If Instagram allows you to be a better photographer than you are, Tastemade app allows you to be a better filmmaker than you are, allowing you to be the star of 17

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

sh i d al

t i g i d h wit



hen I pose the question of favorite recipes to Harley Morenstein, the jovial internet personality gives it a serious moment’s thought before answering in earnest:

ing faint of heart. With a back-catalogue of over 250 recipes that include such gems as lasagna made of Big Macs or a Christmas tree constructed out of thousands of strips of bacon, the digital sensations more than earn the “epic” moniker in their name.

“The meat castle. It’s a recent one. There are people out there who don’t even know a meat castle exists, but it has a working epicmealtimemeatcastledrawbridge and walls made of chicken nuggets. It’s a damn sexy meal.” If this answer forces you to take a pause, then it’s likely you’re not familiar with Morenstein and his popular YouTube show, “Epic Meal Time.” Masterminding some of the most outrageous recipes the world has ever seen, Morenstein (aka “The Sauce Boss”) and the Epic Meal Time crew’s culinary concoctions are certainly not for the calorie-count-

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

Because of their admittedly frenetic approach to cooking, Morenstein early on compared “Epic Meal Time” to MTV’s “Jackass” due to their penchant for approaching recipes with a haphazard “dare you” sensibility. However, since the show’s launch in 2010, Morenstein tells me that this analogy is no longer completely accurate, and clarifies that while their kitchen may be crazy, it’s certainly a calculated craziness.


The series that Morenstein is alluding to is the recently announced “Epic Meal Show” for A+E’s soonto-launch FYI Network. Even though “Epic Meal Time” is expanding to TV, Morenstein isn’t interested in letting TV change the internet-defined brand. Instead, he wants to re-imagine what a cooking show can be on television.

“I can finally officially put to rest the ‘Jackass’ comparison,” Morenstein says. “It was perfect for when we just used to release ‘Epic Meal Time’ on Tuesdays, but now we do ‘Epic Meal Time’ on Tuesday, we do an instructional show on Saturday, we do a gaming channel, we’re moving to TV…we’ve grown bigger than the initial analogy of ‘just a bunch of goons having a good time.’ I mean, we’re still a bunch of goons, but we’re running a business and we’re trying maximize everything on all fronts. I’d say we’re now more like Destiny’s Child, because we’re a small, tight-knit group. We’re choreographed in our movements, and we look damn good doing what we do. We’re the Destiny’s Child of cooking now.”

“You’ll still find our format within the show, but it will be part of a grander scheme,” Morenstein says. “It’s food and it’s comedy, and it’s going to revolve around ‘Epic Meal Time.’ It’s going to lift the veil on a lot of the behind-the-scenes things that occur on the internet, as well as some new surprises. Just as I feel we revolutionized, in our way, cooking shows online, I’m hoping to revolutionize the scripted reality show style by bringing our brand to television. It took us awhile, but we finally found a place where epic 2we’re comfortable. The biggest thing is that a lot of YouTubers make it to TV, and then they stop their YouTube. But, we’ve established this relationship with our audience where our YouTube channel will continue during our TV show. Even while we’re filming those 16 episodes, we’re still doing our weekly show online.”

…and if “Epic Meal Time” is Destiny’s Child, then that certainly casts Morenstein as the Beyoncé of food content creation. Making bold decisions about even-bolder recipes has rocketed Morenstein and company to a vast viewership of over 6 million subscribers and counting, forcing the Epic Meal Time brand to reach ever higher for the sake of their audience.

By moving to television, but maintaining his viewership online, Morenstein is doing what he does best: Raising the stakes by crafting a new recipe for how things can be done. In the few short years of “Epic Meal Time”’s existence, the brand has become a major force in the world of culinary content creation and has become the standard for the “go big or go home” attitude for some of today’s modern foodies. Yet, for all his success, Morenstein remains humble.

“The challenges, early on, used to be technical: ‘How are we going to sew this on? Where are we going to find something big enough to heat this up?’ Now the challenges come in the form of how we evolve the meals even more,” Morenstein says. “We’re 250 recipes in, and we’ve done all these things that are huge in scope, and we’ve desensitized ourselves, in a way. Now, we sit around and throw out ideas and come up with things like what we did for Christmas, which was six pig carcasses pulling a bacon covered sleigh.”

“I never set out to do a bad show or an unsuccessful show, but I never thought that a network like A+E would offer 16 episodes of a TV show to me based on an online video where I put burgers on a pizza with my buddies back in 2010.” However, with that one meaty pizza, Morenstein has launched a media empire, and redefined the notion that when it comes to our appetites, sometimes the “more is more” approach isn’t only the best option, it’s the most epic one.

“The challenge now is how do we give new perspective to people who haven’t been thinking like us for three years?” he continues, “But also, how do we engage the average person who maybe hasn’t heard of ‘Epic Meal Time,’ or hasn’t checked in recently? There’s also the people who have seen the last 250 episodes and are as familiar with what we do as we are…how do we keep it fresh for all of them? While we haven’t run out of ideas, we’re trying to think with a bigger scope and take it to a bigger place. Hopefully that will come to light on the television series.”


VideoInk: Video Food Fest

Emerging Food/Cooking Channels on YouTube


astemade co-founder Steven Kydd probably said it the best: “Food is universal.” Doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, food is one of the few things in this world which has the ability to create links between disparate groups of people.

love food so much that they don’t sit idly by and just watch food content, they create their own. And often, this content is made in a format that ref lects who the foodie-creator is. In other words, food channels on YouTube can be about food, or they can be about something more. For instance, Jimmy Wong loves food, but he’s also a massive pop-culture geek, so obviously he’d combine both passions into a successful show like “Feast of Fiction.”

This is because food is also a passion. We all love to share what we love to eat. How often is it that you’ve discovered a new restaurant, or even just a new dish, and have felt the need to share it with your friends and family? You’ve lost count, right? There’s a good chance you have, and that’s probably because we now have the ability to connect with others in ways that don’t require having to dial the phone.

“This poses an opportunity for marketers not just in the restaurant business, but lifestyle brands as well,” says Jacobs. “What, where, and with whom we eat defines us as individuals and as a culture — and our closest social relationships are often formed around a dinner table.”

“The foodie community is constantly finding new ways to connect with fellow food enthusiasts across a variety of digital mediums,” says Alex Jacobs, VP/ group director, social, DigitasLBi. “From sharing recipes to reviews of new restaurants or showing off home-cooked creations, food enthusiasts and even everyday people find common ground in culinary experiences.”

So let’s take a look at the YouTube dinner table. Specifically, let’s see which food-creators are rising fast and are well on their way to building close, inf luential relationships with their fans. Here are the top five emerging food/cooking channels on YouTube, as determined by data from Digitas LBi and YouTube analytics company Outrigger Media’s Emerging Talent Tracker tool.

When it comes to YouTube, where anyone can voice their passion, this means a community of users who

VideoInk: Video Food Fest


FoodHeavenShow SlateScore: 333 Subs: 8,107 Monthly Views: 23,220

The Food Heaven Show channel on YouTube features dietician Jessica Jones and nutrition-obsessed Wendy Lopez hosting a variety of shows focused on delicious and affordable eating. As both hosts hold Master’s degrees in Nutrition Science, you can trust that the channel’s content will help point you towards a healthy lifestyle. With Tastemade as the channel’s network partner, Food Heaven Show brings you shows like “Kitchen Cosmetics” and “Immunity Boost.” If you’re looking for the opposite of an “Epic Meal Time,” this channel is for you. 21

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

EverydayPossible SlateScore: 350 Subs: 5,238 Monthly Views: 135,210

This channel showcases traditional Chinese recipes. The host, a young woman named Josephine, sometimes includes the recipes written out next to her videos. The step-by-step format used on the channel makes for easy-to-follow videos so you can recreate Josephine’s recipes in your own kitchen. With just over 5,000 subscribers so far, EverydayPossible should gain more by virtue of the general love of dim sum alone.

VideoInk: Video Food Fest


TheSquishyMonster SlateScore: 377 Subs: 10,863 Monthly Views: 73,560

To quote the channel’s subtitle, The Squishy Monster shows viewers how to make tasty treats from “cupcakes to traditional Korean food and everything in between.” That encompasses a whole lot of dishes, from “Breaking Bad Blue Glass Candy” to mochi ice cream and bacon cheese fritters. The channel’s Korean star goes by the name “Squishy Monster” and displays series like “Throwback Thursdays,” in which she brings back the best shows from her old channel (just “The Squishy Monster” without the TSM). Her other series focus on separate foodie categories (i.e. “Soup,” “Seafood,” “Drinks”) and outline some seriously delicious recipes. 23

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

FoodGloss SlateScore: 520 Subs: 50,274 Monthly Views: 551,790

This channel is in German, but the scrumptious-looking culinary footage here translates across all languages. The food explored on FoodGloss ranges from churros to quinoa to champagne mousse.

VideoInk: Video Food Fest


lobosworth SlateScore: 537 Subs: 63,472 Monthly Views: 182,473

You may or may not remember her from MTV’s “The Hills,” but former reality television star Lo Bosworth now has her own YouTube channel. Named after herself, the Lo Bosworth channel showcases the host’s exploration of NYC as well as her cooking. One of Bosworth’s series chronicles her adventures in culinary school while others are more clothes and beauty-focused. Her cooking demos in New York might just be more fun to watch than her life on the West Coast.


VideoInk: Video Food Fest


uilding a successful presence on YouTube isn’t an easy prospect, even if you’re one of the top food-related brands on the web. So when Allrecipes, a longtime friend of the home cook, decided to get into the game, it got a little help. Or, rather, the company took a short cut.

but narrating the process as he goes with his now-trademark self-deprecating humor. Mitzewich began producing videos in 2007, and his origins were humble: “I would duct-tape [a web cam] onto a spice rack. That was my tripod,” he said via phone. During his first two years on YouTube, he never fully optimized the service’s features — but he did manage to produce a large library of content. “I did a lot of things wrong when I started. The only thing I did right was be prolific,” he said. Mitzewich’s approach, though, ultimately paid off — the channel currently has over 720,000 subscribers; videos receive an average of five-tosix figure view-counts. And for Mitzewich, being under the Allrecipes umbrella hasn’t changed his work process — he’s still a one-man operation, taking fan suggestions for dishes to cook and posting to his channel and the Food Wishes blog. The one major change for Mitzewich is that Allrecipes now handles the business end of his business, for which he’s grateful. “They’re a big corporation — they’re already good at the business stuff,” he said. “I’m able to focus on making my two-to-three videos every week. It’s a great

Allrecipes, which was founded in 1997, only began experimenting with video about four or five years ago, according to VP of consumer brand strategy Esmee Williams. “We dipped our toes in, waiting to find out what our consumers wanted to interact with,” she said in a phone interview. “We have a huge following already, thanks to the website –” Allrecipes. com currently receives 30 million visitors every month, according to numbers provided by Williams “– but YouTube was something new for us.” So, in 2011, Allrecipes acquired the pre-existing YouTube channel Food Wishes, created by “chef ” John Mitzewich. Mitzewich produces and posts two or three videos a week showcasing how to make various dishes, never appearing on screen

VideoInk: Video Food Fest


symbiotic relationship.” As part of the Allrecipes team, Mitzewich said he provided “a lot of critiques and consulting, quote-unquote” on the company’s approach to their YouTube presence. “We were able to learn what content resonated for the YouTube audience,” Williams said. “Because if you’re not creating content that people get excited about and want to engage with, you’re not going to find success.” In addition, Mitzewich shared his insight into the way food video in general was evolving, and the best strategy for creating it. “A lot of my input went towards making the videos feel personal — with less of that corporate voice-over style,” he said. “If you want people to like it, it’s got to have that personal touch. If it has good ratings and viral sharing, it’s because it doesn’t sound like the Kleenex voice-over person. I think that’s just the trend of all food video online.” What Food Wishes provides is a YouTube-friendly brand that supports Allrecipes’ other content — which is why it remains

a separate presence from the official Allrecipes channel. “If you ran [the two channels] together, you’d risk diluting that brand experience,” Williams said. “It’s a very different audience with a different expectation of the content they want to view.” And the existing fanbase also needed to be considered: “Chef John has built a following, but he’s also built a community, and YouTube is where they wanted to interact with each other.” The main Allrecipes YouTube channel doesn’t necessarily have the full force of Mitzewich’s personality, but that’s due to a difference in audience and approach native to the nature of When the typical home chef visits Allrecipes. 27

com, they are coming to the site, in Williams’s words, “at the exact point of need” — at that moment, they’re trying to solve a problem or tackle a challenge in the kitchen, and are looking for help. However, on YouTube, Williams said “There’s less immediacy of intent — there’s more browsing.” That’s why Chef John’s Super Bowl prediction videos, which use chicken wing bones to guess the winning team in advance, wouldn’t play well for Allrecipes — but have nearly 100,000 views on the Food Wishes channel. The main Allrecipes channel isn’t doing too bad, though, numbers-wise, with over 200,000 subscribers. And according to Williams, Allrecipes receives more comments on its YouTube demonstrations than on the main site. However, “the types of conversation occurring are different,” she said. “They might watch food and cooking content without intent to prepare — it’s more about fun. The entertainment factor can be stronger on YouTube.”

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

“Epic Meal Time”

As we recently reported, the guys at “Epic Meal Time” have partnered with Collective Digital Studio to produce “Epic Meal Show” on the FYI Network.


Teaming up with Ryan Seacrest Productions, Tastemade’s co-founder Steven Kydd has yet to reveal the exact nature of their made-for-TV content.

Everyday Health

This digital media company founded in 2002 started out creating online content for various big health brands. By 2012 the company launched a version of its YouTube shows “Recipe Rehab” on television.

Nadia Giosia of “Bitchin’ Kitchen”

Now airing on the Cooking Channel every Friday, Nadia G’s “Bitchin’ Kitchen” started out as a web series.

Aaron Franklin of “BBQ with Franklin” “BBQ with Franklin” on the web is set to launch in early 2015 on KRLU with national distribution on PBS.

VideoInk: Video Food Fest



ith the internet becoming an increasingly popular platform for former TV stars to share their cooking secrets with the public, we decided we would give you a short breakdown of those that have made the foray into new media. Of course, some web foodies have made the opposite move as well, cementing that the home screen is still a fashionable venue for culinary entertainment.

Martha Stewart

With “Martha Stewart Living”now streaming on Hulu, she’s certainly established her corner of the web.

Anthony Bourdain

You can see plenty of Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel’s online branch now. “Anthony Bourdain’s Alternate Universe,” launched in October 2009.

Mario Batali

Batali just announced a deal with Dailymotion to star in a new music-and-food series, “Feedback Kitchen.”

Jamie Oliver

Oliver now has his own YouTube channel (“Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”), showing howto’s and Oliver’s meals for the day.

Gordon Ramsay

His channel, simply titled, “Gordon Ramsay,” advertises new videos each week, and clearly delivers.

The list goes on, including major foodie celebs like Paula Deen and Bobby Flay, who all seem to recognize the internet as a happening place to showcase your recipes. On the other hand, fewer food personalities on the web have been able to make the leap to TV. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an appetite for some of the web’s biggest chefs in what we like to refer to as “traditional media.” 29

VideoInk: Video Food Fest

Video Food Fest  
Video Food Fest