Ever wish your husband or boyfriend would get off the couch and make YOU dinner once in awhile? Perhaps he is a klutz around the kitchen putting salt in the sugar bowls. Well, there may be hope yet.
Her name is Tifa and she is an internet sensation. She has men rushing home and whipping up delicious meals for their significant others in no time. How did she do it? Well, read on and find out.
How did you come up with the idea of doing your own cooking show
Well, I have always loved cooking and my friends kept telling me that I should open a restaurant because my food is so good. I thought about it, but truthfully, running a restaurant is hell and then only a few people can try your food. There are times when your employees don’t show up for work, or times when you buy too much food and then it doesn’t get eaten. Then one day while I was looking at Youtube, I saw Marina Orlova and her HotForWords channel on Youtube and I thought, hey, I can do that too, but for cooking. I found out that the name HotForCooking was still available on Youtube, so I got it. I’m sure our viewer demographics are quite similar and It’s a fact that she started the HotForSomething trend on Youtube. Marina is pretty and she makes learning things fun. I know that many people are scared to try cooking or trying new things in the kitchen, so I hope I can show them that cooking can be fun and not so hard to do. You don’t have to do a lot of measuring or planning. So now instead of serving up a few hundred meals a day in a restaurant and getting really tired, I now serve up over 50,000 meals a day on Youtube and I make money when I’m on vacation or even when I’m sleeping. I get over a million and a half views every month. I could never cook that many meals in a restaurant. It’s really very gratifying and I do enjoy all of the wonderful and kind comments.
What types of food do you like to prepare?
You can see from my videos that I like to cook lots of interesting things. Most of my food is fried in a wok which comes from my Chinese upbringing, but a few things are baked in the oven like my yummy salmon. I don’t just cook Asian food. I have a spaghetti and meatballs video coming up soon. Here is a secret… in some of my videos, I tell people it’s made with pork, but actually, I often use ground turkey. I prefer ground turkey because it’s much more healthy with less fat. It’s a good substitute for ground pork or ground beef, and mostly you are tasting the sauces and herbs anyway. It’s actually the texture that is more important with meat rather than the flavor. If you don’t believe me, try making sloppy joes with ground turkey instead of ground beef and I think you won’t know the difference. So how do I choose what to make in a video? well, sometimes I just look in the refrigerator and see what ingredients I have at that time. LOL Some of my recipes you see on Youtube I tried for the very first time in the video like my Turkey Snowballs video. I had never cooked Turkey Snowballs before I did that video. How I chose to do that was because I went to the bakery outlet store and bought way too much bread and so I had an idea to make meatballs covered with chunks of bread. It’s very yummy, you should try it. Don’t eat that one every day though, it’s pretty greasy. It’s a good recipe for party snacks where you share it. Another good recipe for party snacks is Bacon Rolls.
Your audience is mainly men, I would assume, because of your… errr… ummm.. sizable assets but do women watch your show too?
It’s OK, you can say it. Boobs. Yes, I know they are huge; it’s a genetic thing, what can I say? In fact I’m sure a lot of guys are surfing for boob videos on Youtube and then they stumble upon my videos and get to learn something by accident. I hear that all the time with comments like.. “I didn’t come here to learn how to cook but your food looked so good that I decided to try to cook it too and I loved it.” Of course, many viewers of my videos are female. Some videos attract a higher percentage of women than other videos do, but if you average out the data from my total video views, you will see that I have about 10 percent women viewers which is still a lot. Right now, I have close to 10 Million total video views, so that means that 1 million of them were women viewers. I have many kind comments from women who have tried my cooking and liked it. Yes, I do joke a lot when I cook, but if you try to cook some of my recipes, you will discover that they are seriously yummy. Oh, I recently got to show my videos to my family in China. They thought it was very fun and clever. My mom liked my Rou Bing recipe very much and my sister thought my Halloween video was too crazy, but she liked it. They had not seen my videos before because Youtube is blocked in China.
What kind of comments do you get? Do you approve them all?
I get all kinds of comments both good and bad. I try to approve as many as possible, but sometimes the comments can be rather explicit, so, in order to keep it family friendly, I do not approve all off them. About 95% of my comments are positive and friendly, but about 5 percent are from people who have decided that I am too far off the deep end of the pool. They can say some really mean things sometimes and it is interesting that many of the worst comments come from other ladies. I don’t mean to offend them. In fact, I think they can learn something from me about how to keep their men interested. You see, most guys are pretty simple in the things they want. Didn’t you ever hear the saying: “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? That saying is not far off, but it’s just missing a couple of big things, that’s all. LOL
There has always been a tie between sexuality and sensuality when it comes to food but few rarely attempt it. Why do you think you have been so successful?
Yes, the connection between food and sex can be very close. At first, my attempts to show this with my videos was very controversial, in fact, many of my first videos were “flagged” as breaking the Youtube rules. Later I learned to put a warning message at the beginning of all my videos. The message includes still images taken from the video with a warning about the content and that seems to have helped for the most part, although some of my videos continue to be flagged into the adult category. This restricts them from being shown to people who have not created a Youtube account with an age of 18 or more. As with any kind of art, being controversial is a double edged cleaver… if you want to get lots of views, you risk getting none. Eventually I had over a thousand subscribers and decided to apply for Youtube partnership and I was accepted on my first try. I now have close to 14,000 subscribers. Subscribers are Youtube viewers who have created an account and have clicked on the subscribe button on my page because they want to know every time I upload a new video.
What does it mean to have a Youtube partnership? Is it hard to get?
Having a partnership with Youtube means I can choose my own thumbnail pictures for each video, have a clickable banner on my channel page and a few other special options. I also get to share in the revenue that comes from those ads that pop up on the videos as well as the ads next to the videos on the watch pages. Google adsense makes it easy for me to put ads on my website too and they deposit the money directly into my checking account so that means I can travel and enjoy my life without having to worry about things too much. Right now, I’m in China visiting my family for several months, but everyday, I’m making money and cooking tens of thousands of meals online… is it hard to get? Some people think so, but really, all you have to do is make sure all the stuff in your videos is your own or is licensed for public use. Youtube is very serious about copyright laws, so even if you make the best video in the world, if you use someone elses music from a CD you bought or the radio is on in the background, your video will eventually get removed if you didn’t get permission to use the music. I get most of my music from Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com and it has the kind of creative commons license which is allowed by Youtube. I also get some sound effects from Freesound.org which has a similar license. I always give credit for these extras things at the end of my videos.
You also add quite a bit of humor to your clips. You really have fun doing this!
I LOVE making these cooking videos and of course I love cooking. I also discovered how to add the flying ingredient and animal pictures when editing my videos and work those things into the story of my recipes. If you watch my whole video called “Tifa Goes Camping and cooks Curry Fried Rice”, you will see lots of funny things such as the “totally uncensored beaver” which is a picture of a real beaver animal that always gets in the way of my short skirt every time the camera might accidentally show my underwear. It makes the guys mad, but it’s very funny and clever. I also started doing “slow motion instant replays” and other goofy things. In my video called “Tifa’s Elk Steak with Chanterelle Mushrooms…” there is a scene where I’m dressed as an elk and shoot the hunter with a gun. I have added lots of funny sound effects too. It takes a huge amount of time to edit one video. For every minute of video you see, it takes more than an hour of editing time, so it is a HUGE amount of work to make these videos… LOL, I know the guys love that word, HUGE. One of my favorite shows to watch on TV are old episodes of Benny Hill or The Man Show. Those shows have not been on TV for a long time, but they are really funny. I Love that kind of humor, so I try to add it to my videos too.
Any plans for a cookbook?
-> I would like to make a video cookbook and also a calendar, but my first priority is always to make more videos. The reason is that it helps people stick with you and of course videos are the way to reach the most amount of people. Making a calendar or cookbook would be fun, but I think it may be a while before I do that. Also, people like to have those things personally autographed or personalized somehow and that would mean a lot of fussing around with signing and shipping. If I do anything, I would only consider something automatic like Amazon can do with shipping your product directly to the buyers. Youtube also offers pay per view, but I’m not interested in that. I will always prefer that people can see my videos for free.
What are your favorite foods?
Well, I like many kinds of food, but I really like pumalos, cantelopes, watermelon and other large and round kinds of food. LOL
What would you like to see “Hot for Cooking” grow into?
It’s funny that you use the word “grow”. Was that a Freudian slip? I was just asked by masterchefcasting.com to try out for their TV show on the Fox network, but as you know, I’m in China for several months to visit my family, so I can’t fly home unless it’s for a sure thing, so If they want me on their show, I don’t think I need to “try out”. They can take me or leave me, I don’t care. I have been on network TV though. I was featured on the show Rude Tube one time. You can search for “Rude Tube” on Yahoo and you’ll see my video. I’m also now featured in a new German book called Teufelsköche den heißesten Herden Welt which translates to “Devil Chefs, The Hottest Stoves In The World” I’m included in this book with many Master Chefs from around the world, including Bocuse, Ducasse, Witzigmann, and even the former chef of the notorious dictator Idi Amin. All the chefs in the book have been personally interviewed and photographed by the well known journalist Juan Moreno and photographer Mirco Taliercio who have done many articles for the famous German magazine and publishing company, Spiegel. The book is now available here:
I have also met the famous TV Master Chef, Martin Yan. It was an honor to meet him and we made a nice video that you can see on Youtube if you do a search for Martin Yan and Tifa. He is a very nice man and wonderful chef. He has the same feeling about cooking as I do. It should be fun and anyone can do it! Do I consider myself a Master Chef? not really. My cooking may be Master Chef quality, but to be a real Master Chef requires more than being a good cook. You have to know how to plan for different sized groups of people, plan for special nutritional needs for different people, like in a hospital, know how to manage other chefs in a busy restaurant kitchen during a rush time, and also how to prepare many kinds of special desserts and confections and even though I’ve been cooking since I was about 8 years old, I’m not that far yet. I think it takes many years of hard work and professional training to be a Master Chef, but I feel very honored to be featured in a book with them.
Well, Tifa, it was a pleasure talking with you. Where can our viewers find out more about you?
In addition to Youtube.com/HotForCooking, I also have an alternate channel at Youtube.com/CookingMadeSexy and of course I hope people visit my website at http://Tifa.Tv I am also on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and Formspring.me with the name HotForCooking on all of them. I’m always eager to make new friends, but I don’t get on the social media sites very much, so be patient if you are waiting for a reply at one of those places. Thanks for your interest in me and see you online!