Posted by Jeffrey Chuang (Producer of Ask Chef Tony)
Hey, let’s talk about YouTube. My daughter just turned 12 last week. Back when I was 12, my friends and I used to imagine what today might look like. Most of our ideas about “the future” looked similar to Start Trek ( RIP Leonard Nimoy ) and The Jetsons – talking computers, personal spacecraft, teleportation, robots, and video phone calls. I had enough creativity to go somewhat beyond that, but still, looking around now, my vision was shortsighted and the results are very hit and miss – and more miss than hit. A lot of what we predicted actually came true, in some form or another, but often not in the way we visualized. Most of the gadgets used in Star Trek could probably be replaced with an iPhone and some clever apps. But more importantly, the overall feeling, the “zeitgeist” of 2015 is very different from the 2015 I thought it would be. I guess I imagined it would be just like the 70’s but with cooler gadgets with a lot of blinking lights, a robot friend… and shiny metallic clothes.
Film still from “Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women”
And though teleporting would still be cool, the one huge thing that we did not see coming (and what makes 2015’s truth much stranger than fiction) is the totally game changing effect of the www – taking billions of individuals and plugging them in together – a model that has turned the world on its head, and changed our social lives, our business models, our media, and more. A virtual explosion which has resulted in data sharing, networked computing, googling, yelp, social media, wikipedia, wiki this, wiki that, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, crowd everything… and OF COURSE, YouTube, where one day I decided to create a cooking show.
It occurred to me that aside from the cooking, maybe some readers want to know how our YouTube channel is produced, so why not share some of my thoughts on this, perhaps even make it a regular topic here… maybe some of you out there are YouTube creators, or have thought about it. After a camping trip in 2011, Antonino Scarpati and I came up with the idea of Ask Chef Tony, and our first episode was about as simple as possible. I pointed the camera at Tony and he talked about olive oil. Upload. Episode 1. Done. Each new show, we stretched ourselves a little more. Now it’s April of 2015, and here I am helping to craft yet another year of Ask Chef Tony episodes. By contrast, my past has been embarrassingly full of abandoned projects and ideas that never got past my sketchbook, so it’s to my own surprise to find myself here with over 50 carefully crafted shows up on the Ask Chef Tony channel. Something must be working for me. Thank you YouTube.
A lot of factors determine how many views a video will get and how long it will continue to get new views. It’s a continual education for me as I watch some episodes that I expect to do well quickly stall out and plateau, and others that seem to have little promise will unexpectedly take off. I glean some new knowledge each time. I’d love to share in detail all I’ve learned, in future posts, but today what I’d like to do is highlight the few episodes that are personal favorites of mine, but have not gotten their due number of views from the public, mostly because they do not fall into popularly searched categories. We sometimes do episodes that we know may not get a lot of views, but we do them anyway, striving for an authentic representation of the cuisine, rather than just chasing numbers. Still, we hope curious and adventurous viewers may stumble on some of our lesser known gems.
All our episodes are like dear children to me… I’m proud of all of them, but yes, I have my favorites. None of them are total embarrassments (those are buried in the backyard), but, you know, some just turned out better than others. The ones on my list today are kind of like what I consider my quiet, shy, special ones. Yes, we have our big jock popular ones like our Tiramisu episode, or the Octopus, or Kale – but hey, what about little Junior there? Did you meet Pesce Marinato, or Pizza di Macaroni? Oh, he’s charming – maybe you never noticed him sitting in the corner there, but you really should get to know him.
So with no further ado, here is my list:
5.Broccoli Rabe – This episode has actually been taking flight lately, or at least showing signs of life. The public seems to be finding ways to stumble on our video about this awesome vegetable… so hopefully next time it will be too popular to make this list.
4.Pasta with Potato, Peas, and Ham – This is a perfect episode for anyone trying to make dinner in a hurry. It’s just what you need to know, delivered in a no nonsense style. Plus, kids love it. It’s probably not highly viewed because it’s so basic, and not a famous celebrity like “Bolognese” or “Carbonara”.
3.Pasta Pizza – This is a great recipe for leftover pastas. I don’t know why this has been so hard for people to find. It’s still a bit of a mystery to me why this one does not get bigger numbers. The sound quality was a little off, but other than that, it’s an episode that I feel was shot well and delivers a great useful recipe.
2.Roasted Lemon Chicken (Pollo al Limone) – This one also, I feel should be getting more views, and have not figured out why it is not getting found. It’s funny, and useful. Plus nephew Daniel gives an entertaining acting debut at the end. (And even if you think he stunk, it’s still a great recipe)
1.Pesce Marinato (Fish and Seafood cooked in Vinegar) – This one I included because it’s a favorite of Tony’s. You can see and feel his enthusiasm for this dish. I feel it’s one of the most solid episodes, technically. It’s also just a very unique recipe. It does not get high numbers because it’s just not a dish people are aware of, so they are not searching for it. You just sort of have to stumble on it. And you know what else? It’s friggin delicious!
So that is my list of critically acclaimed “box office flops” (me being the critic). Let me know if you’d like to see more posts about youtubing and producing a cooking channel. And also please subscribe to both our site here, and our youtube channel if you want to stay updated with us. Ciao!
Jeffrey, Producer of Ask Chef Tony