Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
Looking for something to cook tonight? Laura Vitale has you covered. Vitale has brought her brand of Italian-American cooking to YouTube, where she posts recipes on her Laura in the Kitchen channel. With Vitale’s guidance, viewers can learn how to make everything from cookies to pasta to pizza. Her satisfying eats have helped her channel become of the most popular instructional cooking shows on YouTube. It recently passed a million subscribers, so we asked Vitale about her methods, her presentation, and, of course, her recipes.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to have one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
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Laura Vitale: It feels pretty amazing! Aside from people enjoying my recipes, it’s great to know that there are a million people who hit that subscribe button because they wanted to see even more! I would let them know that none of this would have been possible without them and I’m not in this alone, it’s all of us together!
TF: Why did you decide to start a cooking channel on YouTube?
LV: I wanted to share recipes with anyone who was willing to watch. It was technically my husband’s crazy idea to build a studio kitchen and start filming cooking videos for YouTube. I never thought it could have turned into what it has. It went from me creating and sharing recipes to this amazing community of people with similar interests and passions.
TF: Many of the popular cooking shows on YouTube are outrageous ones like Epic Meal Time or My Drunk Kitchen, but your channel is a much more traditional cooking show. Why do you think this approach has worked?
LV: This is a great question, and I get it a lot. Viral content on YouTube has performed very well for years, and as time has gone on, people have realized there’s a lot more to YouTube than viral videos. It’s a place where you can learn just about anything that you don’t already know. I think my content works because it really appeals to the everyday person, we all need to eat and we all want to eat good food. Most people are intimidated by cooking because they think it’s a ‘perfect art’, but in reality the food that makes us feel better than anything else we eat is simple home food. That’s what my channel is all about!
TF: How often do you make dishes on your show that you’ve never made before? How do you handle these unfamiliar recipes? Do you test them out before filming?
LV: I’ve never made a recipe for Laura in the Kitchen that I haven’t tested in advance (or known for many years). It’s very important to me that the instructions are clear and there are no surprises on set. I want to make sure that the final result is something I really enjoy and would share with family and friends. It sometimes takes time to develop and tweak a recipe to get it just right before we decide to film and upload it.
TF: You upload multiple times a week. Does the amount of cooking you do each week ever get overwhelming?
LV: I try to post a new recipe every other day, so this means lots of testing – pretty much all the time, and long shoot days! I really enjoy cooking so I don’t mind the long hours, and I work with my husband so the entire experience is so much fun!
TF: Your channel description says you “focus on Italian cuisine,” but many of your most popular videos are pastries and other dessert foods. Why do you think fans request baked goods so often?
LV: I think people are more intimidated when it comes to baking (as we all know, baking is more of a science) than cooking because it’s a bit more involved. I try very hard to break down the recipes to the basics that anyone can follow. My goal is to get people to understand that you don’t have to go to a fancy bakery to get a good cupcake, cannoli, or croissant. These can all be made at home in your own kitchen. I understand that just the thought of making these seems daunting, but if you watch my videos, you’ll see that they couldn’t be easier to do! My viewers tell me that I take the mystery out of making baked goods.
7. What’s your favorite recipe that you’ve shared on your YouTube channel?
LV: My favorite recipe is a very special one to me. My favorite dish, since I was a child was my nonna’s homemade gnocchi. I wanted to make sure that when I shared this recipe I did it in the most special way. That meant going back to Italy, in my nonna’s kitchen and making them with her. It’s my favorite episode to date!
8. Are you trying to use your YouTube success to launch a career on other platforms, such as TV?
LV: This question comes up a lot. A lot of times people ask if I’m going to ‘move to TV’, I explain it like this. I don’t want to ‘move’, because that sounds a lot like relocating. I want to extend my career into TV so I don’t abandon my YouTube audience. Think of it like buying a beach house that you spend a lot of time in, but you keep your main home that you built with your own blood, sweat and tears.
9. What’s next for your YouTube channel?
LV: 2 Million Subscribers!! I’m focused on continuing to grow my channel, dish out (no pun intended) some more amazing recipes, and hope to do a few different things like field segments and maybe a little travel to share a bit more with my audience.