Whether you're a skint student looking for cheap and healthy recipes or a young professional wondering what to cook up for a sophisticated night in with friends, SORTEDfood has something for everyone! With over 1.6 million subscribers, SORTEDfood is YouTube's most popular cooking show, and today we are lucky enough to talk to Ben, qualified chef and one of the creators of the channel. Discover the inspiration behind SORTEDfood, more about the channel itself and advice for other budding YouTubers and chefs. Warning: the photos in this article are definitely going to make you hungry, so we would advise you to go and fetch yourself a snack before reading! Hi Ben! How did you come up with the idea for SORTEDfood? The concept came from us sitting around and chatting about our successes and failures at university during the semester breaks. Food was always a reoccurring topic and I, being the chef of the group, would offer simple solutions to the other guys based on their needs. We filmed a few recipes and published them on YouTube because it was a free way to share them with a few more of our friends. In doing so, it opened it up to the whole world and they kind of just caught on… it’s grown from there! Can you describe SORTEDfood for anyone who hasn’t heard of the channel before? It’s the home of the world’s biggest food and cooking conversation for an online generation. As a group of mates we cook and share recipes and food to a huge community of people. We don’t take things too seriously and get up to all sorts of adventures… but food always sits at the heart of it. What makes SORTEDfood special is the fact that everything we do is at the request of our community online who are so incredibly active and vocal with their own knowledge and insight, that they often go on to shape and improve our recipes for their own needs. We learn a lot from them too! Where did you learn to cook and was it something you always wanted to do? I grew up in a very foodie family... at a young age I would loiter around the kitchen and help my parents cook and often took the lead in cooking for the family . I studied GCSE and A-Level Food Technology and then headed to University College Birmingham to study for a Culinary Arts Management Degree. Beyond that, multiple years of putting those skills into practice in restaurants, hotels and private dining environments helped to hone my skills and repertoire, which continues to be expand everyday as we explore new ingredients, dishes and cuisines. Why do you think the channel has been so successful? In all honesty, I think it’s the fact that we don’t claim to know everything. We just start a conversation. That makes our content very accessible because it’s not preaching. We always get our heads together to work out how we can make the most interesting, engaging and inspiring content we can, be that a video about cake, cheese or chopping skills! We always look forward to reading the feedback when it’s published and use that to spark the next round of ideas. Where do you find inspiration for your recipes? You just have to keep your eyes open… you see ideas on menus, in food publications or on other channels and platforms and think “that’s cool… but how would we do it?” Plus, with over 2 million people following us across our social channels we are never short of contributions from them and generally that’s where all the best ideas are generated. If you had to choose one last meal, what would it be? Aaaaah, this is so tricky… It changes so regularly, because I get easily bored of the same stuff and I’m not sure there’s anything I don’t enjoy. Right now… you’ve caught me in a Ramen mood. A big bowl of steaming pork broth with hefty slices of grilled pork, silky fresh noodles and a soy/mirin marinated egg or two! Heaven! True comfort in a bowl and you’re allowed to slurp it!
Do you have any advice for other young people who would like to have a successful YouTube channel?
Make sure you don’t box yourself in too early. Yes you need to define who you are and what your content stands for and what it’s setting out to achieve… but after you’ve published a few videos you’ll start getting some feedback in the comments. Take note. Don’t just do whatever they say verbatim… but think them through and see if they have a point. The constructive criticism can be super helpful to manoeuvre you’re content to an even stronger place.
Do you have plans to take SORTEDfood to the TV or would you prefer to stay on YouTube for now?
TV would be awesome! We’ve done bits and pieces over the years and really enjoyed it and are exploring TV options. However, we’ve always said that it would be in addition to what we do online as that’s our true home and where our community, who make what we do possible, reside. When the right idea, TV channel and time comes to life… we’ll be jumping on that proverbial bandwagon.
Thanks Ben and the best of luck to you and the rest of the SORTEDfood team! :) If that's got your mouth watering and you're feeling inspired, head over to the SORTEDfood channel or website!