Popular blogger helps viewers get food on the table
Updated: 2016-03-08 08:08
By Liu Zhihua(China Daily)
During the recent Chinese New Year celebrations, many Chinese had the same dinner menu, as they followed a recipe and cooking direction from a video that taught them how to prepare a delicious celebration feast for their families, leisurely and just by themselves.
The video was an episode of Amanda Tastes, a Chinese-language cooking program on China's leading video-sharing websites, such as Youku and Tudou. It's also on YouTube with English subtitles.
Amanda, a young Chinese woman, demonstrates how to prepare and cook foods - and how to make meals good-looking and tasty.
Each episode of the program often gets hundreds of thousands of clicks. Some get millions. Many fans and followers say that they like to watch the program because Amanda makes cooking easy and enjoyable for them, even if they once considered cooking complicated and tiring - or if they just got cold feet in the kitchen.
Many fans would be surprised to learn that Amanda once trained to become a scientist.
Born in 1983 and named Li Ruowen, she earned her bachelor's degree in medicine from China's top-rated Peking University, and studied cognitive neurology for a master's degree at the prestigious University of York in England.
She was fascinated with cooking since childhood, and while living in England she found herself missing the flavors of home. So she learned to cook dishes she liked most.
In 2010, she started blogging about her cooking on Sina.com, and soon attracted a growing band of loyal fans, including many Chinese living abroad.
Later, due to the limited expressive potential of words and photos, she started adding videos to her blogs.
In May 2013, she started working full time to make and upload cooking videos on Youku.com, and soon began using the name Amanda Tastes.
In May 2014, the series was launched on YouTube.
With about 120 episodes so far, the series has won the hearts of many food and cooking lovers, as well as video awards, including the 2015 YouTube Silver Button Award.
Her popularity also attracted the attention of TV production companies, including the US food and lifestyle video network Tastemade.
Together with Tastemade and a Japanese TV station, she launched the new series Amanda's Izakaya late last year, focusing on Japanese fare.
With the money earned through video-sharing website ads and investment, she has been able to hire a team to make videos of high quality.
She says she has no regrets making cooking her career, and her science education background helps to some extent.
"I like to read extensively, and I like to think about cooking, such as the chemical and physical changes in the food," she says.
"I love cooking and I'm lucky to have figured out what I really want to do and can make a career out of it."
(China Daily 03/08/2016 page19)