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Tastemade is Changing the Way We Interact With Food, One Video at a Time

Photos by Laura Miller via @sidesaddlekitchen

YouTube—fame-maker for how-to beauty vloggers and venue for the irresistibly viral antics of “What Does the Fox Say?” ilk—is also a new outlet for the food world. Tastemade, the YouTube channel launched by Larry Fitzgibbon, Joe Perez, and Steven Kydd in November 2012, aims to connect users through food. Already, the free epicurean network has drawn more than 11 million monthly visitors, who have viewed more than 100 original shows. They include the über-popular “Thirsty For,” a serialized how-to for mixing up mocktails, and the global food documentary “The Perennial Plate,” whose Minneapolis-based hosts, Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, have so far produced 35 videos in seven countries to teach exotic cooking at home.

Now, a San Francisco chef is also making a name for herself. Laura Miller, host of “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.,” got her start with gigs as a line cook in Reno before she began peddling homemade treats at ForageSF’s now-defunct Underground Market. But since June 2013, she’s been making the case for delicious vegan fare with an on-camera presence that’s approachable, down-to-earth, and totally funny—and she has more than 2 million views so far to prove it. “Tastemade gives me a ton of creative control,” says the 30-year-old. “Plus, viewer comments help me determine how to improve each episode.”

“Most of the programs come about organically,” says Jay Holzer, head of production at Tastemade. “We treat each one like a real TV series—if the show is popular, the host is renewed for another ‘season’.”

Thanks to a recent $10 million investment, the company has also developed a mobile app, encouraging users to shoot, edit, and upload their own HD-quality homegrown videos. SF was a test market for users to post one-minute reviews to Tastemade’s Facebook page, and its success led to the app’s worldwide launch this winter. Could you be the next food video star?

This article was published in 7x7's February issue. Click here to subscribe!