Phenomenal Foodies: Interview with Barry Lewis from My Virgin Kitchen
In this interview, Barry Lewis discusses his journey through Youtube, his favorite flavors and his new cookbook.
Barry Lewis has taken Youtube by storm- and for good reason. His cooking channel, My Virgin Kitchen, which he started in 2010 as a method of documenting recipes he tried out for the first time (hence the title) now has over 90,000 subscribers, along with public recognition from British celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver and a newly released cookbook, Dinner’s on.
His culinary adventure began after Christmas dinner, while watching television. “Jamie Oliver popped up on the telly, poaching an egg as part of a bigger dish. So I thought, ‘right, is that how easy it is to do that?’ And for some reason I thought, right, I’m going to pick up a camcorder and start filming – learning to cook online, and that’s how my channel started,” Barry told me during the interview. Every recipe I ever did was me cooking a dish for the first time, so it just grew from there really”.
A former quantity surveyor in the construction industry, Barry has turned to cooking and Youtube full time. What started off simply as a way of documenting new recipes has become a series of not only short, hilarious cooking tutorials, but also full television length episodes (just over 20 minutes), giant food tutorials (e.g. giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup), family friendly recipes and even ‘food fears’ – where Barry tries new foods from different cultures and places.
Despite its success, My Virgin Kitchen is a matter of cherishing a passion. “For was never about growing subscribers,” he says. “To be honest, I would still do it if I had one subscriber. If you’ve got something that you’re passionate in and it shines through, as long as you’re learning as long as you’re happy, then your story will be strong and break through everything else”.
One can make out Barry’s pleasure of cooking by watching a single video. His passion has lead to vastly expanding his repertoire. From poaching an egg, Barry can now make food from a variety of cultures- or even fusion- he cites his sweet chilli chicken Bolognese as a favorite.
Many of his viewers who couldn’t previously boil eggs, were inspired begin cooking. “Confidence is . . . like, 90% of it. It’s just about having a go and picking up a pan,” Barry says. “Take your time and just enjoy it . . . its something to be proud of”.
While Barry dedicates a lot of his time to My Virgin Kitchen, he enjoys “playing tennis and football with [his friends]”. Like any good dad, he loves spending time with his daughters as well. “There’s that life outside out of Youtube. I’ve got to take them to the park and teach Phoebe how to ride a bike for the first time . . . I’m a busy old chap sometimes. And I’ve got to find some time to sleep as well,” he jokes.
Barry doesn’t plan to stop uploading videos anytime soon. But he does have some other food-related ideas in mind. “I’d love to have my own little restaurant or café [where I live] and sort of put my own spin on dishes and try and do something funky”.
From formerly working in construction to becoming a chef in a matter of months, Barry Lewis has inspired people from across the globe and will continue to do so because of his dedication, humor and passion.