Scrolling through Facebook, it’s pretty often that we see someone commenting on, or resharing a post from Buzzfeed’s Tasty page.
The appeal of the videos lie not only in how aesthetically-pleasing they are, but how they somehow make everything seem foolproof, furthering fuelling the fantasies of those who haven’t stepped foot into a kitchen to think, “Hey, I could probably do that too.”
But if you know anything about cooking, you’ll realise how there seems to be important ingredients lacking, or steps that are skipped over (like boiling uncooked pasta together with the sauce) for the sake of snappiness.
Not all hope in cooking videos on Facebook is lost, though, because there’s a long-hidden gem that I’ve been faithfully watching since a few years back.
The MeatMen is a Facebook page (they also publish their videos on Youtube, though their main source of views are from the former) that creates cooking videos that aren’t just a feast for the eyes, but their recipes are also ones that your Masterchef mum would approve of too.
The best part of it all? They’re from Singapore, so the recipes are ones that every food-gobbling Singaporean and Singapore dweller is familiar with.
This isn’t the first time we talked about them, though.
Back at the end of 2015, the team of 4 (all men, as suggested by their name) were making 84K Facebook users drool in front of their screens, and they hinted at their plans for “something big […] which may soon become a full time gig”.
Fast forward 1 year, and their Facebook ‘likes’ have swelled 400% to over 346K (and counting).
We were curious to find out about the team’s progress since the last time we spoke, so we got in touch with them again, and The MeatMen’s Chris shared with us more about the Men behind the MeatMen:
Catching Up With The MeatMen
Why “The MeatMen”?
During our NS days, our team member JJ had the nickname of being known as ‘Meatball’, so when we were brainstorming, we thought “The MeatMen” was great idea as all of us love eating meat.
Where did you all learn how to cook, and who comes up with all the recipes?
We learnt to cook largely from books, the internet, TV shows and experimenting. JJ comes up with most of the recipes.
Are there any other channels and chefs that you get inspiration from?
Yes of course, there are so many places to get inspiration from, not just on a recipe level, but also how the videos are being presented! From other Youtube cooking channels, TV shows to books, ideas are literally everywhere.
How many of you are there on the team, and how did you all decide to get together to start this project?
The team started with 4, but there are about 6 of us now. We decided to start the project for the simple idea of getting together once a week to eat, drink, and have fun.
What were some of your most memorable videos? Why?
It will have to be the Sio bak video – it was the first video that we end up finishing the whole 4kg of the Sio bak on that day, and had to make more again as there wasn’t any left to bring back!
From the last time we covered you, you’ve grown 400% in terms of page ‘likes’ on Facebook! How do you think you’ve managed to gain such an impressive leap in slightly over a year?
As we made the transition into turning full time since the last interview, we have also since built ourselves a kitchen studio, and had time to create much more content at a more consistent schedule.
Optimising our recipes for mobile and creating stuff that appealed more to the demographics of our fans also helped.
From what I can see, the video style has pretty much remained the same so far – were there ever any plans to change it?
The plan was to create more recipes, then change the style, as we have realised the root of our following was still about creating recipes that are easy to do at home for our fans.
Has anything changed from then till now in terms of production process and team size?
We expanded our team’s size of cooks and production team – if you noticed, there are some videos whereby the hands look different.
Back in 2015, there was a hint that The MeatMen would soon be a “full time gig” with an “actual revenue plan” – are your collaborations with brands like Weber and Heavenly Rice, and published cookbooks with Marshall Cavendish part of it?
Yup, as we transited into doing this full-time, we managed between revenue plans as there are actual overheads, and also chose the kind of collaborations that are in line with our directions.
Are there any more upcoming collaborations or new projects we could potentially look forward to seeing?
We are in the process of planning for new types of channels for different topics related to food – from playing around the idea of food stories, to stories about types of [food] that are slowly disappearing.
Expanding the types of recipes are also in the plans, like different Asian recipes and also baking recipes.
Why the decision to start a brand new channel, Whisk n Fold, solely for baked goods?
We want to create a channel that has [a different approach] and also, we realised that there’s a large demand for baking recipe videos.
Any other plans for the new channel?
The channel is still in its infancy, so for now, the focus will still be on producing more content to grow the page.
Book publishing deals with an international publisher aren’t easy to clinch at all – how did that happen?
We were lucky to be approached by the publisher. It had always been a project we thought of trying out.
What are your wishes for both channels in the next 2 years or so?
We hope to be able to become a platform in Asia that fans come to get ideas on what to cook for the day, and share their ideas and views on.
What gives you the most satisfaction in the whole process?
The thing that give us the most satisfaction is seeing the recipes being recreated and the fans sharing it with their loved ones.
Any words of advice for aspiring home cooks, or those looking to create their own channels?
Do it for the love of cooking, not for the numbers. It’s really important because when you start out, that’s what sustains you.
We thank Chris, and the MeatMen team for their time!