Claire Winstanley says YouTube demands authenticity.
Claire Winstanley says YouTube demands authenticity.
Image: KRISTIN WINSTANLEY

Tell me about your channel.

Good Looking and Cooking is about getting people excited about cooking and enjoying the journey of getting to that delicious dish. I want people to cook simply for the pleasure of it. Cooking must be fun first, delicious second - and having really, really ridiculously good-looking food doesn't hurt.

How have you managed to make this a viable business?

It's a work in progress. Slowly, viewers are realising YouTube is about more than just funny cat videos and is a thriving video platform where brands and creators share, innovate and produce real content for their audiences.

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I don't think when you start a new venture you fully understand the scope of what is in store but, as you slowly start to understand the business, opportunities open up in areas you would never have anticipated. Joining the world of digital video content creation was new and uncharted territory.

Turning a YouTube channel into a viable business is about knowing your target audience and then growing it, being confident in your approach and attracting like-minded brands to collaborate in an authentic space.

What do you do on a typical workday?

Consistently uploading quality content is hard work. The crazy thing about starting a business is you quickly become a jack of all trades. I am now a writer, producer, presenter, food stylist, recipe developer, social media manager, business manager, website manager and more.

How did you end up doing this?

After studying film and media at the University of Cape Town, going to chef school and then working as a chef in Hong Kong for four and a half years, I was eager to get into food media here. I worked on the TV shows Expresso and Hayden Quinn South Africa as a food stylist and then presented cooking on Afternoon Express.

When the time came last year to start looking for bigger challenges, the digital bug bit. T

he rigid programming of TV and radio is challenged today by an "anything at any time" culture led by internet services. I knew I wanted to continue talking to people about food and ... to keep up with the times and join the video-on-demand culture - which meant one thing: YouTube.

What is your favourite food to prepare?

Absolutely anything and all things involving cheese. My go-to midweek made-in-minutes meal is simply tagliatelle, a little fresh thyme, goat's cheese stirred through and a drizzle of good-quality olive oil. The goat's cheese melts and coats the pasta - it's outrageously simple and delicious.

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And to eat?

After living in Asia and getting to know the diversity of cuisines there, my favourite thing to eat is most certainly Asian food, starting with Vietnamese.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I wanted to work as a hotel manager. I have no idea why - I guess when you're young hotels mean holidays. Little did I know when I went to work in one in England when I was 18 how much hard work it entailed.

What lesson did you learn from your first paying job?

That what you put out into the world is a direct reflection of who you are - be proud of what you do, and take responsibility for it.

What advice do you have for those wanting to set up their own YouTube channel?

Do it because you genuinely have something important you want to show or tell people. Be honest - YouTube is a brilliant platform to showcase authenticity.

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