Since childhood Frank Phạm has nurtured a passion for cooking. The turning point of his career came when he decided to study Culinary Art in Singapore. Photos courtesy of Frank Phạm.
As a Vietnamese pioneer of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) YouTube cooking videos, Frank Phạm (Phạm Thế Phương) inspires people around the world to stay calm and enjoy their meals through his wonderful cooking, creative camera angles and realistic cooking sounds.
With 383,000 subscribers and 211 videos, the future looks tasty for this 28-year-old chef. Việt Nam News reporter Hoàng Hồ spoke with Phạm about his career and views on food.
Inner Sanctum: Tell us more about your channel ‘Culinary Frank’ as well as the style of your videos?
Before deciding to make ASMR cooking videos, I tried many different styles but it wasn’t until watching Ryoya Takashima's YouTube channel ‘Peaceful Cuisine’ that I found my path.
His videos induce love at first sight, due to the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere he delivers to viewers. His videos are not only well-shot with clever camera angles, but also bring incredibly realistic cooking sounds such as the sizzling of frying or the clanking of pots and pans. For me, these sounds convey emotion and recall familiar memories.
I decided to learn from him and have been applying this style to my videos ever since.
Inner Sanctum: What made you decide to become a YouTuber?
This comes from one of my great desires, showing everyone that cooking and eating can be calm and relaxed without the rush of this bustling and busy life.
I always believe that a delicious meal can be useful especially when our lives are always so hectic. If possible, I recommend that you take a moment to cook a complete meal for you and your family. It's a way to appreciate yourself after a hard-working day.
Inner Sanctum: What were the difficulties in the early days of developing the channel?
Besides being a content creator, I’m also a chef working in a Western restaurant in Australia. I work 50 hours a week in the kitchen, so I found it really hard to balance my time for filming and editing my videos, as my schedule is extremely strict.
For the sound recording, I often had to re-record many times because the microphone was too clear, picking up too much noise. If there was a little sound like a baby crying, falling rain or a car horn, I had to wait until things became quiet to continue recording.
After much hard work and dedication, my YouTube channel reached a new height with the “Dong Po Pork” video that hit more than 142,000 views. I was very happy and proud because my efforts were finally recognised. I think that moment made me feel more confident in the path I had chosen.
Quality videos require quality recording equipment.
Inner Sanctum: Having cooked dishes from many countries from around the world, what do you think is the special feature of Vietnamese cuisine that makes it stands out globally?
I love Vietnamese food, not because I'm Vietnamese but because our country's cuisine is very delicate.
The foods are harmonious in colour and flavour, which transmit different feelings when eating. Almost everything was carefully calculated by our ancestors to become special dishes, which were then passed down among many different generations.
For me, one thing that makes my international friends fall in love with Vietnamese cuisine is the freshness. Most Vietnamese dishes have vegetables and combinations of herbs with fresh ingredients. With the healthy eating lifestyle becoming much more popular, it has really helped our country's cuisine to be more well-known than ever before.
Vietnamese Braised Lemon Grass Chicken made by Frank.
Inner Sanctum: In the Disney cartoon “Ratatouille” there is a saying: "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere." Do you agree with this point of view as applied to your profession?
“Ratatouille” inspired me with a lot of valuable lessons. I believe that anyone can cook, but how to do it is another story. Some people are lucky to be born with gifts, but some will need time and hard-work. For instance, in the TV show ‘Master Chef’ all of the contestants are from different professions, but with a passion and dedication for all-things culinary, they are able to become great chefs. VNS