Social media maven and internet personality Claudia Yuskoff preps, seasons and serves her Mexican-food videoblog, Mmm, Me Gusta, to hungry viewers everywhere via the Web and popular social networks.
Based in Long Beach, Calif., Yuskoff uses old family recipes as her springboard for a short and sweet internet cooking show. On camera, Yuskoff is a giggling, cocktail-making, salsa-preparing hostess. She boils it down, making the preparation of green chile and cheese tamales simple. She also films, edits and casts her cat Missile as an extra.
Within the first months of the show, Mmm, Me Gusta has garnered media attention from the BBC and has gained viewership in 12 countries.
Enlightening viewers and readers on Mexican cuisine, Yuskoff’s endeavors win high marks from Austin Vida. In its purpose, Me Gusta reminds us of the Austin-based food blog Taco Journalism.
Yuskoff started Me Gusta after losing her job in the recession. Life gave Yuskoff lemons, and she made limonada—and filmed it. There’s a lesson in her story that we can learn from in these tough economic times.
In an e-mail interview, Yuskoff opened up to me about her show, her love of social media websites and, most importantly, comida!
What inspired the title?
Yuskoff: It’s what goes through my mind after devouring delicious food.
What is your favorite Mexican dish?
Yuskoff: Entomatadas. It’s the dish that starred in the first episode of Mmm, Me Gusta.
How has the internet and the influence of social media impacted your show? How do you shape each show?
Yuskoff: The Web culture fascinates me. I love that anyone has the power to publish content without any major financial backing. I wanted to be a content creator of some kind; creating a show about cooking made the most sense. I’ve been told that I’m feeding a social network and the thought of that brings a smile to my face.
Can you attest to the so-called “power of the social media?” How did you gain popularity for the show or did it just happen?
Yuskoff: Absolutely. The show has grown a following organically. I have not spent a dime on advertising. Social media is about engaging others and building a loyal community.
Episode #10: How to Make Tamales
Your website alludes to many days cooking alongside your sisters as a child. What do you remember about these experiences? Any smells in particular? Any good memories?
Yuskoff: That picture is me as a child and my two older sisters. I’m the kid in the Tony the Tiger tee. The smell of Maza makes me all giddy! The recipes on the show are meals that I grew up with. We were a family of eight and I was fortunate enough that my mother took the time to make her family incredible homemade meals every day. Her recipes warm my soul. This show is a tribute to my remarkable mother. If you are wondering who my mother is she was on my “How To Make Tamales” episode. She’s the adorable, shy one with all the talent.
You lost your job in the recession, what happened?
Yuskoff: Like 15 million other Americans, I lost my job during the recession. The economy took a turn and it happened. I’m not alone. I try not to concentrate on the loss of the job but on what I’ve gained through that period of my life. The job loss led to a flow of creativity and the birth of Me Gusta.
Circling back to the recession, somehow you ended up here. How?
Yuskoff: Motivation. Motivation. Motivation.
Was there a specific book or dream or album you were listening to that led to your epiphany about developing this website?
Yuskoff: Food led me to the creation of the show!
A lot of what it so likable about your show is that it is so accessible to all viewers. No fluff. It is simple to watch and the recipes are simple to make, yet delicious. Are some recipes, in a sense, the result of conversations or requests from viewers?
Yuskoff: Thank you. The recipes are family recipes. As the show evolves, I’d certainly be open to collaborating with my viewers on recipes.
What is the timeline behind each episode and how does it come to fruition?
Yuskoff: This is a one-woman show (outside of my cat Missile and the sexy tripod). I cook and film at the same time, and do all the video editing. The show takes a few days to produce.
New episodes are posted every other Tuesday. Judging from your biography you are a woman of many hats, so what is happening between those episodes with work or play on a usual basis?
Yuskoff: I like to keep myself busy. I am the founder of a Los Angeles-based community called Eats & Geeks. LA digital peeps + good eats + awesome 2.0 discussion = EATS & GEEKS. Just imagine Twitter Meetups, but with homemade food. The group is on Facebook. We meet every other month, and anyone can join. I’m on the board for the Orange County Advertising Federation as Social Media Chair. And I’m growing a social media consulting business.
Lastly, any shout-outs?
Yuskoff: To my husband Kevin, my amazing Mexican family, kitty Missile, my buddies—and to all the Latinos that love pepinos con chile!