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Saturday, April 20, 2024

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CHEFPK In Conversation with Ali Raphael

Just a month or so ago, while I was at Rose City Comic Con 2022, I was lucky enough to get the chance to sit down with the widely known and very popular CHEFPK! I think this is by far the most fun I had in talking with a guest and getting to interview someone before and can’t wait to see what comes next for him!

  1. TCC: How did all this start for you?

Chef PK – Oh, yeah that question. I do remember it pretty vividly though, so it came down to, I’ve been cooking my whole life and when we moved up here from San Diego. I started going from kitchen job to kitchen job, because I was so burned out with hotel work, that I decided I didn’t want to go back to hotels after I left San Diego. So managing hotels and all that, I said okay let me try to find something else to do. Pretty much became a personal trainer for a year and I left food entirely, did that for a year. I hated it and I realized I just liked exercising vs. teaching people how to exercise. So it’s kind of a different thing. Then I went back into cooking, where I wanted to learn how to make ice cream. And I’m super curious about stuff like that, so I worked for Salt and Straw for a little over a year, and was helping them make all their ice cream. That was a lot of fun, after that. We ended up moving a little further away from work, but I also decided I wanted to learn how to make bread. I started working for a sourdough bakery in Oregon City, they were a place I would also frequent and just pop in and kind of buy whatever I wanted. And I was like it would be fun to work here, and so I got a job there and that was super fun. About a year into it, as I’m learning everything. I also had a YouTube channel during all of that, but it was all about prop making and like cosplay. But, the problem is that the YouTube beast has to be fed often. So you can’t just do one video a month or something for cosplay, and like make it a sustainable living. And I knew I wanted to do video’s somehow, and I loved all these things. I loved the impact you can have on YouTube. 

There was another guy I follow (Roberto Blake) and he talks about something called Akagi (I think I’m pronouncing it wrong), but it means ‘A system where you think how can I make money, what am I good at, and what do I enjoy doing’. And for me it was like, well I enjoy anime, I can cook, and you can make money on YouTube. So I threw on a chef coat I had, that I didn’t wear in the kitchens anyways because it wasn’t that kind of place and I turned on Crunchyroll and I saw FoodWars. Then I just started reacting to FoodWars, and I put it on the internet. Then someone found it and put it on Reddit, and it kind of just blew up from there, because of how Reddit works. Saw that happen, based the whole FoodWars thing and enjoyed it, did all the reactions for it, it was a good time. But, after a while I realized that that’s not sustainable. Because you’re basically making content on a finite product. Right? When you think about it from a business sense, I wanted to start making the food from the show. Because I have all this cooking knowledge and I may as well apply it, right? Vs just reacting and talking about it. I started making a few recipes here and there and I was doing it super part time, just putting up a niche video for a couple of days. You know, it wasn’t too crazy, because the recipes weren’t over the top. Every couple of days I would put up something and we were able to make enough where we were able  to go on a vacation, with a little bit of the YouTube income (which wasn’t very much at the time). Went on vacation, this is March 2020 and that was when the pandemic hit. We were literally in Scotland on the 13th of March, when our President and our Government said “hey we’re shutting everything down, you might want to come home”. So, it was literally like the scene from Home Alone, where they’re all running through the airport, but it’s the whole airport running. Get on the plane, come back home, after being home for a week I ended up losing my job because it was a restaurant. So they were like we have no one to feed because no one can go out, nobody knew what this was, we didn’t know if this was the zombie apocalypse, whatever. Lost my job and I was very fortunate to have built a smaller YouTube at that time and with Patreon and a few other things. We were able to cut back, I sold my car, got some money out of that, helped pay the bills, whatever. And just started going fulltime on YouTube and what I saw was this immediate dip, like very little money coming out of that and I just kept grinding away at it. Eventually found our groove, and what I realized was I just enjoy doing video more. 

I love cooking, but I love the video process too. So I began these two things I really enjoyed and that was kind of the YouTube quick journey of it. If that makes sense, where I have felt that without that I would have no creative outlet, cause now I can be super creative, I can do it on video, I can come to events like this. I had to make a very big decision last year, where I deleted all of my food reaction stuff because I realized I wanted to work with conventions like this and for better or for worse and they’re never gonna invite someone who makes reaction content. But, an anime chef? Yeah, that makes sense. From the kind of zoomed out lens I wanted to be an anime creator, but with food. And I don’t think that exists on the internet really yet, and that’s where I really wanted to take it. Like how do we take this really cool thing and in a relatable way with an anime audience, because my question to a lot of people was, if you’re a chef (who I love hanging out with, a lot of my friends are chefs. They may not like anime, but a lot of anime fans like food), so you have to go with one or the other and I decided no, I love the anime community anyways. And I’ve grown up with anime my whole life, longer than cooking. So let me go with that and let it be an anime focused project that we can build over time and then serve the community in a very different way than just talking about anime or manga or anything like that. Like do it this way. And the end game, with all the YouTube stuff is to eventually have my own eatery or food cart at conventions and be like hey this is for the anime crowd, like if you know you know. Right? Like this is from My Dress-up Darling or this is from this and they get that little, oh my god I get to try this and I love this show or whatever. Seeing that reaction is the best, so that’s kind of where we’ve grown from. Literally a side hobby to a business now, and it’s been a blast. I can’t believe it’s been three years now that I talk about it.

TCC: Yeah when I came down, Vivi said you have to interview and talk with CHEFPK and you’re going to his panel right? I was like yes I saw it, I haven’t heard about this before, and she was like it’s because you’re here on this side area. Northwest does not know for some reason. 

PK: Yeah, like AnimeExpo, because it’s the Mecca. When we were there, it was literally insane. I think our auditorium held 250 people and I think seven or eight hundred showed up and I was like “I didn’t know”. Like I had no clue that was going to happen, but the anime communities are very strong communities, where they feel like they belong in a way. Like all of us want that, right? So for a show like Rose City Comic con, the anime scene isn’t strong here yet. But, that’s probably gonna change because the anime fans are taking over. Whereas if you do like Sakura-Con, it’s just anime fans. So you kind of see that ebb and flow, but I very much think we are going to see more of the anime side of content coming to every single convention, just because it’s unstoppable right now. Like it literally made more money than Hollywood last year.

TCC: Yeah they said during the pandemic, even still now they cant keep the manga books in print, because they’re running through them. I was just talking to this local Barnes & Noble over here, and they have the best selection of manga I have ever seen in my life and the worker said that it’s their highest sales here, 78% of our sales.

PK: Oh my god, of the store sales?!

TCC: Yes of the store sales.

PK: I didn’t know it was that hard.

TCC: I think it’s just location, that’s what they do. I told Viv I’m going back there before I leave and I’m just going to stock up on books. Because I can’t get most of these, I tried ordering from their website and after two months they canceled my order. They also said the anime too, these past two, three years have been the best years because it’s just been everything going crazy.

PK: Yeah everything’s going crazy, Demon Slayer had this insane mainstream media push, which kind of pushed Jujutsu Kaisen to do insane numbers and now SpyXFamily doing insane numbers. And I think that anime has always had a crazy run, right? But we have been in this weird lull, where there weren’t a bunch of heavy hitters until 2018,2019. And it hasn’t stopped since then. Where back in the day it was like the big three of Dragon Ball Z, Bleach and One Piece. No, I’m sorry. Naruto.

TCC: It’s kind of a shift. It’s like those four keep popping up, same with HunterXHunter. It comes and goes when it’s not on hiatus.

P- Right, but now we’re going into October and we have Chainsaw Man coming, Bleach is coming back, which is insane. Like Mob Psycho season three is coming back, we have the second season of SpyXFamily is coming back. Fall is going to be insane, like I can’t even. I don’t even want to think about the videos that I have to make. Like My Hero Academia is starting again, season six in the fall.

TCC: Yeah it’s getting dark and we’re getting to the last of it. I’m reading it right now and I’m just like, I’m nervous.

PK: And those are all huge heavy hitters and what it reminds me of is that peek. But, I don’t think it will stop because One Piece is going to be going for a while. One Piece has basically carried…

TCC: Well, the author just took a break, came back and said okay I figured out how it’s going to end and we are now at the end. But everyone says that could be 20 years.

PK: Yeah it could be 20 years! Or it could be five years. If you look at the cycles of it, kind of in this broad sense right? You had, kind of this lull period where there wasn’t a bunch crazy releases and you have this really hyped series of all these things we just talked about. I can see a lot of these series ending, like I can see Demon Slayer ending soon, Jujutsu Kaisen still going to be going strong for a bit, but then like you have Dragon Ball Super. I don’t know how much longer that’s going to go (it’s going to be there forever). Bleach. You’re basically gonna have the back bone, which is basically One Piece for the next five or six years potentially of them just doing One Piece content, but what I find interesting is the people who are still watching that are my age, I’m 36 this year, but then you also have people who are 15 or 16 growing up watching One Piece, right? And you see this ebb and flow, that’s why I think the anime community will never really age up, kind of how when you look at the Avengers or when that second Avengers movie finished . I don’t even know what’s going on now in the MCU, I lost all interest. But, I’m still binge reading One Piece, you know. It is what it is. You can’t ever drop it.

TCC: I think you see a lot of new younger viewers.

PK: You are.

TCC: And it’s great, they’re finding it for the first time.

PK: eah the anime community isn’t going anywhere and I think it’s only going to get stronger. Like we’re trying to figure out a way to best serve that community, like in the literal sense of serving food to that community. 

TCC: And Like Jojo’s, I love that it’s got a resurgence of the old manga back in the day. I saw the older original volumes and they’re going for 500 a piece.

PK: That’s insane to me.

TCC: I’m like oh my god.

PK: I don’t even want to think about that. Nope. no thank you. That’s wild.

TCC: But it’s great, they’re doing all the stuff and the streaming sites are getting it. It is weird that Bleach is going to be on Disney+ (Note: it’s on Hulu, but false information was given ahead of time for multiple different streaming sites would have it.)

PK: Disney+, because they’re not going to simulcast it. 

TCC: and it’s not going to be shown anywhere else.

PK: There’s a lot of discourse around that like why it was sold to Disney, probably because it was a huge chunk of change and Disney knows how popular Bleach is. But Disney is trying to build its anime repertoire. Here’s the other thing with anime fans, we can be very cut-throat . It is like, do not do a disservice to Bleach because we will have fan sub’s, we will just not support your product. Like, it’s crappy to say we’ll watch fan subs and just buy the Japanese blu-ray’s or whatever. Where at stuff like Crunchyroll, it’s out. You get to watch it pretty much immediately. Even if it’s on Netflix, Netflix just release’s it week after week without fail, which is really cool. We don’t know what’s going to happen with Bleach on Disney+, I’m kind of scared.

TCC: I think they bought it. I was talking with the English voice actor of Ichigo at Sakura-Con, and he was really excited and he has been waiting for the call for so many years now to come back and do it. But, I also think because the author keeps teasing that he might continue the series. Once he did like the special anniversary on the Viz Media app, an extra chapter. It shows the kids meeting and old foes showing up and all the parents coming back. Everyone’s like, what are you pulling because we want to see more.

PK: I love Bleach, Bleach is so good. 

  1. TCC: Can you expand a little bit on the step you did in your panel? Because how did you come to those steps and do you think it would be easiest for people to follow through on? Or just you know?

PK: For me, the steps that I presented in the panel. Those different rules. Taste everything, experiment, feed people that kind of stuff. It’s me at a base level being super curious. Like what do things taste like, why can’t I get that, how can I make it. Like I’ve always been that way and so I tried to best convey that feeling to other people. Where my brain works very differently, because I’ve been cooking for so long. 

For instance, My Dress-Up Darling, they had an episode where they’re walking down the street and Marin wanted that giant rice ball with the meat, after they literally just ate ramen. Gojo is just like what the hell are you doing? How are you still hungry? She’s like, I don’t feel full till I’ve eaten rice. I’ve never seen it before, I had no idea what it was called. I’m literally on Google typing in, meat wrapped rice ball from Japan. I see a few things pop up, the way it was in the show was not how it’s normally made. Normally it looks like a sushi roll, and then it’s wrapped in meat and then wrapped in rice and they sear it off with a little bit of teriyaki sauce. I just wanted to experience what that tasted like, it’s exaggerated, it’s an anime. She’s taking a bite out of it and she’s acting like its the best thing on the planet. Yes, it does look like the best thing on the planet, how do you go about that? It always just starts from that curiosity. Seeing something, if you want it, how do you get to that place? 

That’s just the basic steps and a lot of it just starts with google. From my own experience, okay that looks like steak wrapped over rice. That means I have to cut super thin, I might have to use a semi frozen piece of meat to cut it super thin or go to my butcher and say hey can you take a slice of meat and slice it for me. I know that the rice can’t be that hot because if I wrap meat over hot rice, it starts cooking in a weird way. You have to think about those things and those steps. I know that, but a lot of people don’t. For me I’m trying to explain it in a way to be curious about the things you want to experience and just how you get to that destination. That’s all it really comes down to for food. It’s even when you want to go to your favorite restaurant, or a new restaurant. Oh this place looks really good, but the journey there is just getting there and ordering the food. There’s nothing else involved. 

Whereas with cooking, it’s all of these steps to get there. But, realistically it’s just you going from A to B and then experiencing it and maybe trying something else later. With that same rice ball, we made a version of it where we stuffed it with pickled plum and it was so much better. But, she didn’t have it that way. But, I knew what it tasted like because of a FoodWars recipe I made years ago, so I was like oh my god, you have the fatty steak with the really thick teriyaki sauce and some acidic content from the plum. Everything just ties together, now i combined two different anime and made it into one dish. Now it’s one of my favorite things. It’s all just about being curious. Its my tagline i guess, keep playing with your food. I still hold true to that, where sometimes I’ll try something and think this was hot garbage. I will never make this again. But I’ve experienced it and know I don’t like that. For me, food leaves a very lasting impression, where once I’ve tasted something I can kind of imagine the taste when I pair it with something else. Oh, this tastes has a very salty content or a really acidic content, or it’s sweet or it’s creamy. That might go good with that other thing I had last year, and then I’m like okay will these go together? Sometimes I’ll write the recipe down, like this is stupid, it’s not going to work. I’ll write it down and be like oh my god this is a banger. It just comes down to being curious. That’s all it is, with everything we talked about during the panel. 

TCC: I was like this was fun, and every time I hang out with Vivian I always try to do something different. Like we did hot pot when she was in town for ECCC, and I never knew this was here in Seattle. Although, none of us knew how to cook and it didn’t turn out how we wanted it too, but I told my friend who can cook, that she’s coming with us during Sakura-Con to cook it.

PK: Yeah and even then, there are shortcuts. For a video I recently did for CyberPunk, it’s like a chicken and rice burrito recipe. It’s literally chicken thighs cooked in canned green salsa, which is 0.60 cents a can. Roasted in the oven with some hatch green chilies which are literally out of a jar. Nothing crazy, and it was paired with homemade tortillas or buy them and some cheddar cheese and rice. It’s amazing. It’s also like $1.50 to make. People sleep on the canned stuff, because oh it’s out of a can, it’s not going to be good. But the flavor you can get is insane, like the scales are tipped. Too many people get intimidated, because oh I have to make the salsa or go butcher my own chickens  for some reason. I’m like no you don’t, literally buy a can of green salsa and make your food. Just go with it.

TCC: Yeah, I got your cookbooks and I’m very excited.

PK: I hope they do you justice!

TCC: I’m not a good cook, I don’t know how to cook. I had to be supervised when I made Matzo ball soup and challah. Unsupervised, we cook ramen very differently in my house, by frying the ramen. And I caught it on fire. 

PK: Oh no!

  1. TCC: Are there any anime that you’ve been really wanting to do? But haven’t had a chance to yet? For their recipes and food?

PK: Here’s my take on that, because it has to do a lot with YouTube. Where sometimes again, you have to feed the beast. If I do something very niche, like lets say I did a video on Air Gear. Let’s say I wanted to make a weird video on Air Gear? How many people actually know Air Gear? That’s kind of what you have to think about. I would love to do stuff that’s a little more obscure, but now the creative process does not become what anime I pick, but how best I represent that anime in a video? An Air Gear example, I could say I tried the Air Gear diet for 24 hours, because I’ve been doing these kinds of videos. What if I go and learn how to rollerblade on a park course, you try to do these things. If there is one anime I want to do something for it would be Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but it’s such a complex anime. That I’m thinking what do I pull from, how do I represent it, how do I make it? It’s such a heavy anime too. When you look at Dragon Ball Z and One Piece, there are what you call, as Joey the anime man calls it, gag anime’s. Half the time it’s mostly comedy, then there’s the fight senses, which can be epic. But really most of One Piece is reading them on their wacky adventures and it’s very fun and it’s lighthearted and you can have fun with it. Then when you think of some of the heavier anime’s, how do you even represent them? For me, I think some of the older stuff, I might do Cowboy Bebop soon (because I love it). It’s still really popular. But then when I think about the YouTube beast because October’s coming, I have to do a Bleach video. While I still love Bleach, my first cosplay was Ichigo in Mugen form. Really the first cosplay I had. I need to do a Chainsaw Man video, I have to do Mob Psycho video, a My Hero video. I’ll probably do an All Might/Deku style diet. Have to do a SpyXFamily follow up, those are things that have to be done. Those are things I’m excited to do, but they need to be done for the YouTube beast. That’s all a part of content creation and I missed one of those. I’m literally shooting myself in the foot. Today’s video was a CyberPunk: Edgerunners video, because StudioTrigger is releasing their anime on Tuesday for it. I’m all about StudioTrigger, one of my favorites beside Maapa and I’m like I was excited to do it. I love CyberPunk, it’s my aesthetic. My colors are based off the neon lights, so I had to come out today to get ahead.

TCC: They are my favorite, like Kill La Kill is in my top anime.

PK: Kill La Kill is amazing!

TCC: Yes! Thank you! I went to a panel once, and they said it was their apology after Gurren Lagann. Then I watched Promare, and I’m pretty sure they did that one too. And I loved Promare.

PK: Promare was awesome.

TCC: I just loved the colors.

PK: Exactly, I love that art style. Even that weird Disney Star Wars thing that happened with anime. You could tell which episode was from StudioTrigger. I love their art style, and I still loved Gurren Lagann, and I don’t know why they apologized for it.

TCC: I mean it’s good, but it always leaves me so sad. 

PK: I mean yeah. Kill La Kill was just fun, right? Promare is fun, and now that they are doing CyberPunk: Edgerunners? The not safe for work trailer? Wow, they are going in. They are not messing around. But to go back to the question of what anime I want to do? It is some of the older ones that unfortunately don’t do well for video. Sometimes I try to call out, you know, this reminds me of this anime and mention it in another video. That makes sense for my audience, so YouTube is a service industry and you have to serve your audience. If you go into a taco shop and you order a burrito or tacos, and they give you lasagna. Okay, lasagna is good, but it’s not what I ordered and they might not come back. That’s the beast unfortunately. 

  1. TCC: Are there any anime that you want to stay away from? That you don’t really want to do?

PK: I don’t think there’s an anime I would actively avoid, only because I give all anime a chance. I do the three episode rule, where I watch an anime for three episodes and if I can’t get into it then eh. But, it kind of goes back to the previous questions of like, as far as making content for it. Like 86 was an awesome show in the past, like that was a great show. Can I make a video of it? Not really… Maybe if I played it up based loosely off WW2 and ate in the forest or something weird, but then you’re reaching hard. Another recent one I think I would actually like to explore, Lyrics Recoil, it’s the cute girls doing cute things but their assassins. It’s really adorable, but how would I do that, maybe a coffee shop setting? There isn’t anything I would say no to, but it just comes back to how creatively can you express the idea? If you’re forcing it, it’s usually not worth it. Especially, because your audience will notice. It will feel off, maybe it wasn’t as genuine. Maybe you’re doing it just to do it, because I’ve done that. I didn’t care for it and neither did my audience and it shows. So I try to do what’s best for my creation side and I’ll just enjoy it on my off time. Again, I watch Haikyuu!! Every other month when I’m on the treadmill or whatever, I just rewatch Haikyuu!! Cause it’s all hype. I still have only made one Haikyuu!! Video and it was horrible, cause I love Haikyuu!! And I’m going to make a volleyball bake, it was stupid. But, now that I have more knowledge. I’m thinking what if i try one of the characters diets and go train at a school and try to learn volleyball and all this other stuff. That makes it a little more exciting. So, I’m trying to explore ideas, because you don’t want to run out of them and want to sustain everything. You also want to explore the idea that your audience also likes.

TCC: It would be cool if you also do the same volleyball shots that they do, when trying to hit the water bottle.

PK: See that’s a great idea! I didn’t even think of that. Like I want to explore more and more, but I’ve watched so much anime and tell you at this point what I haven’t watched. Or if I’ve seen something, you’d have to explain the premise then yes. I’m from the era of anime where you had to download from community sites. I don’t think there’s any anime I would avoid, but again would some of them be worth it? You’d have to stretch to do some and other popular ones, do you even see them eat? Again, I wouldn’t say no to anything, but at the same time some stuff I would say that is a no for content side. 

  1. TCC: Do you ever do polls on your sites to see what videos fans would like to see next that you have been thinking about doing? When you’re not in a rush to get certain ones done.

PK: If I don’t have anything to worry about right away, I will try to ping my community. But, a lot of what I do, is still dictated from season to season because anime is so seasonal. Sometimes, there’s nothing really striking in a season and I have to think, do I make a One Piece video? Do I do a different challenge of some kind? That’s how I like to look at my entire content creation side.

  1. TCC: What are some of the things you really want your fans to take away from your videos and panels?

PK: The easiest thing is to have fun with food and not be intimidated by it, but then also find your ‘why’ to cooking. It could just be for sustenance, that’s totally fine. But, for a lot of people it’s not that. I would say about 95%, it’s not just to sustain yourself. Especially the anime crowd. They want the fun noodles or the fun recipes. Or they want to go get hot pot, or they want to go get Korean barbecue, they like food. So for me, I’m hoping to break a barrier with a crowd who is like me growing up. When you wear a Dragon Ball Z shirt to school, you get made fun of. Right? That’s still kind of a stigma right now, but I want it to be an ice breaker where maybe you have a small group of friends that are really tight knit and you guys have your own dinner party. Somebody makes one thing, you make another thing, maybe it’s from a show. Maybe it’s not, it doesn’t have to be. But, it’s being able to tell people that it’s okay to mess up. That’s why I show mistakes in my videos, I mess up all the time. Yes, I’ve been cooking for almost 20 years now, and I mess up every day. It’s okay to do that and I want to try and show that you don’t need to be perfect to cook. You can make as many mistakes as you want, as long as you learn from them and then continue to have fun with it and not get intimidated by it. I try to hopefully convey that the best way I can through all of my, all of whatever this is. And get people to cook for other people! Because it’s way more satisfying than just cooking for yourself.

  1. TCC: What are your plans for the future of ChefPK? What are you aspiring to? I heard you talking about a food truck, are you thinking maybe tv? 

PK: Oh god no. I’m a man of the people! YouTube only! I would definitely never do television unless it’s just being a guest of some kind. That’s not my vibe, because YouTube is more personal. I can edit it in ways I want to, I don’t have to answer to anyone for the most part, which is really nice. But as far as me, because I know that with all content creation you’re on a timer. I actually still love the food industry, but now I see it in a very different way. Where I’m hoping to be either a part of or own my own convention that’s heavily food focused. I would love to have an anime first convention, cosplay friendly, heavily cosplay friendly. But, then a bunch of Japanese food stalls, where everyone can come and have a good meal. Take photos, go explore, go do whatever and it’s not like… We all know convention food, I would like to bring other eateries to the scene. Like if we’re out here in Portland, how many local eateries can I bring in? You know? How many food trucks, how many places can come in a cook. And not have convention center food. Cause we all know it’s just there to sustain yourself and that’s not fun. You want to sit down and have a meal that you’ll remember. For me that’s the next goal, is to hopefully have my own convention.

TCC: That would be really cool! When you talk about bringing in other stalls, I just immediately went to any high school anime when they have school festivals.

PK: That’s exactly it! Have you seen My Dress-Up Darling? 

TCC: I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but just started reading it.

PK: Okay, that’s your homework. Just watch it, it’s peek. Right? It’s super cultured. But, like you said in Food Wars they have the Moon Festival, where they have their own stall and stuff. Basically that, in real life. They have quite a few in Japan. But I want it to be convention level. More like cosplay is welcome, you don’t need to be formally dressed or anything. You can be in whatever you want. But, make it to where the fans can come and be with their people. Like that’s what you want, cause it’s a lot less intimidating. Cause then you’re like, okay I’m with other fans and I get to get a good bite of food and maybe we can gush about our favorite anime. That kind of thing. I want it to be food focused, so that’s the next step and we’re looking at that for the next four to five years? Which still seems like a long way away, but for something like that it comes very quickly. 

  1. TCC: Have you thought about doing any bigger cookbooks? With a publisher, even Viz, or anime inspired recipes?

PK: We are working on books three, and I do have a potential publisher. Book three is actually going to be a year and a half to two years out. It is a long process once you get a publisher, cause there is a lot of red tape. But, the benefit is that they help you put the book out. But, the way we’re looking at this book, is like you said. I have this opportunity as a chef to create new anime inspired recipes vs just ripping sea salt ice cream from Kingdom Hearts. Instead of just doing that, well what if it were the sea salt ice cream from Kingdom Hearts, but instead of sea salt we introduced some kind of different ingredient (chocolate or whatever you wanted to do with it). Maybe like you said, instead of a straight up Food Wars recipe, we combine the two. So we’re trying to make this book modular, where you can take a rice dish from this recipe and say, in the notes, that this rice version of it works really well with this recipe on this other page. Then that gets people saying they want to combine these things, i want to have it paired with this drink or cook it in this way. Cause then it’s the whole playing with you food, just go ham. Try all the things. But, what that also does is now it’s not just 60 recipes, now it’s a thousand recipes because you just combined a bunch of stuff together. That’s how I eat, just combine everything you can.

  1. TCC: Is there any advice you’d give to people wanting to start out cooking/anime or otherwise? 

PK: If you’re looking to do anime specific dishes, I would say find your favorite anime. Because you’re going to be the most attached to it and pick it apart in a way, where is there a food scene you found or a food you see that you maybe want to try? Because it will give you more closed boxed direction vs making whatever you want. No focus in, put yourself in a box and say Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is my favorite anime. I can’t look at anything else, block out all the noise. In FMA there’s like four eating scenes basically, there’s Winry’s apple pie, make that. That’s awesome. There’s an end scene, where they’re having sandwitches, that kind of thing. Make some cool Japanese style sandwiches, go do some research on that. It will get you to start exploring stuff. Then you can start building your own knowledge of saying well I really like the pie dough from that recipe, but I have a bunch of blackberries. Just make blackberry pie, you’re not going to hurt anyone’s feelings. Do what you want and make something you want to eat. 

A big thank you to CHEFPK for sitting down and talking with me! If you want to check out his videos and recipes, I’ve added all his links below! Do yourself a big favor and check them all out, I promise you won’t regret it!

Website- https://www.chefpk.com/ 

Youtube- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSeV-Noh_oPwSAANj8olh6Q 

Patreon- https://www.patreon.com/foodfightacademy

Twitter- https://twitter.com/CHEFPK3

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/chefupk/

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Ali Raphael
Ali Raphael
Ali is a professional workaholic but likes to add more to her plate by reviewing comics/books/ tv shows/movies and anime. In every other waking moment, she breathes books, manga and anything Marvel. Every day she wishes she was a Part-Time Avenger, instead of a full-time Target employee.

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