How "SORTED Food" Became The Internet's Favourite Cookery Show

    The short story is you pick up over a million YouTube subscribers by cooking some absolutely amazing food, but there's more to it than that.

    If you like food, and you aren't subscribed to SORTED Food's YouTube channel, you need to fix it right now.

    The channel has become super popular for its creative and decidedly delicious recipes, such as these burger cupcakes.

    The channel was set up by 27-year-old Jamie Spafford and three of his schoolfriends from Hertfordshire – Barry Taylor, Mike Huttlestone, and Ben Ebbrell – back in 2010. It started as a hobby and is now a serious enterprise that's making millions of pounds.

    BuzzFeed News got in touch with Spafford to hear his thoughts.

    Spafford told BuzzFeed News there's a simple reason it's been so successful: "We have a laugh."

    I think there's something there that's quite relatable about a bunch of mates cooking together, plus we look at food from a very casual angle and try not to patronise or talk down to anyone like a standard chef on TV would, which I think really helps.

    We asked him if this level of success was always part of the plan.

    He said:

    Plan? Haha! There was never a plan for this to become a "thing", let alone a career. It started as a hobby and then all took off fairly quickly. … When we started getting comments from people that we didn't know who lived around the other side of the world from us, we realised that it could have an effect that we hadn't previously considered. … All we needed to do then was find a way to make it work so we could do it full-time!

    Part of the show's success has been due to its creators' willingness to interact with their audience.

    Spafford said:

    YouTube comments are probably the most conversational as they're completely public and anyone can join in. … We see loads of people actually helping each other and answering other people's questions in the comments section, which is quite unusual on YouTube!

    And what are Spafford's thoughts on healthy eating?

    He said:

    Early next year we're actually launching a series around health and nutrition and how it affects your body. … We're talking to some sporting heroes, beauty experts etc to see how their success is affected by nutrition. In general though, we tend to find that the old saying "everything in moderation" still works really well.

    One of their best tricks is making homemade versions of restaurant food, like this Nando's chicken.

    As Spafford says: "There comes a real sense of achievement when you can make a dish that you’re used to only ever eating out at a restaurant or buying in a packet. … You feel like you’re cheating the system somehow!"

    One of the most interesting things about SORTED Food is that only one of the group has any culinary training.

    Spafford feels this is something of an advantage:

    When you watch a cooking show on TV, you're always left thinking, "That's all well and good, but I'm not a chef, how can I do that?!" The three of us, who aren't trained chefs, are much more likely to ask the questions that people watching the videos are also wanting to ask and can show how easy cooking can be.

    Thus far, Spafford and his team have avoided moving into terrestrial television.

    It's interesting to note that TV chefs like Jamie Oliver are now pouring money into their own YouTube channels. Spafford feels that SORTED Food is perhaps setting the shape of things to come:

    TV has always been and continues to be a fantastic way to reach a lot of people at one time and we'd never say never, but increasingly the online world offers a lot more in terms of reaching people worldwide, interacting with them in real-time and doing it how you want, when you want to, with minimal equipment and expense!

    Many online creators now have audiences that outweigh TV show viewing figures for these reasons and more, so I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes more of a trend!

    Spafford cites this "Milkshake" parody video as one of his favourites.

    And two of his other faves are ultimate tacos ('food porn") and the classic chocolate tart.

    Spafford says the boys "want to get out of the kitchen and explore the foodie world much more – any idea where we should go?"