Big plans in the works for China's office chef Internet sensation
China's Internet sensation, the office chef, is branching out to stay relevant
Many know Ms Yeah for her quirky cooking videos where she uses office supplies.
The 23-year-old Sichuan native, whose real name is Zhou Xiaohui, never expected to become an Internet sensation after she uploaded a video of herself cooking beef slices with an electric iron on Weibo, China's microblogging servicein January.
She went on to gain an international audience when she started posting her videos on YouTube, which is blocked in mainland China, in February.
Ms Yeah has since garnered 3 billion views across cooking videos, with more than 780,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Though some may wonder whether the novelty of "office cooking" will wear off, do not be too quick to write Ms Yeah off.
She said: "Cooking in the office will eventually get boring, so my team and I have been diversifying our content to stay relevant."
They have branched out to topics such as beauty and make-up, where Ms Yeah created a make-up look using food items as part of a sponsored video for a facial mask brand.
In the video, she used tomato and arbutus juice as lipstick and a chewed-up marshmallow as a sponge to apply powder made from glutinous rice flour. Ms Yeah said with a laugh: "It felt strange to see our video being ranked number one on YouTube for the make-up category even though I am not a beauty expert."
Sponsors are lining up to have their products featured in her videos. It costs 500,000 yuan (S$103,000) for a product feature for each cooking clip.
She is in Singapore for six days and spoke to The New Paper at the Content Summit 2017 by GRVTY Media at Novotel at Clarke Quay yesterday, where she discussed how the office chef Internet sensation was orchestrated. Ms Yeah, who works at creative company Onion Video as an online content producer, said: "I saw a male colleague walking around topless using the electric iron on his shirt.
"Somehow this made me think about how people cook beef on electric grills, and I wondered if I could cook slices of beef by placing an electric iron on them instead. I was inspired and my first video was born.
"I never expected it to go viral or get the positive reception."
She added: "When we first started the Ms Yeah series, it was just me and my colleague in a team. We spent many nights in the office working on the videos, which were shot on an iPhone. It was a challenging but meaningful experience."
She emphasised that Ms Yeah is more than just a food channel, it is also a platform to showcase products creatively.
Ms Yeah has worked with brands such as Huawei and Volkswagen, and will be collaborating with Alibaba for the upcoming Singles' Day, an online shopping event in China.
The road to Internet fame has not been easy. She and her team, which has grown to six people, often spend nights in the office to meet their tight schedule.
Her team is made up of two programme planners, a cameraman, an editor and a colleague who buys the ingredients.Ms Yeah is in charge of planning and directing.
She said: "Initially, we were proud of the success that we garnered online, but gradually we felt quite stressed because being number one means that there are many others following closely behind.
"We also have to set a good example for others by creating quality content."
Shooting some videos have also been dangerous. Ms Yeah burnt her hands and part of her eyebrows when she filled her hands with soap suds and set it on fire to grill fish.
Despite the challenges, Ms Yeah enjoys the quick pace and looks forward to filming more videos with her team. They are discussing incorporating other elements into videos, such as a talk show format.
She said: "There are a lot of creative possibilities for us to explore, I could even go to the South Pole to cook in the future."