Home / Food / Make money on You Tube – start your own cooking channel
How to make money from You Tube - start your own cooking channel
Guy from Bondi Harvest

Make money on You Tube – start your own cooking channel


Today I will look at how to make money on You Tube via starting your own cooking channel.

Ok, so you have produced a couple of cooking videos, created a You Tube Channel and uploaded the videos to the channel.

The next step is to join the You Tube Partner Program. The program expressly allows You Tube to place advertising in, on and around your video content. Google makes money from the views of these ads and partners can earn a % via a Google Adsense account.You can also earn money through brand sponsorships, paid channel subscriptions and selling merchandise. You Tube states that there are over a million channels in the Partner program.

Anyone with a You Tube account on a good standing with Google can become a You Tube partner. You do not need a minimum number of video views or subscribers at this stage to join the Partner program. (NB: You do however require +10k subscribers on your channel for Google to allow you to have paid channel subscriptions).

In addition, the content must meet the You Tube partnership guidelines, which revolve around owning the copyright to all content material used in the videos and not being seen as offensive.

How much money can I make?

Share of Advertising Revenue on Channel = (55% You Tube/45% Creator) * advertising revenue

NB: Typically, the advertising revenue can be anywhere between $0.30 and $2.50/1000 *monetised views (CPM rate) but can go much higher for the larger channels.

* – Some views can have advertising turned off or blocked by Adsense or also won’t be seen on mobile phones.

Paid Channel Subscriptions = (55% You Tube/45% Creator) * # of subscriptions * $/subscription

Brand sponsorships and selling merchandise directly are obviously negotiable and highly dependent upon the size and type of channel on a case by case basis.

How to get more views and subscribers? – Key Checklist

Thus the key to increasing the amount of money you can make is increasing the number of monetised views on your channel. The more views on your channel, the more likely you are to also command an increased advertising CPM rate.

Below is a key checklist of those factors to consider.

1. Offer a unique concept or try and own a niche that nobody is servicing. Alternatively be one of the first to cover a certain topic area. In 2013, this has become increasingly hard to do. A lot of the most successful channels started very early and have built a consistent following over time. Be sure that your channel if successful will be copied.

2. Pick an area where you will be able to develop lots of content, a series without repeating yourself or running out of material after a month or two. Map out a content plan for the first 6 months at least.

3. Post updated content, at least weekly to keep your audience engaged and build up your audience over time. Perservere. It does take a lot of time, energy and resources to keep doing this and it is easy to give up after 2 – 3 months if you are not getting the views and subscribers you were hoping for.

4. Listen to your audience and be receptive to their feedback. Some of the best content ideas can come from user comments. Video content based on viewer suggestions and feedback is a great way to engage those viewers and encourage them to be your advocate amongst their own social media networks.

5. Offer related content but it should be complementary to your main video content. Think of your brand as a utility on that topic. Does the content add value to the user on that topic?

6. Keep each video short, preferably a maximum 10 minutes. Even on more serious education topics it helps to break down the material into bite size chunks. Not many people will bother waiting for a video on their mobile phone to download if it is over 10 – 15 minutes long.

7. Make it simple and easy to digest. Lets face it most people want to learn a quick new tip or a new problem solving idea.

8. SEO – For titles and descriptions. Make it easy for people to find you.

9. Impactful thumbnails. Make people want to click on you.

10. Enthusiasm, passion and integrity. This will overcome modest production values and presenters who aren’t blessed with good looks. (In cooking anyway, maybe not fashion and beauty tips).

11. Promote and amplify each post on social media constantly – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Blogs etc…

12. Clearly communicate to your audience when new videos will be posted. This way, they know how much communication they will receive before they subscribe. They will also see how committed you are to the channel. Why bother subscribing to a channel if there is hardly any new material being posted.

13. Above all make it entertaining and fun. Otherwise something else more entertaining and fun is only a click away.

Below are some examples of Australian based cooking channels that illustrate these points.

Cakes by ChoppA

Launched in Feb 2011. 60.9K subscribers. 112 videos posted.

Theme – Unique movie and game character decorated cakes.

New video posted every Friday.

Whilst there are many many cake decorating channels, this channel makes very unique decorated cakes. The editing turns something plain and simple into a time lapse fast paced and entertaining short video. Without an onscreen presenter and just a voiceover, it is smart to keep it short. The end result is strong enough to speak for itself.


One Pot Chef

Launched in 2007. 151k subscribers. 458 videos posted.

Theme – Traditional, homestyle and forgotten recipes cooked in one pot.

New videos posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This channel has a very high output of three videos per week. As one of the early cooking channels, One Pot Chef has built up an impressive subscriber base. His success can be attributed to understanding his audience’s wish for simple everyday no fuss recipes in one pot that don’t require a lot of cleaning and washing up afterwards. Aussie Griller is another channel with a similar appeal that focuses on recipes for the BBQ.

In keeping with the theme, David Chilcott comes across across as an enthusiastic down to earth presenter and the channel has modest production values. His success has enabled him to sell cookbooks now on ITunes. Here is a link to my interview with David where he was able to share some of the secrets of his success.


Bondi Harvest

Launched Jan 2012. 11k subscribers. 54 videos posted.

Theme – Seasonal recipes from Bondi. A passion for food, fun and outdoors.

New video posted every Thursday.

The concept is novel rather than unique. Mark and Guy are a couple of surfing buddies. Guy is a trained chef, whilst Mark is a filmmaker. This show would be more expensive to make with higher production values and more talent involved. The show shoots on location at times showcasing the attractive beaches and surrounds of Bondi in Sydney giving it an energy and appeal of a travel show that differentiates it from other purely in kitchen cooking channels. The presenter/s are also attractive and engaging which adds to the aspirational appeal of the show. It will be interesting to see whether interest in this channel can continue to be built and sustained. They also build on their profile by hosting pop up cooking events in Bondi, Sydney.

Update – Aug 2014

The profile of Guy Turland of Bondi Harvest is rising quickly. Two weeks ago, Guy cooked in front of a live audience iin New York City for the Today show on NBC.    I love his quote from the SMH article.

“I’m still pinching myself and wondering how this all happened from two buddies making videos in our backyard.”


Update – Dec 2014

Guy Turland and Mark Alston have now opened a Bondi Harvest restaurant in Sydney at Westfield Bondi Junction.

Update – May 2016

Their star continues to rise, opening Bondi Harvest Cafe in Santa Monica, California


Hayden Quinn

Launched in Aug 2011. 940 subscribers. 38 videos posted.

Theme – Live Life, Eat Well, Travel Far.

No clear communication on when new videos will be posted.

Hayden Quinn is an ex MasterChef contestant from series 3 in 2011, who to date has only 940 subscribers. It shows that having a profile on a high rating television cooking show doesn’t directly translate into having a ready made audience and subscriber base on You Tube.  There doesn’t appear to be a distinctive theme to this channel which maybe reflects the modest subscriber numbers. The introductory video describes the recipes as being exciting, different, fun and healthy. The tone of the videos seem to be about promoting Hayden and his cookbook Dish It Up first, rather than being primarily an educational experience. With each successive series of MasterChef it will be harder and harder for ex-contestants to stand out and differentiate themselves without an unique idea.

Update – Nov 2014 

Hayden has just launched a new series on Foxtel called The Dinner Project, in conjunction with Meat & Livestock Australia. Comprising six half hour episodes, the series involves Hayden travelling around Australia, visiting reluctant cooks to inspire them to cook full stop. And when they do cook, to cook more interesting everyday meals.

Jackie M

Launched in Mar 2009. 901 subscribers.

Theme – Learn to cook Malaysian food.

No clear communication on when new videos will be posted.

Jackie is a Sydney chef and media personality who used to own a Malaysian restaurant of the same name, which she closed in 2013. On the positive side, Jackie is passionate and very knowledgable about her subject matter. On the negative side the channel theme is not really unique. There being many how to cook Asian incl Malaysian food channels. Some of the videos are way too long. They appear to be virtually all raw footage and need serious editing. The first minute of the video in the link below is a case in point. Videos on topics such as how to peroxide your hair don’t really fit with the theme of the channel. There is also over the top and unnecessary branding in the videos, in some cases obscuring what she is making on the bench.


Jordy’s Cooking

Launched in Nov 2011. 13.6k subscribers. 30 videos

Theme – My favourite foods and recipes

Jordy is a Brisbane based journalism student, who not only has her own cooking channel – Jordy’s Cooking, she also has 2 other You Tube channels. These are Jordy’s Beauty Spot and Jordy’s Life. These two channels have 17k and 2.5k subscribers respectively.

Jordy has proven that despite having no unique channel theme nor any obvious chef or cooking qualifications, having passion, enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject, you can still build up an impressive subscriber base.

Interestingly, her posts on Jordy’s Cooking and Jordy’s Life are becoming less frequent. Her main focus and time now appear to be devoted to Jordy’s Beauty Spot, where she has posted over 156 videos by comparison.

In addition to the above Cakes by ChoppA, One Pot Chef, Aussie Griller and Bondi Harvest are also part of the aggregated Tastemade network on You Tube which currently has over 252k subscribers and shows over 100+ food and cooking channels.



by Konrad Markham

Tips for Improving Digital Marketing

About Konrad Markham

Check Also

How to beat the burger competition | Skipping Girl Takeway

It seems the popularity of the burger in Melbourne just keeps on growing. You would …