Meet Tastemade, The YouTube Network For Food Lovers

As YouTube networks go, there are some that are designed to attract talent from all over the spectrum, and then there are those which focus on specific verticals. With that in mind, Santa Monica, Calif.-based Tastemade has become the leading next-generation video network for foodies in just 12 months.

We visited Tastemade as part of our tour of Los Angeles digital media companies emerging to ride the “next wave” of video viewing online. Like Machinima, Tastemade is focused on a single group of viewers: the company fancies itself as a lifestyle network for food lovers, gathering up creators who have built their followings around their love of cooking (and eating). It also has its own regularly scheduled programming that it creates for the network, in the company’s custom-built studio space.

The Tastemade space used to be an old MTV Studios production studio back in the day, according to co-founder Steven Kydd. In that space, the company has built out five different sets that it can film in, including its ‘Brooklyn Kitchen’ set (which is about five times the size of any Brooklyn kitchen I’ve ever been in), a cooking school set, and even one that looks just like a fancy cocktail bar. Behind the scenes, the company has also built a sound-proofed prep kitchen for chefs to use to actually cook the meals that they’re showing off on camera.

While the space can be used to film on-demand episodes of creator cooking shows, Tastemade also uses it to host live filmings of certain programs and events. For instance a live “Japan week” in which it filmed episodes from a bunch of Japanese creators cooking and collaborating with each other.

So why food? Tastemade was founded by a couple of former Demand Media executives, who wanted to work on building a new media business, and themselves are passionate about food. It’s also a hugely monetizable business, and the team wants to build a huge brand online, in the same way that big cable brands emerged a few decades ago.

“We believe that just like 25 years ago, some of the biggest brands in cable were formed in those early days, that same opportunity exists today on digital platforms,” Kydd told me.

Watch the video above to learn more about Tastemade and what it’s doing. And be sure to check out the rest of our series on the new YouTube economy, with videos released every Monday and Wednesday over the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s the whole series that we’ve put out so far: