Tasting History with Max Miller

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

During COVID, without the Pride and social events, a number of us remembered how much we loooove to eat! Looking for a new kinds of recipes? We have just the thing for you…that comes with a side of history. 

On this episode we chat with YouTuber, chef, and soon to be author Max Miller who, on his weekly show “Tasting History with Max Miller,” gives viewers a look at a historical recipe and explores its origins in a fun and thorough way. 

Max is no stranger to the entertainment business; his early start was in musical theatre and voice acting (you must hear his Iago). He would eventually come to work for Disney Studios but, as for many in the film industry, would find himself without a job because of COVID. What was to start as a fun video hobby has turned into a full-time gig, Tasting History’s audience has grown to over hundreds of thousands of subscribers, with millions, double digit millions, of total channel views and counting. Max has been recently featured in major outlets that include Today.com, Digital Trends, the Rachel Ray show, and the New York Post…and a past issue of Metrosource Magazine – now available on Metrosource.com

We chat with him about becoming a YouTube sensation, what goes into making a video, his love of history, and how to maintain a relationship while busy at work as a social media maven. Hosted by Alexander Rodriguez

This is metro source minis, theofficial podcast to Metro source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favoritepersonalities from the lgbtq world and beyond. Quick, Fun and informative. It'smetro source on the go, out in proud since one thousand nine hundred andninety. What. Hello, hello, hello, this is metro source minis. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez, lead writer for Metro source and avidpodcaster. During covid without prides, without the events, a number of USremembered how much we love to eat a lot. So looking for ways tospice up your recipes, we have just the thing for you. That comeswith a side of history. Today I am chatting with Youtuber Chef and soontoo be author, Max Miller, who, on his weekly show, tasting historywith Max Miller, gives viewers a look at a historical recipe and exploresits origins in a fun and very thorough way. And Max is no strangerto the entertainment industry. His early start was in musical theater and voice acting, and someday you have to hear his EAGO. It's fabulous. He wouldeventually come to work for Disney studios. But, as many people in thefilm industry, he would find himself furloughed because of covid and what was tostart as a fun video hobby has turned into a full time Gig with benefitstasting histories. Audience has grown to over hundreds of thousands of subscribers, withmillions, double digit millions of views and growing every single day. Max hasrecently, recently been featured in major outlets of include todaycom digital trends, theRachel Ray Show and the New York Post and, of course, we wroteabout him in a past issue of Metro source magazine, which you can readthat article at Metro sourcecom. Please welcome Mister Max Mella. Thank you forhaving me. I am thoroughly impressed that you got through all of that withouta second take. I well know was...

...amazing the powers of a hangover,you know. You're just kind of like loosted and you're just like, okay, it's it's a Wednesday, Alexander, it's a Wednesday. Yeah, Imean no judging. Any day that ends in the Word Day is good forme. Week days are a social construct. My cat doesn't know what a Saturdayis, so why should I well, and now you kind of in incharge of your own business. You know, you know very well.There is no day off, there is no kind of time, there's noweekend. You are always working towards the brand. And you know, wehear a lot of people say, Oh, I'm an influencer. You ever saythat? Okay, well, and you know, true influencers never sayI'm an influencer. It's like, if somebody has to say I'm very classyor I'm very funny, truth is probably not. Yeah, yeah, well, I always thought that was kind know weird too, because if you're aninfluencer like that should be secondary to what you're actually doing that made you bean influencer. So tell people that you are a chef for an actor ora content creator, whatever, teme. You're an influencer. I don't know, I like it, I get it all. So you are a chefwho is a youtube star, let's put it that way. But you're actuallya youtube star. At what point did you kind of realize that your youtubevideos were really, really taking off? It was about a year ago,your ago. Last week, I had a video go up and first fewdays it did as it usually does. You know, three or four hundredviews, my friends and family were watching and then overnight twenty thousand views,seventy thousand views, a hundred fifty thousand views and it hit a million views, I think, or close to it, within that week and I went froma few thousand subscribers to a hundred fifty thousand subscribers in five days.And then when I really, though,...

...knew that it was something was whenthose numbers, those numbers, not necessarily, but when the subsequent videos kept doingwell, because there are a lot of channels where they'll have a videogo viral right but they don't know why. Necessarily, I still don't know whyexactly, but it but their next video doesn't capture the same audience orwhatever. So people, you know that one video is kind of an outlier, but and that one video, even for me, is still an outlier. But it kept it kept trekking and moving up. So about a monthlater I was like maybe I get some'm here. We'll have to say.You know, my opinion on that is it all comes from sincerity. Ithink videos that people really connect with it has to come from a very realplace. And so when somebody has a video that goes viral. I thinkthe tendency is to try super hard and to Overdo it for the next one. Right. What I love about your channel, because I'm I'm a hugefan, is you have kept that integrity, that storytelling, that personality. Youknow, some of the bells and whistles have changed and you know,gotten even even better, but the the essence is still the same. Westill feel this like intimate relationship that you're like you're just talking to us abouthistory and having a really good time doing it. But you've been able tokind of maintain this this energy. But what kind of pressure does it takefor you to to keep looking at the views and the subscribers, because nowit's actually your business. It's just not like, Oh, it's nice tohave these followers, this is your business. Yeah, it's it's exhausting, youknow. I mean it's it's a lot to put out new content,but it is exhausting to follow the view count, follow that the subs asthey grow, especially because subscribers, honestly, it's a vanity number. It doesn'tmatter how many subscribers you are. You have, I know, channelswith two hundred thousand, but they get...

...a million views on each video,and then I know ones with three million subscribers getting fiftyzero views on each video. Well, guess who's actually doing better? It's it's it's all about the views, but it's a vanity number that you still follow because you want thatgold plaque or whatever. What's what's disappointing in my what I find disappointing inmyself is that my mood, especially on a Tuesday, hinges on how wellthat video that I release that Tuesday did and I try not to let thathappen, but it does and it's it's just like gotta get over it,especially because it's not it's not fair to Jose my my fiance. It's likeI'm going to be in a bad mood all day because that's video didn't doas well as the last few. But you know, this is the reality, and thank you for sharing that. This is the reality of what peopleon social media or on Youtube have to go through. It's not not allthe GLITZ and the Glamor it's not all the fun and I'm kind of wantto talk to you about being furloughed from Disney. You know, there musthave been a period of time where it was like, Oh crap. Iknow a lot of us in the industry suffered depression and you kind of tookthat time to kind of reinvent yourself on something that you not doing before.Talk to me about how you kind of got through that initial news of I'mfurloughed. What next? Well, it was a complete lockdown of spending money, which I'm so I had actually like bought the camera and and the microphonebefore I was furloughed, and thank goodness I did, because I would nothave I would not have bought anything once I was furloughed. But it alsomade it so for a little while the videos were what do I have inmy kitchen and I will find an old recipe that uses those things, especiallybecause it was hard to find most ingredients at the time. You know,even finding flower was difficult in those in those first couple of months, right, but I think shortage. Yeah,...

...it was crazy. I did getquite depressed and my videos didn't take nearly as much work back then they were. They were a lot shorter, they were easier. I was always talkingabout stuff that I already knew about, so there wasn't a lot of researchto do, and that left me with a lot of time to sit inmy bed and watch British TV all day long while my fiance was still working. And after about a month of that he was kind of like you shouldreally not do that anymore, and so I started doing more than one videoa week for a couple weeks and quickly found out that that wasn't doable.But it did get me out of that Rut and I was like I'm goingto focus on this and luckily, you know, I had unemployment, soI didn't. Wasn't dying or anything, but it was. It was roughthose first few months. Forever it was. It just yeah, I think themessage is, you know, keep going, keep going and if youhave a passion, you know, don't stop. You focus on that passion. And when we talk about tasting history, it actually doesn't come from a passion, from from being a cook or a chef, from like your childhood. It's not like that. Now, your passion came from history. Yeah, yeah, I mean I don't even think of it as a cooking show. I think of it as a history show that has cooking on it.Food is a way into the story for me because history, if done taughtwell, I think is is all about stories. You know, you shouldn'tbe able to tell a history from a nonfit or from a fiction book likegame of thrones, except for the dragons, could basically be history. So that'sthat's what I've always loved and I only recently sister, seven years ago, got into baking and and kind of made that connection. So the historyI feel confident about each week, the cooking I fumble my way through thekitchen. I think that's fun, though, because it kind of challenges like Hey, you know, I can do...

...this too, I can try andjust make an attempt and have a really good time. Now, what isit about history that you love so much and what do you think we canlearn by focusing on history? You know, I have always loved it because I'vealways been been able to put myself in the shoes of whatever historical personI'm I'm talking about her or reading about or whatever. And it all startedactually from my grandfather, who would tell me stories about his time in WorldWar Two in Germany and France, and because he was my grandfather, Icould picture him in those places. Granted, I was always picturing him as thisseventy year old man you know, fighting men, right. It's yeah, it's funny, you're old man, but that's what but at least Iwas able to make that immediate connection. It wasn't foreign and I was able, I've always been able, to take that connection to five hundred years ago, twozero years ago. It's like I can picture myself there. And soit's just like reading a choose your own adventure book, you know, andthere's there's just so much of it every there's so much history you're never goingto run out. So it's I don't know, I love it. Ijust love it. Exactly what I love about it. Well, no,it's exciting and I think, you know, we got bored of all the Netflixshows and I think a large number of us, myself included, startedwatching the great documentaries that have been available to us, even even from theLGBTQ history, but world history, and so I think there's a younger generationthat has been exposed to this and, you know, I think it's veryin right now and I think it's so important. Now take us through thecreative process of creating a video. How do you choose the food to make? How do you do your research and do you do a sample before youput it on camera sometimes. So it usually starts with a recipe and thenI'll find a history after that. It's harder to find history of a foodand then try to find a historic recipe...

...because ninety nine point nine percent offoods do not have historic recipes, you know. So I try to startwith the recipe and then kind of figure out how to cook it and sometimesI do full tests, sometimes I test just little bits and then and Istart researching, and that's always my favorite part, but it's also the mosttime consuming part. It take twenty or thirty hours, depending on the topic. But I you know, I usually start with I start with Wikipedia,but then that gets into scholarly works if you go down and find out,you know, where's wikipedia getting its stuff, and then those scholarly works in theirbibliography have primary sources, actually writings from the ancient Romans or whatever,and that's where I always find my gold. Half of my episodes are usually quotesfrom, you know, old, old authors and the people who areactually living the history, and that's what I mean by like putting yourself intheir shoes. It's so much easier to do that when you're listening to theirwords as opposed to listening to a historian just talk about it, and sothat's what I really focus on. And then I usually will make the veryoften that dish that's in the episode is the first time that I've made itin full and it's almost always the first time that I've tasted it on camera. The only time that I'll taste it beforehand is if it's something that itneeds to be eaten within the first five or six minutes that it's out ofthe oven or whatever, because by the time I get it to the tableand clean everything up and have the camera going and everything, it's often beenlike three hours. So whatever I'm eating is rather old at that point.You know, I could stick in the microwave, but I usually will havetasted it right when it finished, and I always have my fiance taste itbecause his opinions are he'll tell you what he thinks and he'll gladly tell youtell me what I think. So but...

...that's good. It's like now.So that's how it goes. What have to tell you. What I alsolove about watching your videos is I love reading the comments in in each videobecause people will talk about their own recipes from their own family region, dependingon what region you're focusing on, or scholars in a very certain region thatyou're talking about or certain part of history will also chime in and it becomesthis conversation with your fans, with each other, about history and family storiesand tradition, and so that's equally as exciting for me. And so littlebird told me you're actually working on a cookbook. I am. Yeah,I have a cookbook. It's going to be published by Simon and Schuster.I'm working on writing it now and it's you know, it takes so long, not just to write it but even once it's done, to get itpublished is like takes like a year. So it's going to be a littlew while before it it hits shelves, but so exciting just to you know, think that even even when I'm done with Youtube and there will be abook, and you know that can't be taken away from me. So that'sgoing to be in the TV shows gonna follow. And then and the movie. Who would you cast as you in your movie? Oh Gosh, Idon't know. A young Brad Pitt, can I? Can I choose ayoung brand that's yeah, or ZAC Efron. I'll take ZAC Efron. Here yougo, and man, they're just nailed it. Yep, Yep,yeah, then any angels going anyway? So let's let's talk a little aboutabout your relationship. You know, your channel didn't start out and it isn't. It's not a gay show, it's not a gay channel per se,and I think that's the conversation that we're really getting in in today's Day andage. Is, you know, being gay is a part of our fullpuzzle. You know, we're so many things, just like you're not aninfluencer first, you're a chef first,...

...and so what I love about thatis that, yes, you are a part of the Lgbtq community or spokespersonfor a commuter, because you live your life and you share your relationship,you share moments with your fiance, but we know how many hours this takesand we know now, like with the media that you're doing and now workingon a cookbook. How does this play with your relationship, because your timeis very different, the stress you're under is very different. So how doyou maintain a healthy relationship? Well, keeping up this this busy job?I mean, he's he I mean he's also really busy, but I alsothink he's extremely understanding of like when I can't do anything or when I'm justtoo tired or whatever. But every single night, even if it's just forforty five minutes before I go to bed, we sit down watch TV together andit's just that, you know, even that quick bit of time togetheris always fun. But he also contributes to the channel, not so muchin like he's not writing or editing it, but he he works on doing commentsand is the sub titles and those those little things there. He's partof conversation and people know him. So the channel has kind of become alittle bit it is our relationship in a way, probably not healthy. Butthen there's also we have like made a concerted effort. This weekend we're goingto Seattle for a few days. Were made a concerted effort to once amonth or so, take two or three days away from the channel, awayfrom home and, you know, have time that's not tasting history. Ithink that's so important and even, you know, for those solo content creatorsout there, even just taking time to yourself. You know, if you'renot in a relationship, it's so important...

...to not lose that that aspect,because you can get wrapped up, you know, in this job and thenyou know you're just exhausted and mentally drained. But I love to see about youand Jose is is the support you have for each other, you know, the comments on each other social media, the little gifts that you give eachother and and just really being there for each other. It's very heartwarming. Now, what kind of food are you going to be serving at thewedding? Well, it's all going to depend on what's open. So we'regoing to Hawaii for the wedding and right now you still can't have more than, I think it's six people at like a table at a restaurant. Sowe were going to do a restaurant and maybe we still will, and inthat case I want kind of like traditional Hawaiian food. That's what I like. That and we're going to be in Hawaii. But if we end uphaving to like do a catered thing, can big Air B and be onlytwenty of us, then I don't know what it's going to be, butprobably Hawaiian. Dude, it's not good. It's not going to be anything likehis storcal other than they've been making a certain dish for hundreds of yearsor whatever. Nobody. Nobody wants that at their way. Well, justso you know, Max I am a Red Star deficient Monoa who baby.All right, this one is for social media. What is the easy ishkind of recipe to do with a good story that somebody like me could serveon a first date and impress somebody but still be able to do it?When you said still be able to do it, I wasn't exactly sure whatjoll no chippet like syllable of syllable is the answer. It's the easiest thingthat I've ever made on the channel and it's one of my favorites. It'sbasically just whipped cream with alcohol in it. It's really popular in the sixteen andhundred, seventeen hundreds. I mean alcohol equipped cream, and you cankind of flavor it however you want and...

...put different alcohols, whether it's sherryor other wine or port, or if had people make it with sake andsold you it. It's versatile and delicious and super easy and you can makeit in like eight minutes. I love that. I'm gonna do that.You know, now that we're dating again, I'm definitely going to do that.Max, I love chatting with you every moment I get and you know, I just love watching your channel to see the the channel just grow andall the different kinds of foods and people that you're talking about. It's definitelya learning experience for me, so thank you so much for sharing that withthe world. Thank you, tendor. Tell everybody where you want them tofind you and follow you. Youtubecom tasting history is where you're going to seeall my stuff, but I'm also pretty active on instagram tasting history with MaxMiller. Thank you. Thank you so much, and happy pride, bythe way. Thank you. Yes, it's almost over. Yeah, tellthem more, Dad said, tell those a I said hello, I absolutelywill. Thank you so much. Thanks. That has been my chat with MaxMiller. Like I said, I just love chatting with him. Youcan read my in depth chat with him at Metro Sourcecom, and he actuallyhas that recipe there as well, so anybody can do it. And that'sour episode. I'm your host and lead writer for Metro Source Magazine, AlexanderRodriguez. You can follow me on Instagram at Alexander is on air. Untilnext time, stay true, and do you boo? That has been anothermetal source mini like, share and subscribe on your favorite podcast player and checkout the latest issue of Metro source magazine on newstands or online at Metro sourcescom. Follow us on Facebook Instagram at metal source and on twitter at Metro coursemad until next time, they fast.

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