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, the official podcast to Metro source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favorite personalities from the lgbtq world and beyond. Quick, Fun and informative. It's metro source on the go, out in proud since one thousand nine hundred and ninety. What. Hello, hello, hello, this is metro source minis. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez, lead writer for Metro source and avid podcaster. During covid without prides, without the events, a number of US remembered how much we love to eat a lot. So looking for ways to spice up your recipes, we have just the thing for you. That comes with a side of history. Today I am chatting with Youtuber Chef and soon too 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 very thorough way. And Max is no stranger to 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 would eventually come to work for Disney studios. But, as many people in the film industry, he would find himself furloughed because of covid and what was to start as a fun video hobby has turned into a full time Gig with benefits tasting histories. Audience has grown to over hundreds of thousands of subscribers, with millions, double digit millions of views and growing every single day. Max has recently, recently been featured in major outlets of include todaycom digital trends, the Rachel Ray Show and the New York Post and, of course, we wrote about him in a past issue of Metro source magazine, which you can read that article at Metro sourcecom. Please welcome Mister Max Mella. Thank you for having me. I am thoroughly impressed that you got through all of that without a 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, I mean no judging. Any day that ends in the Word Day is good for me. Week days are a social construct. My cat doesn't know what a Saturday is, so why should I well, and now you kind of in in charge of your own business. You know, you know very well. There is no day off, there is no kind of time, there's no weekend. You are always working towards the brand. And you know, we hear a lot of people say, Oh, I'm an influencer. You ever say that? Okay, well, and you know, true influencers never say I'm an influencer. It's like, if somebody has to say I'm very classy or I'm very funny, truth is probably not. Yeah, yeah, well, I always thought that was kind know weird too, because if you're an influencer like that should be secondary to what you're actually doing that made you be an influencer. So tell people that you are a chef for an actor or a content creator, whatever, teme. You're an influencer. I don't know, I like it, I get it all. So you are a chef who is a youtube star, let's put it that way. But you're actually a youtube star. At what point did you kind of realize that your youtube videos were really, really taking off? It was about a year ago, your ago. Last week, I had a video go up and first few days it did as it usually does. You know, three or four hundred views, 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 from a few thousand subscribers to a hundred fifty thousand subscribers in five days. And then when I really, though,...

...knew that it was something was when those numbers, those numbers, not necessarily, but when the subsequent videos kept doing well, because there are a lot of channels where they'll have a video go viral right but they don't know why. Necessarily, I still don't know why exactly, but it but their next video doesn't capture the same audience or whatever. 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 month later 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. I think videos that people really connect with it has to come from a very real place. And so when somebody has a video that goes viral. I think the 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 huge fan, is you have kept that integrity, that storytelling, that personality. You know, some of the bells and whistles have changed and you know, gotten even even better, but the the essence is still the same. We still feel this like intimate relationship that you're like you're just talking to us about history and having a really good time doing it. But you've been able to kind of maintain this this energy. But what kind of pressure does it take for you to to keep looking at the views and the subscribers, because now it's actually your business. It's just not like, Oh, it's nice to have these followers, this is your business. Yeah, it's it's exhausting, you know. 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 as they grow, especially because subscribers, honestly, it's a vanity number. It doesn't matter how many subscribers you are. You have, I know, channels with 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 that gold plaque or whatever. What's what's disappointing in my what I find disappointing in myself is that my mood, especially on a Tuesday, hinges on how well that video that I release that Tuesday did and I try not to let that happen, 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 like I'm going to be in a bad mood all day because that's video didn't do as well as the last few. But you know, this is the reality, and thank you for sharing that. This is the reality of what people on social media or on Youtube have to go through. It's not not all the GLITZ and the Glamor it's not all the fun and I'm kind of want to talk to you about being furloughed from Disney. You know, there must have been a period of time where it was like, Oh crap. I know a lot of us in the industry suffered depression and you kind of took that 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'm furloughed. 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 microphone before I was furloughed, and thank goodness I did, because I would not have I would not have bought anything once I was furloughed. But it also made it so for a little while the videos were what do I have in my kitchen and I will find an old recipe that uses those things, especially because 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 get quite 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 talking about stuff that I already knew about, so there wasn't a lot of research to do, and that left me with a lot of time to sit in my 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 should really not do that anymore, and so I started doing more than one video a 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 going to focus on this and luckily, you know, I had unemployment, so I didn't. Wasn't dying or anything, but it was. It was rough those first few months. Forever it was. It just yeah, I think the message is, you know, keep going, keep going and if you have 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 taught well, I think is is all about stories. You know, you shouldn't be able to tell a history from a nonfit or from a fiction book like game of thrones, except for the dragons, could basically be history. So that's that'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 history I feel confident about each week, the cooking I fumble my way through the kitchen. I think that's fun, though, because it kind of challenges like Hey, you know, I can do...

...this too, I can try and just make an attempt and have a really good time. Now, what is it about history that you love so much and what do you think we can learn by focusing on history? You know, I have always loved it because I've always been been able to put myself in the shoes of whatever historical person I'm I'm talking about her or reading about or whatever. And it all started actually from my grandfather, who would tell me stories about his time in World War Two in Germany and France, and because he was my grandfather, I could picture him in those places. Granted, I was always picturing him as this seventy 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 I was 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 so it's just like reading a choose your own adventure book, you know, and there's there's just so much of it every there's so much history you're never going to run out. So it's I don't know, I love it. I just love it. Exactly what I love about it. Well, no, it's exciting and I think, you know, we got bored of all the Netflix shows and I think a large number of us, myself included, started watching the great documentaries that have been available to us, even even from the LGBTQ history, but world history, and so I think there's a younger generation that has been exposed to this and, you know, I think it's very in right now and I think it's so important. Now take us through the creative 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 you put it on camera sometimes. So it usually starts with a recipe and then I'll find a history after that. It's harder to find history of a food and then try to find a historic recipe...

...because ninety nine point nine percent of foods do not have historic recipes, you know. So I try to start with the recipe and then kind of figure out how to cook it and sometimes I do full tests, sometimes I test just little bits and then and I start researching, and that's always my favorite part, but it's also the most time 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 their bibliography 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 quotes from, you know, old, old authors and the people who are actually living the history, and that's what I mean by like putting yourself in their shoes. It's so much easier to do that when you're listening to their words as opposed to listening to a historian just talk about it, and so that's what I really focus on. And then I usually will make the very often that dish that's in the episode is the first time that I've made it in 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 it needs to be eaten within the first five or six minutes that it's out of the oven or whatever, because by the time I get it to the table and clean everything up and have the camera going and everything, it's often been like 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 have tasted it right when it finished, and I always have my fiance taste it because his opinions are he'll tell you what he thinks and he'll gladly tell you tell 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 also love about watching your videos is I love reading the comments in in each video because people will talk about their own recipes from their own family region, depending on what region you're focusing on, or scholars in a very certain region that you're talking about or certain part of history will also chime in and it becomes this conversation with your fans, with each other, about history and family stories and tradition, and so that's equally as exciting for me. And so little bird 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 it published is like takes like a year. So it's going to be a little w 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 a book, and you know that can't be taken away from me. So that's going to be in the TV shows gonna follow. And then and the movie. Who would you cast as you in your movie? Oh Gosh, I don't know. A young Brad Pitt, can I? Can I choose a young brand that's yeah, or ZAC Efron. I'll take ZAC Efron. Here you go, and man, they're just nailed it. Yep, Yep, yeah, then any angels going anyway? So let's let's talk a little about about 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 and age. Is, you know, being gay is a part of our full puzzle. You know, we're so many things, just like you're not an influencer first, you're a chef first,...

...and so what I love about that is that, yes, you are a part of the Lgbtq community or spokesperson for 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 takes and we know now, like with the media that you're doing and now working on a cookbook. How does this play with your relationship, because your time is very different, the stress you're under is very different. So how do you 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 also think he's extremely understanding of like when I can't do anything or when I'm just too tired or whatever. But every single night, even if it's just for forty five minutes before I go to bed, we sit down watch TV together and it's just that, you know, even that quick bit of time together is always fun. But he also contributes to the channel, not so much in like he's not writing or editing it, but he he works on doing comments and is the sub titles and those those little things there. He's part of conversation and people know him. So the channel has kind of become a little bit it is our relationship in a way, probably not healthy. But then there's also we have like made a concerted effort. This weekend we're going to Seattle for a few days. Were made a concerted effort to once a month or so, take two or three days away from the channel, away from home and, you know, have time that's not tasting history. I think that's so important and even, you know, for those solo content creators out there, even just taking time to yourself. You know, if you're not 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 then you know you're just exhausted and mentally drained. But I love to see about you and 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 each other 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 the wedding? Well, it's all going to depend on what's open. So we're going 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. So we were going to do a restaurant and maybe we still will, and in that 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 up having to like do a catered thing, can big Air B and be only twenty of us, then I don't know what it's going to be, but probably Hawaiian. Dude, it's not good. It's not going to be anything like his storcal other than they've been making a certain dish for hundreds of years or whatever. Nobody. Nobody wants that at their way. Well, just so you know, Max I am a Red Star deficient Monoa who baby. All right, this one is for social media. What is the easy ish kind of recipe to do with a good story that somebody like me could serve on 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 what joll no chippet like syllable of syllable is the answer. It's the easiest thing that I've ever made on the channel and it's one of my favorites. It's basically just whipped cream with alcohol in it. It's really popular in the sixteen and hundred, seventeen hundreds. I mean alcohol equipped cream, and you can kind of flavor it however you want and...

...put different alcohols, whether it's sherry or other wine or port, or if had people make it with sake and sold you it. It's versatile and delicious and super easy and you can make it 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 and all the different kinds of foods and people that you're talking about. It's definitely a learning experience for me, so thank you so much for sharing that with the world. Thank you, tendor. Tell everybody where you want them to find you and follow you. Youtubecom tasting history is where you're going to see all my stuff, but I'm also pretty active on instagram tasting history with Max Miller. Thank you. Thank you so much, and happy pride, by the way. Thank you. Yes, it's almost over. Yeah, tell them more, Dad said, tell those a I said hello, I absolutely will. Thank you so much. Thanks. That has been my chat with Max Miller. Like I said, I just love chatting with him. You can read my in depth chat with him at Metro Sourcecom, and he actually has that recipe there as well, so anybody can do it. And that's our episode. I'm your host and lead writer for Metro Source Magazine, Alexander Rodriguez. You can follow me on Instagram at Alexander is on air. Until next time, stay true, and do you boo? That has been another metal source mini like, share and subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out 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 course mad until next time, they fast.

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