They say, ‘A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’ I say, anyone and everyone in this world loves yummy food, especially Indian food. But what if you never ever set foot in your mom’s kitchen before you were married? Then one fine day you settle abroad in a foreign country all by yourself and realise that how you wish you had learned a recipe or two from your mother. Every Indian who moves abroad to study or work might be able to relate. It was mine too and this was how I discovered this YouTube channel, Bhavna’s Kitchen – A very popular one-stop channel for Indian and global food recipes.
Bhavna Patel hails from Gujarat, India. In 2001, Bhavna migrated to Canada with her husband. She was working towards obtaining a Diploma in Computer Science and was also working part time. She had to face many challenges during this time, one of which was learning the English language, as she never had to use it in her hometown in Gujarat. While studying for her diploma, Bhavna started her own food blog as a hobby and also to further enhance her website building skills. It was during this time she experienced the joy of motherhood and recollects that it was quite a challenge to keep up with the food blog, her studies, and her baby.
The family then migrated to the USA, where both Bhavna and her husband worked in the Hotel Industry. Bhavna kept writing for her food blog. She had her second baby in 2007, and realised that it would be next to impossible to keep working outside of the home, as looking after her two very young children was her top priority. It was in the year 2009 when her husband first introduced her to the world of YouTube. Since she was also interested in filming and photography, she found it ideal to combine her passion for food, filming, and photography. She filmed her first food recipe demonstration video in her kitchen. Bhavna admits that she struggled with many things during the making of her first video, especially with the quality, her difficulty in conversing in the English language, so on and so forth. She mentioned that she could have used the Gujarati language in her first video, but then she felt that it would restrict her from sharing her culture with the global audience. So, she kept struggling with her English but never gave up! In spite of all the hurdles, Bhavna kept working on this project. She claims that it was her father who taught her to never give up on a task. ‘ A job is never finished if it is never started and once it is started, it will be done only if you never give up on it.’ She also mentions that her mother-in-law has been of great help in filming her videos.
Bhavna recollects that she started food vlogging as a hobby, but now it has grown into a successful business. Bhavna never concentrated on a target audience or never had any marketing plan sketched out for her. Today, she is successfully running her website www.bhavnaskitchen.com and has posted about 980 videos on YouTube.
Her recipes range from basic vegetarian Gujarati dishes to Chinese, Italian, American and many more – covering everything from starters to dessert! She has about 433,994 YouTube subscribers, 162,463 followers on Facebook and 1,041 followers on Twitter. The key to this success we believe, is her hard work, determination, and above all her love for cooking. Bhavna designs her own recipes after conducting an extensive research online, through various books and also by travelling to different places to acquire the first-hand knowledge on regional recipes. Apart from publishing cooking videos, Bhavna also shares tips about cooking made easy, hair care, gardening etc.!
With all the appreciation on the digital space, she also many times get the flak, especially the nasty comments from internet trolls but she has taken it all in her stride as part of herself improvement exercise and uses it as constructive criticism. When asked about her future business plans, Bhavna corrects us that for her this is not a business but her hobby, her passion! But also agrees that to keep her family running and to give her children a secure life. At one point she felt that she had to rethink between her hobby and her work. So after four years of working on her website/channel, in 2013 she started working with some sponsored programs. However, she does not accept anything and everything that comes her way. She chooses the sponsored work only if it is related to her content and helpful to her audience.
Bhavna has no big team to help or assist in her work, she is the one woman army who single-handedly runs her business, with some help from her mother-in-law. She proudly accepts that her life revolves around her family and it is her family that gives her immense strength to achieve greater heights! She also loves to connect with her fans online through emails and thanks them for all the adulation they have given her.
The only piece of advice Bhavna would like to give to all new entrepreneurs, Vloggers is that she started her channel without any proper planning but they should first try to put structure to their work/idea. Signing off she gave a cooking tip to her audience – ‘Food cooked with love and fresh ingredients are the keys to making the dish yummy.’
We wish Bhavna Good luck! We hope she sends one of her home cooked yummy delicacies, for us at Storified.me to tickle out taste buds.