This article originally appeared in the winter 2016 Harker Magazine.
Two Class of 2015 alumnae have taken their passion for food and journalism to new levels with In a Nutshell Food, a YouTube channel they created.
Fred Chang and Priscilla Pan have been making how-to videos of delicious foods while pursuing their academic dreams in California and abroad. Pan attends the University of Southern California, where she is studying biomedical engineering with a mechanical emphasis. “I’m also planning to minor either in entrepreneurship or computer science, two subjects that I think will greatly complement my engineering background,” she said.
Chang is attending Yale-NUS in Singapore. She is considering a politics, philosophy and economics major with concentrations in philosophy and economics. “On top of that, I’m a computer science minor – strictly speaking, a mathematical, computational and statistical sciences minor with a focus in computer science,” she said. Before graduating from Harker, the friends began making fun food videos under the name In a Nutshell Food – and then opportunity knocked. “Our journalism teacher, Ms. [Ellen] Austin, was always a huge supporter of In a Nutshell Food,” said Pan, “and when the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) award season rolled around, she encouraged basically everyone to submit their work – articles, videos, photos, etc.”
The pair earned a first-place prize for their video, giving momentum to what was already a fun project. Chang was surprised when she heard the results. “I had no words. It was really nice to have the affirmation that we were indeed doing a good job, especially because it was mostly just for fun,” she said.
The duo had posted 29 videos as of mid- October, and the effort to keep the pipeline full while in college has been a labor of love. “We knew we’d always want to continue making videos,” said Pan. “Especially the summer after our junior year, when many others were attending summer internships and research positions, we were in the kitchen filming and cooking.”
Though Pan and Chang opted to monetize their YouTube channel by allowing ads, they continue to be motivated by the purest desires – good journalism and good food. “At the core of it all,” said Pan, “we started making food videos because as journalism students, we really enjoyed writing, photographing and taking videos of our niche, which was food. I especially love feeding my creativity by coming up with unique ways to film our videos.”
Chang agreed the payoff is in doing something they love. “I don’t know how else to say it: food is my life’s passion,” she said. “Food videography for me is the most wholesome format of sharing my love for food online. If I had enough money to survive on for the rest of my life, I’d just spend my time engaging with food media and eating and cooking. All of the improvement and self-learning is indeed great, but I don’t need any extrinsic motivation because this is how I would spend my time anyway.”
This summer’s videos covered a variety of foods, based on season, upcoming holidays and food trends. “We have a lot of current food trends (like smoothie bowls),” said Pan, “our favorite baked goods, easy back-to-school meals, drinks, etc. We want to keep some stuff a secret!”
“Subscribe to our channel to find out!” Chang said. What’s next for In a Nutshell Food? “We’re definitely going to continue producing biweekly cooking videos along with vlog channel videos through the end of 2016 and most likely through our sophomore year of college,” said Pan. “But our future plans might still change.”
Chang is also hopeful but practical. “For now it’s really more of a let’s-try-to-make-it-happen thing, but there isn’t much of a longterm plan beyond the semester.”