'Office chef' Ms Yeah says her blank look in videos adds mystery

Ms Yeah, best known for her "office chef" Youtube videos, says each shoot takes about three or four days to complete.
Ms Yeah, best known for her "office chef" Youtube videos, says each shoot takes about three or four days to complete.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Ms Yeah's videos of herself preparing food using office equipment garnered millions of views on YouTube.
Ms Yeah's videos of herself preparing food using office equipment garnered millions of views on YouTube.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

She may not speak much in her videos but China's Internet sensation Ms Yeah is very chatty in person.

Well-known for her "office chef" videos on YouTube, the sweet and petite Ms Yeah, whose real name is Zhou Xiao Hui, answers questions rapidly in a 20-minute interview with The Straits Times.

She says in Mandarin: "Not talking on camera was not intentional at first. But after a few videos, I realised that people don't really care about whether you are talking. In fact, it adds more mystery. Some people even wonder whether I am dumb."

She is in town for Content Summit Asia 2017, an event organised by GRVTY Media and attended by online content creators at the Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay on Oct 30.

Her keynote address is titled "From Zero To Hero - How We Orchestrated The Office Chef Internet Sensation".

The 23-year-old from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province in China, catapulted to fame after putting on YouTube videos of her cooking in the office with office equipment.

The videos of her preparing food such as spicy hotpot and flame-grilled fish - with a deadpan expression - have gone viral with millions of views.


Ms Yeah is currently in town for Content Summit Asia 2017. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

On the grilled fish video, where she sets soap suds on her hand on fire to create the flames, she says with a laugh: "That took four hours to film and I burnt my hand and singed my eyebrows and eyelashes. I need to be more careful, and I don't encourage people to try this at home."

Her stunts may look easy on camera, but a shoot takes about three to four days to complete.

When she started out, she shot the videos with just one colleague. Now they have a team of six who get together on brainstorming sessions before deciding on the theme.

They work for a creative media company that specialises in generating original content as well as marketing.

Ms Zhou says her father used to run a hotel and she picked up cooking by observing him in the kitchen.

She says with a chuckle: "I don't dine out a lot. I cook at home and, yes, I use a proper wok."