We chat to rising food vlogger, Alla Driksne of Alla’s Yummy Food, about getting 3 million views on YouTube, being inspired by her grandmother, and the stories behind her most meaningful pieces of jewellery.
Alla’s Yummy Food
Since starting her YouTube channel three years ago, Alla’s Yummy Food has blossomed both in terms of content and subscribers, and now boasts an impressive 3 million views and over 50,000 subscribers. Focusing mainly on Eastern European food and desserts, Alla films, edits and uploads two videos every week, offering her audience detailed step-by-step guides on how to recreate her delicious recipes.
But YouTube isn’t Alla’s only growing platform. Her Facebook page, where she posts aesthetically pleasing and shareable snippets of her recipes, recently flew past 150,000 followers. “It was a huge milestone. I couldn’t believe it because last year I hit 50,000 so it’s grown double the amount in less than a year.” Reaching these big milestones certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park, but after quitting her job almost a year ago and putting more time into her channel, Alla has reaped the benefits. “When I started three years ago I did it alongside working part-time and then around 2 and a half years ago I committed to doing YouTube properly and invested in all the equipment, that’s when I saw a massive growth.”
So YouTube is Alla’s full time job now? Wrong. “I’m doing the whole food thing full time, but I’ve got about four jobs, but they’re all food related jobs and projects.” In addition to creating videos, Alla does consultations in all the top London restaurants for new iPad ovens, hosts supper clubs for WeFiFo a platform for social dining, and has recently signed up with Tastemade UK to discover and document the coolest spots to eat in London.
The proof is in the pudding; Alla specialises in making the most mouth-watering cakes and desserts.
Where did it all start?
Originally from Daugavpils in Latvia, cooking has been instilled in Alla from a young age, with her biggest inspiration being her grandmother. “My Mum and my Grandma were always cooking and it’s normal and traditional in Latvia to be brought up knowing how to cook."
"I was always helped my Granny out in the kitchen as she kind of raised me and I was very close to her, so I think that’s where I developed my passion for food.”
After realising her 9-5 office job wasn’t for her, Alla decided to bite the bullet and pursue her true passion. “I was working in recruitment and I really didn’t enjoy my job, so I quit and decided to study the culinary arts. Whilst studying I worked for different Russian companies, which involved cooking for around 40 people every day on my own, so that’s how I practised a lot of my skills. It was really intense 16 hour days, I lasted about a year and a half and then I was just burned out.” And with a bit of encouragement from her friends and self-belief, Alla decided to set up Alla’s Yummy Food and start creating her own content.
Adding the finishing touches to her creations whilst wearing Vicky Davies' friendship and star bracelets.
"I think there is a huge misconception that people make loads of money on YouTube, but only the top YouTubers who have millions of subscribers make big money."
“She was the best cook in the world”
Inspiration has never been an issue for Alla, if anything there are too many ideas for her to keep up with. “I’ve literally got recipes planned until next year, I just physically cannot film them and edit them quick enough; if I could, I would release a video every day!”
From Nutella lava cakes and watermelon cakes, to traditional Russian Piroshki and Shashlik, Alla’s channel focuses mainly on desserts and baking, with a Russian twist. “Russian food, in particular desserts, are my most watched videos on my channel, like honey layered cakes or chocolate cakes with 12 layers. People like sweet things and baking is my favourite. If I could just do desserts I would but I want to stay true to why I started with my Russian food.” As well as keeping up to date with trending recipes, much of Alla’s inspiration comes from her grandmother; “She was the best cook in the world and she knew all the Soviet Union recipes, so she taught me a lot.”
Cooking is very creative. It’s not just about making the meal. I like designing the cakes, planning the layers and the decorations and so on, and to me that’s kind of exciting.”
It’s not as easy as it looks
There’s a huge misconception that bloggers and vloggers earn millions for just uploading content whenever they feel like it and that it’s not a ‘real’ job. “It took me one year to get 1,000 subscribers, and two years to get 7,000, so it’s really slow in the beginning. People think ‘Oh I’m going to start a YouTube channel, this is going to be so easy’ and then they realise how difficult it is to get people to subscribe and watch your videos.”
Wearing Alison Moore's Entwined Diamond Ring; Her marquise-cut diamond ring gifted on her 21st birthday from her father; She keeps her Granny close to her heart with this diamond pendant.
“I think there is a huge misconception that people make loads of money on YouTube, but only the top YouTubers who have millions of subscribers make big money. Anything below half a million subscribers and you really don’t make that much from YouTube, unless you do sponsorships and get paid to promote products.” And as with most people who are self-employed, being a vlogger means usual working hours soon go out the window; “I actually work a lot more now than when I had a full-time job, because it’s your own thing you tend to work every day, including weekends or until 2am.”
However for Alla the positives certainly outweigh the negatives; “I love the freedom I have, because nobody is telling me what I should or shouldn’t be doing, I just do it myself depending on what I think and how I feel. Cooking is very creative. It’s not just about making the meal. I like designing the cakes, planning the layers and the decorations and so on, and to me that’s kind of exciting.”
Alla creates, films, edits and promotes all her videos herself.
Her jewellery collection
Being allergic to most metals apart from gold and silver, as well as working in the food industry, means Alla’s jewellery collection is relatively refined, however she owns a selection of pieces which she holds dearly to her heart.
One of her most meaningful pieces of jewellery, which she wears all the time, is a gorgeous diamond ring that was a gift from her father. “It was my birthday present for my 21st. It’s really special because he picked it out for me and it’s a symbol in the family, so since then I’ve been wearing it every single day and I never take it off. He said to me, ‘If you ever get married, your husband needs to get you a bigger diamond!’”
Another incredibly sentimental piece of jewellery for Alla is the necklace her late Granny gave to her. “She gave it to me three years ago for my 25th birthday. It’s a heart pendant and symbolises that she is always with me. I don’t wear it all the time because I don’t want to lose it or break it when I’m cooking, but I love wearing it when I go out.”
that’s kind of exciting" Alla wearing Vicky Davies' Me & You Spinning Pendant.
Alla has big dreams for her Youtube channel. “My next goal is 100k on Youtube, and with my Facebook I’m going to try and get to half a million next year. Maybe that’s a bit too ambitious, but it’s always better to be ambitious.”
And a book could also be in the pipeline in the next couple of years. “I’m hopefully going to start working on publishing a cookbook, but it’s just in talks at the moment so it’s early stages.” She plans to stay true to her roots and publish Eastern European, Russian and Latvian style recipes. “I don’t think it’s been done that much, it’s kind of a niche and a lot of people don’t know about it. So I would maybe do a fusion so it appeals to everyone, because traditional food might not be to everyone’s taste.”
If you’re looking for a new recipe to try out, or just want to look at some seriously mouth-watering desserts, check out Alla’s channel here.
We love interviews that end with cake.