Nihal Raj, known by his nickname Kicha, is no ordinary six-year-old. He’s also a young Indian chef with his own YouTube channel. Kicha is so popular that Facebook recently paid him $2,000 to get the rights to one of his ice-cream videos.
Kicha comes from a family of food lovers and started cooking when was four, after watching his mother, a baker, in the kitchen. Most of the recipes are of desserts, and involve minimal cooking. “He isn’t a professional,” his father Rajagopal V. Krishnan told Mashable. “His mother always gives him a simple recipe. He listens to it once and then prepares it his own way.”
Started in 2015, his channel KichaTubeHD was inspired by American YouTube channel EvanTubeHD, whose 10-year-old host reviews toys and video games for his three million subscribers. Kicha and Krishnan first tried reviewing toys, but soon discovered that the boy’s real interest lay in cooking.
“It was Kicha who introduced me to the channel and toy unboxing videos,” Rajagopal says. Krishnan first filmed a video of Kicha making ice popsicles and shared it on Facebook, where it became so popular that the family thought of putting it on YouTube. Since then, they’ve made around 14 videos for the channel, most of them at Kicha’s insistence.
A first standard student at Kochi’s Choice School, Kicha clearly loves food. His videos usually end with him savouring his own creations. “He is a good taster too,” Rajagopal says. “He enjoys eating his own food once it’s cooked.”
In May, Rajagopal was contacted by a US-based casting agency which makes videos for Facebook, which then led to a $2,000 deal in which Facebook acquired the non-exclusive rights to a video of Kicha making Mickey Mouse mango ice cream.
“People on Facebook are constantly doing and sharing incredible things. In a recent brand promotional campaign, we wanted to celebrate examples of the rich and dynamic ways people are using the platform,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable. “When we came across the public post featuring Nihal Raj cooking, the video felt like a great fit and we were delighted he and his parents agreed to participate.”
The Facebook deal has led to many offers, but Kicha will focus on his YouTube channel for now, bringing out a new video every Wednesday. Rajagopal, an advertising professional initially shot the videos on his iPhone, but now films them with a professional camera. The family, however, ensures that he doesn’t spend more than two hours a week on the videos.
“He always liked to have people watching him,” Krishnan adds. In case you were wondering, Kicha also likes answering his own Facebook messages.