You’re at the office and suddenly you’re craving pancakes. Instead of ordering from Seamless, why not break apart your computer and turn it into a grill? This is what Ms. Yeah did. Ms. Yeah, who goes by her stage name, is China’s newest internet star. Videos of her cooking elaborate dishes with everyday office supplies went viral in China. Among her creations: She popped popcorn in a soda can, made a DIY oven with a desk drawer and a light bulb, and grilled beef with an iron.
“I’ve been cooking in the office long before I filmed myself doing it and uploaded the videos online. Though I wasn’t cooking dishes as challenging as you see in the video. It was more like cooking dumplings in a tea kettle—that sort of easy stuff.” Ms. Yeah told Quartz.
What’s challenging is not the types of dishes she cooks—lots of them are everyday Chinese dishes. It’s how she cooks them. Ms. Yeah finds unlikely alternatives to traditional cookware and often she’ll make utensils from scratch. For example, she made an egg beater out of a plastic bottle.
“When I look at things, I’m constantly thinking how I can use it for cooking. I’m so into it that I almost wanted to break down my bed and burn it for cooking,” she said.
Though the videos are cool to watch, Ms. Yeah says many of the dishes don’t actually taste that good. “Like the instant noodle I made with knitting needles, it tasted really bad and I told the viewers about that in my video.” She says that of all the dishes she’s prepared, the one that tastes the best is the beef she grilled with an iron.
Ms. Yeah says her inbox is flooded with commercial requests but she’s not interested in them right now. Internet celebrity is a big business in China. Businesses generated by internet celebrity, including revenues from viewership, advertising and sales of relevant products, raked in an 58 billion yuan (about $8.5 billion) in 2016, more than China’s box office in 2015, according to CBN Data, a Chinese commercial data company.
Ms. Yeah publishes one video per week on her social media platforms. “Just to give you a sneak preview, I’m thinking of cooking meat with a bug zapper for a coming episode,” she says.