From homemade tripod to 2.8 million subscribers: 'Village Food Secrets' is one of Pakistan's leading creators
Hailing from a remote village in Punjab, Shahpur, Mubashir Saddique is a Pakistani man who used to work at a football factory in Sialkot. He lived far away from his family and could only return for the weekends, when he would cook feasts of local food for his family. This weekend hobby eventually turned into a YouTube career with Village Food Secrets.
Mubashir joined YouTube in January of 2017 when there were no proper Internet facilities in Shahpur. He used to record content with his mid-range smartphone and then travel to Sialkot, where he would use a room at his office to edit and upload.
After four years of creating inspiring content that showcases an idyllic rural life in Pakistan, his YouTube channel has become one of the most popular in the country with over 2.8 million subscribers. Mubashir’s journey has put his small village in rural Punjab on the map, supported him and his entire village, and inspired more Pakistani creators to share their voices on YouTube.
How did you get started on YouTube? Why cooking?
Mubashir: “They say ‘ma ki god insaan ki pehli darsgah hai’ (a mother’s lap is a child’s first school), so that is where I learned everything from cooking to claywork. Ever since childhood, I had always helped my mother in the house. Her experience and knowledge is where I got my passion for cooking.
When I got a job at a football factory, I used to spend my week in Sialkot, a city near my village, and would return home for the weekend. That’s when I would cook something special, different from the usual weekly menu, out of love for my parents. Everyone in the household would thoroughly enjoy it.
It’s during one of these weekends when my younger brother, Mudasser bhai, who had recently discovered YouTube while working at a mobile shop, suggested to me that I should create a YouTube channel.”
What was it like when you first started your channel? What was the biggest challenge?
Mubashir: “The biggest challenge we faced, when we set up the channel, was equipment. We used to use a Huawei P9 to shoot, and faced a lot of problems with stabilisation, sound and camera quality. We searched the entire city and couldn’t find a tripod or a mic, and returned back to the village.
That's when we became inventive. We got an idea from the mic stand at our local mosque. We took a selfie stick, attached a pipe below and four supportive rods around it, packed the pack with sand, and created a tripod. For sound, I’d just have to speak loudly.
Then there was the challenge with the Internet. At the time, we didn’t have any kind of network in our village. I’d travel back to Sialkot, where I would work all day and then edit ‘til midnight and upload the video on YouTube.”
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your YouTube career?
Mubashir: “YouTube has further developed my culinary skills. My family and village people enjoy different types of cuisines by my hand, dishes that we didn’t even know names for. Now, when I travel and tour, I try to learn the different cultural cuisines that I come across.
Not just that, it has enabled me to be with my family. I used to be away from them the entire week, and now we have so much time together. I am able to focus on bringing my village together and grow the community, to inspire others to work on their passions, too.”
How have you changed after your success on YouTube?
Mubashir: “When a person becomes successful, they become confident. Confident on what more they can achieve and do. YouTube has really done that for me; I can speak confidently across platforms and different audiences.
Not just that, but by the grace of God, it has improved the living standards of me and my family. And above all, I think of how I used to work for someone, and now I am my own boss.”
YouTube is another name for ‘passion.'”
Do you have any advice for creators who are just starting on YouTube?
Mubashir: “Discover yourself, work on your own passions - don’t just follow a trend, or other creators. Bring your own interests and passions to YouTube, try to upload videos daily at a certain time. And if not daily, every other day. If not that, then weekly. But the key is to remain consistent throughout.
Be committed to improving with every successive video you upload... be it through content or videography, learning camera and editing skills. Think of how you can improve each aspect. And with this... creators can find success.
Lastly, passion is of utmost importance to me. YouTube is another name for ‘passion.' ”