Twitch, Food & Gaming: Interview with Penguinius
How was your stream originally born?
My husband, GeneralElost, is the original streamer on the channel which started back in 2017. In 2018 I started co-streaming on his channel with gaming, but near the end of 2018 I did a cooking fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in which our community unlocked a milestone for me to do weekly cooking streams in 2019. After 2019, I fell in love and kept up the schedule of doing cooking streams on Mondays in addition to random gaming streams.
What helped excite your early audience and get your community engaged?
Going from the wife of a streamer and moderator in chat to being a constant face on stream as co-streamer was a lot of fun for our community. I also started a segment called "Viewer Request" which is where I took recipes that I knew nothing about and figured them out on stream with everyone. My audience seems to be most engaged when I'm experimenting or having to problem solve on stream, which I love doing and bringing chat into working things out with me.
What did you learn about yourself through becoming a food-focused streamer on Twitch?
Finding confidence, patience, and flexibility in myself have been huge. Learning how to plan a "menu" for the night, but then how to go with the flow of whatever happens live with people watching without getting upset or self conscious has been very beneficial. Before streaming, I would stress so much about time crunches for meals to be done and wanting things to be perfect, but hosting a live show where people can comment in real-time has helped me relax and accept what happens in the kitchen. I have found that I am more flexible than I thought in accepting difficulties and I have a lot of creativity in me to come up with solutions.
What makes the food community on Twitch so special?
The variety in personalities and cooking backgrounds/experiences for both the streamers and viewers are amazing. Bouncing around and watching other streamers, I have found some that are home cooks like me all the way up to some experienced chef's showing off their skills but are still down to earth and accessible for the viewers to chat with. The viewers are also great, bringing in their own experiences and cultures leading to some fun conversations and learning experiences. I have learned so much from the viewers about the types of food they eat and what is different between my ingredients and methods compared to their own.
Which streamers influenced you the most?
Inside of the food community, LadyHana and Twogirls1game were some of my first inspirations after listening to them talk at a Twitchcon panel about their experiences as a food streamers. LadyHana helped frame my mind of going with the flow and relaxing on stream, not stressing about any mistakes or whoopsies while Twogirls1game's unique spin on creating personas and having such a unique experience in the kitchen both inspired me. Outside of the food category, Littlesiha has always been a huge influence on how to just be yourself and don't hold back. That has really helped me feel comfortable with myself to not put on a "face" for an audience but be the real me for viewers to get to interact with.
Any fun stories or wild moments you can share?
Charity is a huge focus of our channel, and in the kitchen, we have an annual fundraising event that includes a lot of pies and pudding. I have thrown so many pies filled with pudding, whipped cream and random toppings that have been splashed on all of our cabinets, floors, and ceilings leading to tons of craziness. One time we were feeling super generous for a great donation and ended up dumping a huge tub of pudding all over my husband's head and back. In another stream, I was attempting a traditional gingerbread recipe out and it failed horribly! The dough came out as thick as a brick, so I went through all my kitchen tools from mallets to specialized sushi knives to try and make a dent. I was determined to make that dough work and eventually we got a tool to slice the massive brick up into mini bricks and make mini brick gingerbread cookies. Those cookies have become a vendetta for my channel and I have attempted this recipe 3 times now to try and tackle it.
What's your favorite memory as a gamer?
My favorite memory as a gamer is back when I was little in my home with my brothers, playing Super Mario World. I loved waking up on the weekend, staying in my pajamas, mom cooking breakfast, and we all crowd around the SNES and TV. At first I was too little to play so I would just watch them and I loved seeing how they would banter back and forth but still fully enjoy the game. As I got older it was fun to join in and tackle the game myself and there was nothing more pleasing than getting through the Super Mario World and Donkey Kong games!! Gaming has always been so community driven for me, either just watching or playing. Like in college, hanging out in the common areas and playing round after round of Guitar Hero together late into the night were some of my best bonding moments with a lot of my friends.
Who will enjoy your stream the most?
I am a self taught cook with no formal training but I love sharing my own experiences from succeeding and failing in cooking. Learning from mistakes is great! Also, just experimenting in the kitchen and "playing" with food so it is not intimidating and seems approcable. Anyone that wants to learn the basics, some tips and tricks, as well as how to learn from a recipe together would fit in well with this stream. There are a lot of "learning moments" as I tackle things I have never tried or encounter problems with recipes on stream, so the chat and viewers get to be a part of the problem solving experience and we all learn together. That and I have an odd personality and I firmly believe the more sound effects you make while cooking, the better the food comes out, so there are many ways to stay entertained while watching! My streams also have captions on at all times, so it is accessible for anyone that cannot access the audio or need them as support if English is not their first language. I use American Sign Language myself so if anyone requests it, I don't mind signing while streaming as well. All are welcomed!
Anything else you'd like to add?
Cooking, like gaming, is meant to be fun! There can be stressful times in the kitchen and things might seem intimidating, but you can't learn without trying first. I really aim to make the kitchen not look like a scary place and be just as fun as gaming. It is a good life skill to have and the more accessible and relatable I can make it be, the better!