Kicha and his mom have been traveling across the globe to host culinary shows!
An English lecturer by profession, Ruby Rajagopal was disheartened when she had to give up her decade long teaching career due to health issues. But little did she know that something better is waiting for her around the corner! As cooking had always been a passion, Ruby decided to try her hand at baking. This self-taught baker soon started baking for friends and family and before she knew it, she had created a brand of her own called ‘Cakes My Passion’. Her speciality being whipped cream cakes – made using dairy based cream. Her passion for cooking inspired her four year old to try his hand at cooking! Born into the iGeneration, he had grown up watching YouTube videos with his mom and his biggest dream was to do unboxing videos. But for now, this four year old decided to take his love for cooking to the next level by creating his own YouTube cooking video! His father, Rajagopal Krishnan who is an advertising professional, helped him create a YouTube channel called KichaTube HD and the rest, as you know, is history! Nihal Raj or Chef Kicha as he is fondly called became the youngest Indian to be featured in the famous Ellen DeGeneres Show! His YouTube channel that has more than 30,000 subscribers, has become a rage not just in India but abroad as well. Kicha recently won the SBI YONO 20 under twenty youth icon award for his outstanding achievements. Ritz catches up with the busy mother-son duo who have been traveling across the globe to host culinary shows!
Interview: Riya Sonny Datson
As a home baker, Ruby is literally on her toes with cake orders, baking classes and curating recipes for Kicha’s YouTube channel. “As the vacations have started, I have back to back classes which keeps me really busy,” she says. Ruby hosts one to one classes where she teaches her students how to frost a cake with whip cream topping, professionally decorate a cake using different types of fondant flowers and edible lace, airbrushing, stacking a cake, packaging and transportation. Her theme cakes have travelled across Kerala and she vouches for the fact that her whip cream topping withstands travel and the hot humid weather in Kerala. “My cake has travelled all the way to Trivandrum. I remember I had to hand over the cake to my client at 4am and I was extremely apprehensive as it was a long journey. To top it, they left the cake in the car without air conditioning before it was taken to the hall at noon. But thankfully, when my client sent me a picture of the cake at the function, it was perfectly fine. I was so relieved and thrilled beyond words!” Her theme cakes have had everything from flowers to wild animals, laptops, spider man, mermaids, rocking chairs and light houses! She has students traveling from across the world especially Qatar and Kuwait for her classes and she doesn’t even advertise. Her work speaks for her. Ruby and Rajagopal Krishnan are blessed with two children, Nidha and Nihal Raj aka Kicha. While Nidha is doing her Masters in Media Studies in New York, Kicha is making it big in the culinary field as the youngest Chef from India.
“As a little child, Kicha was fascinated by online children’s videos especially that of unboxing and he always wanted to make unboxing videos himself but since he was so young, we didn’t give it much thought. But he continued to harbour the dream. So one day, when he was about four, he wanted to make ice popsicles and he asked his father to make a video. We were amazed at the way he spoke, confidently explaining the ingredients and the process involved. When we shared the video, he was applauded for his skill and presentation. This made him more confident to do more videos. So my husband helped him make a YouTube channel of his cooking videos. Soon Facebook contacted us and asked if they could buy his Mickey Mouse mango ice cream YouTube video for 2000 dollars. That was literally the turning point of his life. As his videos became more popular, the producer of the Ellen DeGeneres show contacted us to be a part of the show. Later we were also invited to the Steve Harvey show, Little Big Shots, UK and Vietnam. He recently won the SBI YONO youth icon award and apart from his culinary shows, he is also being invited to colleges and mass gatherings to give inspirational talks about his journey thus far. He was the youngest speaker at Josh talks,” explains Ruby.
Like any eight year, Kicha loves playing video games but when he is not playing, he is into cooking and making videos of his culinary expeditions. “I love helping my mom when she cooks and that is how I realised that I like cooking. My mom and I curate recipes and my dad helps to make the video – so it’s a family affair,” he smiles. Kicha is all set to travel to Sharjah next for the Sharjah International Book Fair, where he will be hosting a show. The aspiring astronaut Chef is finally getting to do what he always wanted to – unboxing toys! What does he like about unboxing? “The surprise element! I love not knowing what’s inside. It is exciting and once open, I love exploring it and giving my opinion about it to the audience!” Kicha sure has a lot of surprises in store and to know all about it, you have to watch his unboxing channel – Jam with Kicha!