Stephen Cusato is a popular food YouTuber.
He has more than 900 thousand subscribers on his YouTube channel by the name Not Another Cooking Show.
Stephen Cusato was born on 27 December 1985 and has German roots.
He hails from Brooklyn, New York City, United States.
His father, Rick Cusato used to work in an advertising agency company.
Stephen has a brother, Dave.
As a child, he was very introverted and was amused by Steven Spielberg’s movies especially Jurassic Park and wanted to grow up to become a director.
Love for cooking-
At a young age, Food Network had a profound impact on Stephen and it attracted him towards cooking.
He used to spend his holidays in the kitchen baking cookies.
Stephen used to also watch other TV food programs like Grillin’ & Chillin’ featuring Bobby Flay, Yan Can Cook, etc. and was impacted by them.
He was particularly inspired by the young Jamie Oliver and Anthony Bourdain and Francis Mallmann of Chef’s Table.
While studying high school, Stephen started working as a dishwasher at a restaurant on a golf course and here he occasionally helped the chef in cooking.
This summer job was his first job and he loved it.
Education & career-
Stephen did his schooling from Bronxville High School.
After completing his schooling in 2004, he joined Fairfield University to study for a BS in Marketing.
Stephen graduated in 2008.
In June 2008, he joined DeVito/Verdi in New York City and worked there until June 2011.
Here, he worked as a New Business Coordinator and Digital Creative Assistant and Internal Social Media Manager.
Inspired by Gary Vee-
As Stephen’s father had worked in advertising for 35 years and as Stephen graduated in Marketing, he decided to secure a job in advertising and so, he joined DeVito/Verdi in 2008.
But due to the 2007–2008 financial crisis, he wasn’t too confident about his job.
In 2008, Stephen observed social media making a mark and was attracted towards it and later, he read one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s books and it cemented his passion for social media.
At that time, he started cooking for himself and started a blog by the name The Food Freak.
In 2008, Stephen was inspired by the popularity of Roy Choi’s Kogi food truck in Los Angeles.
He started avidly reading cookbooks in the bookstores and stumbled upon a cookbook mentioning 150 grilled cheese recipes and decided to start a grilled cheese recipe food truck.
As Stephen wasn’t getting a good raise at his job, he planned to build a brand out of his blog and then build it into a food truck business and quit his job.
Quitting his job & starting a food truck-
Stephen did moonlighting in advertising until he got a permit with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to operate a food truck outside of the New York City parks.
He quit his job in June 2011 and in the same month, he along with a couple of partners started a food truck by the name FOODfreaks Inc. at Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, New York City.
Stephen started selling 3 cheese grilled cheese and tomato soup combos in his food truck and his brother used to help him by prepping food and his other partner used to cater and do other side work and he used to be the only person manning the truck.
Initially, when his business plan got approved by the Parks Department, he and his partners didn’t have enough funding to start the food truck.
During that time, Stephen’s grandfather had passed away and his mother got $55,000 of his life insurance policy and she gave this money to him to start his food truck business.
His business was started on a shoestring budget as on the first day of serving, he had only $500 in the bank and lacked enough cash reserves.
Stephen and his partners started the food truck in the warm months and started doing business.
But as the winter approached, they started struggling to run their business as their equipment froze and they couldn’t operate in a usual and financially feasible way.
So, even though they didn’t have big savings or cushion, they had to write off January and February.
They negotiated deals with the Deutsche Bank Building and the Citigroup Center to rent a station in their cafeteria to start a pop-up.
Thanks to this, they started selling Banh Mi sandwiches and overcame winter woes.
Later, they applied this same concept to Governors Ball Music Festival and Electric Zoo.
Later, Stephen had a disagreement with one of his partners due to which he had to exit from the business in July 2013.
Becoming a Content Producer for brands-
In February 2014, Stephen joined BrightFarms in the Greater New York City Area to work as a Content Producer.
His job involved managing social media and marketing efforts.
Later, one of his old friends from his previous advertising job reached out to Stephen and offered him a food photography gig for Tribe Hummus.
Eventually, he started working with numerous brands and offering them his know-how and content services of photos and videos for social media.
As the brands didn’t have sufficient knowledge of promoting on social media and as their campaigns didn’t yield results, they stopped doing business with Stephen.
Fortunately, in 2017, he picked up a big pasta company as his client and started working for them and was earning $10,000 per month but after a couple of months, the pasta company hired a new Vice President of Marketing who halted all his operations.
How Gary Vee inspired him to work on YouTube?
A month later, Stephen moved back to his home and at that time, he was depressed by the loss of his business.
At that time, Gary Vaynerchuk released a book and upon reading this book, he realised that he had many valuable skills including cooking, photography, video production and also experiences with food and life with which he could create content.
So, on 12 February 2018, Stephen started his YouTube channel by the name Not Another Cooking Show and started publishing videos onto it.
His parents were very supportive to him as they allowed him to use their kitchen to film his videos and also allowed him to live in their house without rent.
Now, Stephen is a successful YouTuber.
As of December 2022, he has 993K subscribers on his YouTube channel and 149K followers on Instagram.
Stephen earns from a variety of sources like advertisements on his YouTube videos, affiliate marketing, receiving sponsorships, selling merchandise and a PDF by the name Holiday Plan Of Attack and he also accepts donations through Patreon and PayPal.
He also has a website.
His strategy & gear-
His strategy with his YouTube channel is to build a library of videos and earn from them through advertisement revenues and brand deals and later, earn by licensing his videos to other video platforms.
Stephen is dyslexic.
A couple of interesting facts about Stephen Cusato-
- Sticky toffee pudding is his favourite dessert and he loves cooking it.
- Apart from food, Stephen loves watching comedy videos and listening to comedians’ podcasts.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Stephen Cusato?
Share with me in the comment section below.
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