Blackboard’s quest to discover culinary legends have taken us to one of the world’s most popular and iconic Food Vlogger and YouTuber, The Food Ranger. This legendary food youtuber and filmmaker, Trevor James who has more than 1 million subscribers on his youtube channel talks to Blackboard about his journey, love for travelling and eating and most importantly his upcoming world trip in 2018 to discover the culinary potential that the world offers.
The Food Ranger Interview: “We travel everywhere just to eat” | Blackboard Exclusive
Here’s our editor Amit Sengupta taking an exclusive interview of The Food Ranger:
Q: I am talking to one of the iconic food vloggers of our times. How did it all start?
It all began when I first left Canada to go on a four month backpacking trip with a friend after we graduated high school in 2006. We had both saved up about $ 4000 and were planning on making that last as long as possible on the road in Southeast Asia. We made it last four months as we travelled from Singapore up to Beijing overland with no airplanes.
It was on that trip that I fell in love with traveling and the food that you can find along the way. I became addicted to exploring new areas and finding the best foods of each city and neighbourhood that we explored. It was so exciting to not only taste new flavours but to also interact with friendly locals wherever we went. Even with a language barrier, I discovered that there is always a way to communicate through positivity and a smile. I loved the last country we visited the most; China, because to me it was like a whole new world. Everything was new; the language, the food, the atmosphere, and everything seemed so opposite of what I became accustomed to growing up in Canada. After the trip ended, I had non-stop cravings to travel and struggled with wanderlust all through my university years at UBC in Vancouver, Canada.
I wanted to leave and bring my camera and see what there was to discover and to eat. I booked a one way flight to China the day after I graduated and enrolled myself in a university in Chengdu to study international trade, my backup plan if Foodrangin’ failed. Within one year and after filming many videos for my channel, I decided to drop out of my Masters degree in China and pursue Foodrangin’ full time. This was one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. It felt great to decide to pursue what I really wanted instead of pursuing the option that sounded smart on paper. I enrolled in a culinary school in Chengdu, Sichuan and studied the basics of Sichuan cuisine for one term. This was such an amazing experience but I couldn’t handle both school and producing videos every week, so I finally decided to go truly full time and dropped out of culinary school. Ting and I have been full time for about 1 year now and are loving every day!
Q. What inspired you to create your identity with food?
I always found that food is the best way to travel as it immerses you in the local culture and is a great way to make friends. I get excited watching chefs make the food and chatting with them too. I always bring my camera and since I love doing this, I knew it would be a perfect fit to create a You Tube channel about it!
Q. You seem to be in love with street foods throughout the world. Which have been your best street food eating experiences so far?
Definitely all of the food in China and India. I love spicy and pungent food, the food that makes you feel alive, and China and India have a ton of this!
Q. Which country or place you would like to travel just to EAT?
We travel everywhere just to eat. We barely do anything else like sightseeing when we travel. In 2018 we are planning on going on a world trip, and I’m most excited for Mexico!
Q. We see more of Thailand and South East Asian nations in your you tube videos. Do you think their street food is more diverse and rich than other countries?
I think it’s really easy to find strong flavours in Asia. You can easily find spicy dishes and powerful foods all throughout Asia, and for me, creating videos, that’s a heaven.
Q. One weird dish that you have tried so far? Do you have the video of that dish?
I would probably say the penis soup in Penang, Malaysia, is the most unique thing I’ve tried so far. It was very rubbery and in a light curry broth. The owner said it was good for men’s health, LOL!
Q. If you were to visit India, which ONE DISH you would try.
We’ve been to India 3 times already and filmed in Mumbai, Delhi, Amritsar, Lucknow, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kerala, and Kolkata. Out of all these places, if I could go back to just one to eat, I would probably go back to Hyderabad for the biryani or perhaps Kerala to visit the toddy shops and have the Karimeen fish, that was so spicy and delicious!
Q. If you were to document a street food video with a living legend, who would that person be and where would you shoot that video?
I like to think that a lot of the places we shoot at have chefs and workers that are living legends, and that’s what I like exploring and showing to our audience. I get most excited to share everyday hard working restaurant owners and workers that prepare legendary food to our audience.
Q. What do you do when you are not eating or shooting for your you tube channel?
If we are not eating or shooting, I am editing, researching, planning, or doing other behind the scenes stuff. It’s a full time project that both Ting and I are in love with!
Q. What is your dream destination where you would want to go just to discover the food?
The whole world! My dream destination changes all the time. I love to make really last minute decisions about where to go. I used to dream of traveling and living in China, and still do to some extent, but after living in China for four years I started dreaming of India, and now after traveling to India a few times I’m dreaming of exploring Mexico and more of Asia that we haven’t discovered yet.
I think my dreams are always changing and I’m always looking for new places. In 2018, we’re looking at a few destinations, choosing from Mexico, Lebanon, Philippines, Indonesia, Morocco, Spain, Korea, Japan, and more. I hope we can travel the whole world!