'Petuk Couple' is the first renowned couple food vlogging YouTube channel in Bangladesh. Rasif Shafique and Ridima Khan Ipsha created this channel back in 2018 out of their love for food.
Food vlogging and couple vlogging are two different things. Petuk Couple combined them in their channel, and the result is more than 0.7 million subscribers.
"Even before we started our journey as vloggers, we were foodies. So, we came up with the idea of opening a channel and there came the Petuk Couple," said Rasif, in a conversation with the writer.
The comments of viewers are their greatest inspiration. They think that without their support, they might not be able to continue their journey as vloggers. People love their videos and this made it possible for them to make videos even outside Bangladesh.
Clash of taste buds is a common scenario in couple vlogging. But both Rasif and Ipsha share the same taste buds and they don't fight over choosing the food. Rasif elaborated, "Our taste buds are almost similar. And if we crave two different types of cuisines/restaurants on the same day, then we go for both of them. By the way, Ipsha always chooses drinks from the menu, and I choose the main course." Such coordination and understanding between them make their content lovable.
However, coming across varieties of delicacies, do they ever face any discomfort related to foods?
"We have always been foodies. But we only eat that much that we can digest easily. And we often pack the residual food and eat that at home the next day. So, no, we don't face any discomfort."
Rasif shared that they face problems when they want to vlog inside a restaurant. Most restaurant owners are not confident with their food quality or fear getting negative reviews, and they don't allow cameras. Rasif respects their decision; he explained, "Some restaurants don't allow cameras inside their premises, and as we don't take permission before going to any restaurants, sometimes we are not allowed to shoot, which is okay."
There are things he dislikes about Bangladeshi restaurants, and consistency in quality and taste of food comes first. They suggest restaurants improve hygiene.
"The most important aspect of food vlogging is to show the viewers how that food is made and introduce them to the ingredients. But the problem with our restaurant culture is that they don't allow anyone to enter their kitchen. Most of them claim their recipe might be stolen if the food-making process is shown. But in reality, they are afraid because of their unhygienic kitchen setup," Rasif explained.
He further commented, "If you see international-level food vlogs, you'll see the owners are not only allowing the vloggers to their kitchen but also they're keen to show their food-making process."
Nevertheless, the Petuk Couple hopes to see changes in audience perspective as well. Rasif continued, "Most people think we take money to promote food, which is not true. I've even open-challenged it in one of my posts. Different people have different taste buds. For example, a lot of people love to eat dried fish (Shutki Mach) but we can't even eat that. But does that mean 'Shutki' is bad?"
This kind of negative thought about food vloggers arises because of some dishonest people who genuinely make paid food vlogs. Rasif expressed his point of view and said, "There will always be a group of people who wouldn't care about ethics and honesty and will run after money. And this philosophy is applied to this industry also."
As knowledge can be enriched gradually, Rasif thinks that we don't have to worry about the newcomers with zero knowledge about food. However, being aware of dishonest money-makers is imperative. In this regard, the audience has to apply common sense and learn to distinguish between proper food vlogging and showing off for money.
Another problem is that most restaurant owners are more into promoting their existing food and servicing through food vloggers. As they see food vlogging as a means of promoting their business, quality improvement often remains ignored.
Well, Rasif and Ipsha also have seen the other side of the coin, the better one which they have loved.
"I've seen some owners recently who genuinely want us to visit their restaurants not for vlog but for our feedback. Recently I got a call from a person who is working on starting a restaurant business. He hasn't opened it yet and is asking about how he can improve his overall restaurant food quality and services. Although the number is few, I admire them."
The Petuk Couple has been vlogging for 4 years now. They have gained experience with food as well as vlogging. They are travelling outside Bangladesh and doing travel and food vlogs as they aim to explore the world and try various cuisines. They simply want to share their experience through their vlog to a mass audience and want to make videos that can touch the lofty quality standards set by the globally renowned vloggers.
For the newcomers, Rasif and Ipsha give a piece of simple advice - come to food vlogging only if you are passionate about food.
Rasif's concluding remark fits well in this argument, "Be genuine and always be honest with your opinion. Don't fall into the trap of restaurant owners and the money that they offer for promoting their restaurants. Remember, your audience is the one who is going to support you. So, don't break their trust."