In 2011, Japan was devastated by a massive earthquake and the resulting Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown, the effects of which are still being felt. Office worker Ami Nishimura couldn’t help but see the frailty of life during that moment. She asked herself, “Is this the work I really need to do now? Shouldn’t I be doing something I really want to do?” she recounted in a feature for Toyo-Keizai. Galvanized with new determination, she quit her job and began making videos of her passion: cooking. She also hoped, in her way, to preserve a piece of Japan, she told The Japan Times.
In the four years since she started vlogging on her YouTube channel, ochikeron, Nishimura has garnered over 700,000 subscribers and nearly 80 million views of her videos, but little has changed in her aspirations as a YouTube personality. “I feel still many people are not thinking that cooking in general is creative and fun but just housework. Many viewers tend to watch kawaii (cute) stuff and sweets. It is obviously changing in Japan and many people are trying to find a way to enjoy cooking. I hope I can share this idea and at the same time share Japanese-style cuisine to the world,” she told SF Globe in an email.
Posting a new video every three days, Nishimura films easy-to-follow instructions on recipes for every meal of the day, including adorably cute packed lunches. Though she selects recipes with her viewers in mind, she told us the most important element she considers when preparing a meal is her family. Perhaps this is why, when asked for her advice for other home cooks, she said, “I think recipes are just an inspiration to start cooking. Everyone has different tastes, so through trial and error improve their skills and discover their own way of cooking. Therefore, just don’t give up!!!”
In the video below, Nishimura shares a two-ingredient chocolate cake. Unlike a traditional soft or spongy chocolate cake, this recipe is for a Gâteau au Chocolat, which has a denser, richer core — a chocolate lover’s dream. What’s more, by eliminating some of the more traditional ingredients, the cake is adaptable for a number of dietary restrictions, allergies, or personal tastes. “My suggestion is just follow this recipe as is, then go ahead and make it in the way you like,” she noted. How? Try different varieties of chocolate bars, or add additional ingredients.
One tip from viewers who have tried the recipe: Use an electric mixer to make the meringue, and be sure the batter is thoroughly mixed. If not, the consistency of the cake will be compromised, affecting the taste and texture. Another recommendation from Nishimura from the video description: brush the cake with fruit brandy, or simply serve it with whipped cream. It’s no wonder that this simple cake recipe remains one of her most popular dessert videos since it was uploaded in 2013.