A Worthing father-of-three whose food vlogs have made him an instagram star is set to appear on a new Channel 4 cooking programme.
Steve Chiswell, aka Chizzy, has earned more than 12,000 followers for his cooking vlogs and restaurant tours on his instagram page Chizzy Sussex Food Vlogger.
He has become well known in the town’s food industry and has charmed followers with his catchphrase: “Yo, yo, yo, it’s your boy Chizzy, what we got, what we got.”
Now he is set to appear as one of the contestants on Cooking up a Fortune, which sees pairs of amateur cooks compete to sell homemade street food dishes to the public.
Chizzy, who is no stranger to being filmed, said he was surprisingly camera shy and ‘so nervous’ at first during the recording – but soon got into his stride and is now looking forward to seeing it air.
A removal man by trade, Chizzy describes himself a ‘big foodie’ but would not call himself a chef.
“I’m not the best cook in Britain,” he said. “I’m just a working man, a family man, who has a passion for food, and likes to teach my children how to cook and introduce them to new food.”
It was all down to his two youngest daughters that his instagram fame came about.
He said Fifi, now six, and Ruby, 10, used to be ‘really fussy eaters’ who favoured nuggets and chips.
But around two years ago, he found Fifi watching him make a prawn cocktail and not only asking to help him, but pestering him to let her try some.
When she liked it, he said he ‘couldn’t believe it’ and from then on, he started getting her involved whenever he cooked.
It worked, and he said: “She changed her palette completely, she tries everything now – seabass, avocado, steak.”
And so Chizzy’s Kitchen was born, with Chizzy filming videos of him and his children cooking together and trying out new foods.
Within two months, he had 5,000 followers on his instagram page. “It completely blew up really,” he said. “I was surprised, I was totally shocked. People just loved it, everyone knows a fussy eater.”
He said he was flooded with messages, particularly from single dads telling him he had inspired them to cook with their children.
“People say to me you make cooking fun,” he said. “What I’m doing is modern, fresh and relevant.
“It’s what everyone relates to, we all eat a least two or three meals a day.”
It got to the stage where he was spending so much time on his phone that, around seven months ago, he decided to quit his work in removals after 18 years and focus on social media full time.
And while he said he had taken a big pay cut to do so, he said: “It’s something I’m passionate about, I enjoy food and I like showing people where to go.”
Alongside his cooking videos, he began doing restaurant tours and has now visited every restaurant in Worthing – showcasing the menu, the location and what he has chosen to eat.
Chizzy said the town, which has been his home for more than 20 years, had a lot to offer food-lovers.
He works closely with brands and businesses in the community, having recently judged at the Worthing Food and Drink festival and fundraised £500 for Chestnut Tree House.
He said: “I love sunny Worthing. I like to show people about the town and what we’ve got.”
He revealed that his favourite restaurant in Worthing is Tito’s in Graham Road, Worthing, as his favourite cuisine is Spanish.
Chizzy also does social media consultancy work, which is how he met fellow food vlogger Kath Symes, with whom he appears on the TV show.
Watch Chizzy on Cooking Up a Fortune on Channel 4 on Wednesday, September 25, and Thursday, September 26, at 5.30pm.
Any businesses in Worthing who are keen to work with Chizzy should follow his instagram page @chizzy_sussex_food_vlogger