Kainaat Syed, a YouTuber is known for her cooking recipe videos of Kashmiri cuisine and other traditional foods in Kashmir.
Hailing from HMT area of Srinagar, she started a YouTube channel ‘Kashmiri Zaika’ in December 2018 and her first recipe was fish fry. Initially, she wasn’t aware of video editing but later she learned and grew steadily.
Kainaat mostly makes videos of cooking of Kashmiri cuisines like Rista, Biryani, Rogunjosh, Paneer, chicken, Yakhni, walnut chutni and other local varieties.At the same time she also makes other cuisines like Mughlai, continental, Italian cuisines etc.
“But honestly, as my maximum audience is Kashmiri, the response to other dishes is not same as Kashmiri dishes,” she said.
Over the past four years Kainaat has worked hard and has 132,000 subscribers on YouTube and 22,000 followers on Instagram. She got silver button from YouTube after completing 100k subscribers. She dedicates this to his audience who supported her in her journey.
“I do everything myself, shooting, editing, voice over, uploading, and managing my social media. I never hired anyone to handle my work. It is actually very tough to manage but I somehow manage it with the immense support of my family,” she said.
In 2018, Kainaat won international award in Riyad, Saudi Arabi when Lulu Group in association with Indian Embassy organized a cooking competition and she received the first prize.
Born and brought up in Srinagar, She did her schooling from Mallinson Girls School, Srinagar and graduated from Chandigarh University.
She said during 2019 lockdown as schools were closed she used to make sandwiches, burgers and even helping her grandmother in cooking.
“Cooking always fascinates me and I love to serve people food that I make. This is the reason for choosing cooking videos for my YouTube channel. I usually make videos of local available foods. Sometimes I use many unique ingredients which we usually ignore. From main dishes to snacks to sweet dishes, street food, I cover almost all everyday food,” said Kainaat.
The self-taught YouTuber has attended many professional workshops on Arabic cuisine, Turkish cuisine, Indian cuisine, continental cuisine, Italian cuisine etc.
“Cooking is my passion. It gives me energy, positive vibes and enriches my soul every time I cook something new,” she said.
The 33-year-old Kainaat is a hard-core traveller. She has travelled all around the world and most of the parts of India and tried almost all cuisines.
“I am a person who believes that if I know any skill or possess any knowledge, I should share it with others which gives me happiness to make someone knowledgeable, skilled in whatever way is possible for me. That is the main intention behind starting a YouTube channel,” she said.
Kainaat said she makes sure that the recipe she makes is easily communicated to her audience. “I make sure the steps are easy, to the point and interesting,” she said.
She has shown many recipes for the first time on YouTube including Chochwor, Sheeremal, Samar Kulcha, Kashmiri kulcha, Bael Tomul, Chicken Harisa, Girda and many more.
“Besides I was the first to make autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos in Kashmir. But one thing, I always feel sorry for is that it was not recognized on any platform. That never stopped me doing what I am doing silently,” she said.
Kianaat, who is married in Budgam now, said she targets to take Kashmiri cuisines to the world level and show people besides the picturesque beauty of Kashmir.
“Our food culture is equally beautiful and rich. My another target is to preserve our forgotten or lost food traditions. I have uploaded a video how to make Bael Tomul, a local recipe but it is lost. It took me 20 days to search for 'Kanz & Muhul' but while finding it I gave up. I want to contribute to preserve Kashmiri culture. My last target is to make this world a better happy place with my small contribution and make my audience happy,” she said.
While talking about the influence of YouTube on people she said YouTube in particular and social media in general have a huge impact on society these days.
Kainaat said for any work or any passion support is necessary and she is lucky enough to have a supportive family on her back. “This was very new when I started it but even though my family supported me in every way to pursue my passion,” she said.
For Kainaat the response of people has been the driving force that keeps her going. She is always overwhelmed by the response she received from thousands of unknown people across the globe.
“My happiness has no bounds when I receive messages from the USA, Africa, Chennai, Nepal, Gulf, and from all across J&K about how my cooking videos have helped them in their life. That is the satisfaction behind all this,” she said.
She said YouTube is the best platform in this digital world to preserve any material.
“Food culture is one among them and the beauty of this platform is that its reach is huge audience. I cook something and you present it to the world. I believe YouTube has an immense contribution in preserving our food culture,” she said.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, when people were confined to indoors she did not stop making videos for his online audience.
“During Covid-19 when everyone around was confined and people were struggling to move out, an idea struck in my mind why not to try some recipes which will make life better especially for Kashmir. I made some unique recipes for which I received lot of appreciation from my audience,” she said.
Kainaat suggested aspiring YouTubers to make use of this platform wisely.
“People will remember you for good and bad things, try to make such content that will recognize with good things. Content and consistency are the two things which are important, all other things will follow,” she said.
Kainaat wants to open a culinary academy in Kashmir which she said would be a platform to make the world know our Kashmir cousins and food culture.
“There is no dearth of talent. But we don’t have that infrastructure or platform which is keeping far behind from others,” she said.
“Kashmiri is known as a paradise on earth not only for its green landscapes, mountains, lakes, but very genuinely it is a paradise also for its diverse, cultures, aromatic and food,” she added.