A 79-year-old Mexican is the new star chef of YouTube
Known as Tito Charly, the former supermarket employee who lost his job because of the COVID-19 pandemic has gained the heart of the Internet foodies thanks to his jokes and recipes.
Carlos Elizondo Frias, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, has always been what is often called a "restless soul." He had a transport company all his life, but when his wife passed away, his children grew up and he retired, he realized that staying at home as expected from the elderly did not work for him. So a friend convinced him to work a few hours bagging at a supermarket, a task he performed for seven years until the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to be homebound.
"My daughter told me one day that I was getting old, so she proposed to me the idea of creating a a channel with my grandson," Elizondo told DPA.
That's how the adventure began for this old man who, in just a few months, has become the new star chef of YouTube, with a cooking program he broadcasts in style every Sunday from his home and which has already received more than 1.4 million video views.
"Wow, look how beautiful it is, we're going to put it here and it's going to be called Margarita," says this chef, whose alias is Tito Charly, as he finishes decorating a delicious-looking hotcake in one of the videos.
Behind the scenes you can hear one of his daughters, Veronica, who is in charge of the recording, while his grandson is in charge of the technology. A family project, where Tito Charly can put into practice many of the recipes he learned from his wife and father-in-law, great cooks, he says, and reinvents them with a mixture of humor, spontaneity and golden hands.
"He likes to live life, well at ease. Ever since I was a little girl I remember that he liked to make people happy," says Veronica.
His channel is doing so well that he's thinking of recording several days a week due to requests from people all over Latin America, who are delighted with the chef's smile and funny character.
"It's been a boom here. Trying to have fun is what matters most to me," admits the Mexican, who has not hesitated to use his enormous influence to promote the handmade products of some family friends -chorizo, cheese, honey, coffee...-, who even propose to pack them under the brand name "Tito Charly" and which are sold through Facebook.
Asked by NPR about the key to his quick success -his first show was on May 24-, Elizondo happily answered:
"I don't know, maybe because I'm so charismatic. What else can I say? It's not something to brag about. Besides, it's my way of being and my way of talking. People like it. And at this time when we are all locked inside doing nothing, I suppose listening to this old man talk and do his cooking show is lovely and something to have fun with."
Mexico is one of the countries most severely-hit by the COVID pandemic and, according to the Ministry of Health, there are already more than 275,000 confirmed cases and the daily record of infections has risen to 6,995.
Stories such as that of Carlos Elizondo Frias bring a ray of light and above all a taste for the bitter moments the country is going through.