Malaysian engineer turned food content creator draws 1.5mil followers on TikTok


Abdul Qayyum encourages others to experiment with cooking through his simple and engaging videos. Photos: Abdul Qayyum Halid

Data engineer Abdul Qayyum Halid, 28, loves food and enjoys sharing his cooking videos on Asian and Western dishes on social media. Within a year, he garnered close to 1.5 million followers on TikTok and close to 600,000 followers on Instagram.

In February, he earned the title Best National Food Influencer at the KNKV Viral Awards 2024.

"I didn't expect to win the award because the other finalists who were shortlisted are seasoned and popular food content creators. I've been consistently posting recipes almost every day, and to date, I have shared over 360 recipes on social media. I see this as a stepping stone for me to become more creative and add greater value to the social media community," said Abdul Qayyum during a phone interview from his hometown Seri Manjung in Perak.

'Winning the award is a stepping stone for me to become more creative and add greater value to the social media community,' says Abdul Qayyum.'Winning the award is a stepping stone for me to become more creative and add greater value to the social media community,' says Abdul Qayyum.

In his cooking videos on social media, he employs the tagline "2 Minit 1 Resipi" (Two Minutes One Recipe), delivering a recipe within a two-minute timeframe.

The name Che Sayang Kitchen (Che Loves The Kitchen) pays tribute to mothers and grandmothers who can cook delicious food.

"When I started posting the cooking videos, my aim was to help busy working people, students and newlywed couples with limited knowledge in cooking. I try my best to provide dishes that people can follow easily. And if the dish turns out well, viewers would be encouraged to advance to more complex cooking levels and create even better dishes.

"That's the inspiration behind the tagline. It's concise enough to keep viewers engaged and simple enough for them to try," said Abdul Qayyum, who learned cooking from his mother, homemaker Khairiah Ab Rahman, 53.

'At university, I learned a great deal from friends and lecturers, which shaped who I am today,' says Abdul Qayyum.'At university, I learned a great deal from friends and lecturers, which shaped who I am today,' says Abdul Qayyum.

Never give up

Abdul Qayyum, a graduate in information systems from Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) in Seri Iskandar, Perak, has harboured a passion for entrepreneurship since his youth.

"I started selling snacks and comics when I was nine. After completing my degree, I still aspired to be a businessman. I believe that university has provided me with an excellent platform to nurture my entrepreneurial skills, talent and knowledge.

'If you feel passionate about the path you're pursuing, it's worth investing your time and energy into it,' says Abdul Qayyum. 'If you feel passionate about the path you're pursuing, it's worth investing your time and energy into it,' says Abdul Qayyum."At university, I learned a great deal from friends, lecturers and industry experts, both in theory and practice, which shaped who I am today. "Additionally, the work experience I gained after graduating contributed significantly to my knowledge base for my entrepreneurial journey," said Abdul Qayyum, who was the recipient of UTP's Gold Chancellor Award and Vice Chancellor Award.

After graduating, he ventured into a few part-time businesses like food (selling bread, biscuits and steamboat items), technology services and delivery service. Unfortunately, nothing worked out.

"At one point, I experienced a lot of stress and felt like I didn't want to pursue part-time businesses anymore. However, I remembered one of my late father's words: 'Success takes time; if you fall nine times, get up for the 10th.' Another thing I always keep in mind is to never be afraid to try. If you try, you have a 50% chance of success; if you don't try, you have 0% chance.

"Remembering both my parents made me stronger and motivated me to continue. I believe that by engaging in business, I can learn many things, including shaping my own mindset, discipline, patience and how to challenge myself. I understand that this journey is not easy, but with determination and faith in what I am doing, I believe the path to becoming a successful entrepreneur will unfold," said Abdul Qayyum,the second of five siblings.

Making cooking easy

Abdul Qayyum's cooking videos are recorded at his parents’ home in Seri Manjung. His videos have garnered praise for their simplicity and accessibility. He records most of his videos on weekends, when he isn't busy with work commitments.

'I'm constantly learning storytelling and videography techniques to enhance Che Sayang Kitchen videos and keep viewers engaged,' says Abdul Qayyum.'I'm constantly learning storytelling and videography techniques to enhance Che Sayang Kitchen videos and keep viewers engaged,' says Abdul Qayyum."I never attended any classes on shooting cooking videos. Instead, my online 'teachers' were Google and social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

"Previously, I used LED lights purchased from hardware stores and recorded them with my phone. However, I've been steadily upgrading my equipment, investing in professional lighting, cameras and microphones. Additionally, I'm constantly learning storytelling and videography techniques to enhance Che Sayang Kitchen videos and keep viewers engaged," shared Abdul Qayyum. "I've also gained valuable insights from experimenting with different recipes, exploring cookbooks and watching video tutorials."

Abdul Qayyum admits it is always a challenge to source good recipes to cater to his growing audience.

'I believe that by engaging in business, I can learn many things,' says Abdul Qayyum.'I believe that by engaging in business, I can learn many things,' says Abdul Qayyum."What I do is list down some recipes and analyse if they are simple enough to fit into a two-minute video slot, how they will appear in the video to attract viewers, and what the storyline of the video will be. I always research social media, observing how other creators do it and how well their content is received by viewers.

"Additionally, I love to read the comment sections of recipes, where viewers often share insights on how to make the recipes more delicious or simpler. I also turn to my mother for recipe advice," he explained.

He emphasised the importance of continuous learning and improvement, drawing inspiration from his favourite celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail (Chef Wan) and fellow food content creators like Khairul Aming and Hamdan Mubarak.

Abdul Qayyum shares his advice for aspiring Malaysian entrepreneurs.

"As a food content creator, I firmly believe that if you feel passionate about the path you're pursuing, it's worth investing your time and energy into it. However, it's crucial to set realistic expectations and develop a clear roadmap and business goals to stay motivated. Continuously strive for improvement and avoid becoming complacent with your current achievements. "Consistency and discipline are key traits of success in this journey, so stay committed and focused on your goals."


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