Why Frankie Celenza Of Frankie Vs. The Internet Became An Internet Chef - Exclusive

Chef Frankie Celenza has been cooking up content practically non-stop for years now. Between his shows with Tastemade, including the recent Emmy-winning "Struggle Meals" and the cooking competition "Frankie vs. the Internet" — the new season of which premiered on July 20 — it's amazing that Celenza has time for anything else. Yet ever busy, the chef offers a subscription-based Pasta of the Month club that delivers one of his pasta recipes right to your inbox on the first of every month.

Frankie Celenza's follower population has soared since the early days of YouTube and now extends to various platforms across the internet. It's an impressive career for anyone, but being a hit internet chef is not the most common career path for someone to take. During an exclusive interview, we asked Frankie what inspired him to take this unusual career path and what he finds most rewarding about it.

The spark of an idea

Growing up in an Italian American family, Frankie Celenza was surrounded by good food from a young age, but once he moved away, he realized not everyone was so lucky. "When I left home for the first time, it occurred to me that not all other Americans had good home cooking in the family. I started undercutting my college's meal plan by a dollar, inviting people over to my place and telling them the history and myths of these Italian dishes I'd been eating my whole life, and they seemed interested."

Frankie wanted to help his friends learn more about cooking. Struck with inspiration, Frankie did what any person would do, and took to the internet. "Then I looked online ... There was only YouTube at the time, because this was when George Bush was the president. I looked online and I was like, 'Gee, if a 22-year-old wants to learn how to cook, there's no one with whom he or she can relate. All there [is] is Food Network, and they're all in their late 30s.' The passion of food and eating then went to, 'There's an opportunity to tell my generation or at least teach them in some way.'" Seeing a hole in the market, Celenza decided he could be a part of filling it — and the rest is history.

Reaping the rewards

Through his chosen platforms on social media, his work with local news stations, and his work with Tastemade, Frankie Celenza has built a wide range of information to help young people in their quest to learn to cook. When he started, the information just wasn't there, and now — partially thanks to Celenza — a world has opened for other aspiring cooks, and he couldn't be happier about it. 

"There's so many tools for the 22- and 23-year-olds now doing this that didn't exist when I was there. I'm satisfied in helping them [and] keeping the journey going." Celenza continued, "It's also going to give people continued culinary knowledge, which makes everybody a better eater, a better food buyer, and a better diner. That's the beautiful thing about all these food shows."

It isn't always easy work; as Celenza says, it can take a while to get there. "A year is nothing — three years isn't even that long. I feel like it takes eight years to really be in it." It may take a long time, but in the end, it is all worth it.

Frankie Celenza and Tastemade's hit series, "Frankie vs. the Internet," is back for Season 2 on Wednesday, July 20, available for streaming on Tastemade.com.