Local home chef shares recipes and cooking techniques on YouTube – The Oakland Press
After Jerry Bojanowski, 64, retired from his job as a systems architect at General Motors in April, he knew he wanted to do something to keep himself busy.
A longtime home chef who loved sharing recipes with his family, Bojanowski (or “Bojo” for short), decided to record and post a video of himself cooking a Sicilian steak with A’ meme on YouTube.
More than 50 videos later, Bojanowki’s audience continues to grow, with some popular videos – including his post for the Pizziola steak which garnered 18,000 views – doing well. Besides YouTube, Bojanowski also posts regularly on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. It is known online as Papa Bojo’s Kitchen.
Although Bojanowski has no formal culinary training, he has plenty of practice in the kitchen.
“I’ve been cooking since I can see over the counter and watch my mom,” said Bojanowski, who lives in Washington Township. “My mother is Italian, my father is Polish and my wife is Middle Eastern and German, so food has always been something important in our lives.”
Before posting videos online, Bojanowski, who has two children and four grandchildren, often referenced a family recipe binder when preparing everyday meals and parties for his family. He knew he wanted to pass the collection on to his children and grandchildren as a keepsake, but his daughter suggested something more. “She told me that I should post my videos on a website when I’m cooking,” he said. “That’s how I started, as something to do in my retirement.”
Each video takes about five hours from start to finish, Bojanowski said. Although it’s a lot of work, the process is a labor of love.
His recipes range from family favorites like chicken cremosi and Silician steak to pierogi and schnitzel. In addition to family favorites, he’s also recreated dishes he’s tried at restaurants, including avocado toast, which he recently tasted at a restaurant in Hawaii. “I’m good at taking recipes and reverse engineering the ingredients in them,” he said.
Most of the dishes he creates can be cooked quickly at home, except for a few of the entrees he created in the smokehouse. He has meats, sides, soups and more on his page. Even with such variety, he said he was surprised to see which videos are popular.
“I was surprised how many people were interested in my bacon video,” he said. “It’s very simple like how to bake bacon instead of frying it. You don’t get the splatter and the bacon stays flat.
In addition to working on posts for Papa Bojo’s Kitchen, Bojanowski also posts online video reviews as a local food reviewer. However, since COVID-19, Bojanowski has slowed his restaurant reviews because he said the industry has been hit hard enough by the pandemic.
While the future is uncertain for his restaurant review videos, Bojanowski has no plans to slow down Papa Bojo’s Kitchen posts. As the channels continue to grow, it has received positive feedback from viewers, including Sherry Rinke Eckhardt, who gave Bojanowski a positive review from Facebook. “I love his cooking and the way he explains everything,” she wrote.
“For me, it’s so much fun. I love cooking and sharing what I know with people. If it makes a person happy or (forces them to) try something new, then I’m happy,” said he declared.