Aussie food vlogger enjoys bringing joy to people

Writer: Chen Xiaochun  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Original  |  Updated: 2024-05-16

Video and photos by Lin Jianping

“Hello, I’m Big Head. If you have a big head, there’s no need to worry when it rains; while others have umbrellas, I've got my big head,” said Australian food vlogger Steven Greig, quoting a humorous Chinese saying referring to himself. Since 2020, he has been sharing his cooking videos on the Xiaohongshu platform. With his superb culinary skills and unique sense of humor, he quickly garnered the affection of viewers, amassing a large following in a short span of time. Currently, Greig's Xiaohongshu account, “Foreigner Big Head (老外大头),” boasts over 165,000 followers.

Greig prepares tacos, a traditional Mexican dish.

“If I could create a program where I teach people how to cook while also entertaining them, I believe it would be a win-win situation,” Greig remarked during an exclusive interview with the Shenzhen Daily. Being a food vlogger isn’t Greig’s profession; he shares his culinary skills with people purely out of passion.

Greig fries two pieces of beef steak in preparation for making tacos.

Two months ago, for work reasons, Greig relocated to Shenzhen. Currently, he holds the position of chief China representative at Handpicked Wines, overseeing sales and marketing of the company's imported Australian wine.

An ‘old Chinese’

“I’m China’s son-in-law (I have a Chinese wife), deeply fond of this country. China has become like a second home to me. Actually, I now see China as my home, with Australia being my second home. Since coming to China, I’ve felt the kindness in the hearts of its people,” Greig remarked.

Greig began studying Chinese in 1989 and received a full scholarship to come to China for his studies in 1991. He jokingly remarked that he came to China the same year as the interviewing journalist because the journalist happened to be born in that particular year.

Greig receives an exclusive interview with the Shenzhen Daily.

Greig mentioned that when he was in his teens, his father consistently recommended that he study Chinese when he attended university. Perplexed by this suggestion, Greig asked his father why he was so insistent on him learning Chinese. “He said, ‘In the future, China will become a superpower. When China becomes a superpower, with your foreign face and Chinese language skills, you will never be unemployed.’‘Thank you, Dad. I haven’t been unemployed,’” Greig said appreciatively.

During his two-year study period in China, Greig spent his vacations traveling throughout the country, backpacking solo from Inner Mongolia to Sanya, and from Taiwan to Xizang. After graduating, he returned to Australia and worked as a Chinese teacher for a year before pursuing various other job roles related to China.

Greig in Wuyuan, Jiangxi Province. Courtesy of the interviewee

“All the jobs I’ve done are related to China. I’ve worked in the clothing business, as well as in household appliances. I even served as the Australian distributor for Joyoung Appliances. At that time, I was still under 30. I attended the Canton Fair and saw the soy milk machine. Being a fan of soy milk, I decided to export the first Joyoung soy milk machine to Australia. I did that for several years, and then I sold the company,” Greig introduced.

So, Greig has been traveling back and forth to China for over 30 years, gaining a profound understanding of Chinese culture and becoming a connoisseur of all things Chinese.

Unexpectedly becoming a food vlogger 

Since childhood, Greig has had a passion for cooking, even aspiring to become a chef in his teens. Spending much of his youth at his grandmother’s house, he learned to cook by her side. “Cooking is truly a joy, a hobby of mine. I find that it alleviates my stress rather than adding to it. It's a source of relaxation instead of a burden,” he added.

A huge taco prepared by Greig.

In 2020, many were confined to their homes, including Greig, as the situation was similar in Australia due to contagion concerns. Therefore, he found himself with ample free time. “Many of my Chinese friends suggested that it was an opportune moment to create content on Xiaohongshu, teaching people how to cook,” Greig recalled.

So Greig and his wife downloaded the Xiaohongshu app, kicking off their culinary video-making journey.

“At first, I wasn’t fully prepared, but because I’m naturally humorous and love cracking jokes, I decided to start a show, naming it ‘Big Head’s Happy Kitchen.’ Why ‘Happy Kitchen’? Well, at that time, many people were feeling down and stressed out. I figured if I could create a show where I teach cooking while also making them laugh, it would be a win-win,” he explained.

A screenshot of Greig’s account on Xiaohongshu.

In the videos, Greig instructs viewers on cooking, particularly Western cuisine, while his wife assists with filming and editing. Despite initially expecting little attention, they found themselves quickly amassing a large and diverse following across different age groups.

“At the beginning, I wondered if people were just watching me because they had nothing better to do, but then I realized that wasn't the case. Many people sent me feedback, saying they particularly enjoyed my show and found me amusing and humorous, which made them happy,” Greig said.

Greig poses for a photo with a taco he made.

Each shoot demands extensive preparation and post-production work, and Greig also juggles his own job. Though he is quite busy with his job, he remains committed to running the show and will begin recording shows from Shenzhen. He does not want to let his fans down. He enjoys interacting with them through messaging and seeing their photos after they have cooked one of his dishes.

Greig poses for a photo with Richard Clayderman. Courtesy of the interviewee

Even with over 165,000 followers, Greig doesn’t see himself as a celebrity. He joked that he might be better known in Sydney, Australia, where he has worked as a bilingual MC host for many events including Richard Clayderman’s concert in Australia. Greig has also hosted shows in Sydney for the popular Chinese singer-songwriter Han Lei, Chinese cross talk artist Jiang Kun and super host Meng Fei. He also acted alongside the famous Chinese actress Tong Liya in a TV series. For him, the followers on Xiaohongshu are more akin to friends. “I don’t consider them as my fans. They’re my friends, 165,000 friends. I feel incredibly fortunate and happy,” Greig commented.

Shenzhen makes him feel young

Greig finds Shenzhen a fast-paced city. Since moving to Shenzhen, he feels revitalized. “Honestly, Shenzhen has had a profound impact on me. Physically, I’m still in good shape. I enjoy surfing, as well as walking and running. But since arriving in Shenzhen, I feel like my zest for life has returned. Seeing the young people around me gives me a sense of rejuvenation; it’s as if I can reclaim my youth. Shenzhen is an incredible place. It has become my home now, and I absolutely love it.”

Greig on the Shenzhen Metro. Courtesy of the interviewee

Once, Greig ran into one of his fans on the Shenzhen Metro. The fan was too shy to speak to him but later reached out with a message.

Greig hopes that if anyone spots him on the street and wants to chat, they won’t hesitate to do so. “Don't be shy, just say hello, add me on WeChat, and let’s be friends. Having more friends is always a good thing, so be sure to add me. I love making new friends; the more, the merrier. With more friends, the world becomes a better and bigger place.”

Greig at Shenzhen Talent Park. Courtesy of the interviewee

So, if you see Greig walking around Shenzhen, don’t hesitate to say hello, add him on WeChat, and become friends with him.

Since 2020, Steven Greig has been sharing his cooking videos on the Xiaohongshu platform. With his superb culinary skills and unique sense of humor, he quickly garnered the affection of viewers, amassing a large following in a short span of time. Currently, Greig's Xiaohongshu account, “Foreigner Big Head (老外大头),” boasts over 165,000 followers.