While quite literally hundreds of aspiring chefs across the UK have opened their doors to rival cooks, battling it out for a £1000 cash prize, few have enjoyed the same legacy of ‘whisk guy’.
Kev Riley became none of the most recognisable memes of all time years after impressively shoving an entire whisk in his mouth while cooking a cheesecake for his unsuspecting guests.
A decade on from becoming ‘whisk guy’, however, even in the age when social media can make a Pomeranian a millionaire, Kev hasn’t made a penny from his Come Dine With me experience.
The DJ from Burnley is now juggling his time spinning discs, working in a call centre and finally cashing in on his fame as the latest star on celebrity video messaging service Cameo, where, against his own judgement, he’s been a hit.
‘I’ve had 20 requests in in two days,’ he tells us, charging £25 a pop but as his popularity has become evident, Kev is going to up his prices.
‘I started low thinking I’m Z-list at the very best so I looked for the cheapest and did it as that, but then I got an email straightaway from Cameo and they know what they’re doing, saying “you’re too cheap, you know, put it up!”
‘I put it up to 30 quid, but they’ve email me again saying you could get more but I’m just going to leave it at that.’
After Cameo takes 25 percent of Riley earnings, with 10 requests a day at £30 a go, he’s already cashing in £240 a day and can easily make over £1,000 a week.
But for Kev, it’s about time.
‘I’ve never made money from Come Dine With Me,’ he says. ‘But other people have. They released 30,000 Come Dine With Me Christmas jumpers two years ago, Netflix has bought the rights to show it and then I’m the face of that on their channel.
‘But all this is nothing for me.’
It wasn’t until a colleague posted on Reddit boasting that he works with ‘the whisk guy’ Kev found there was a huge group of users, or Redditors, gagging to speak to the daytime TV – let’s face it – icon, calling for an AMA, also known as an ‘ask me anything’.
‘I obviously didn’t know what that meant, but then I did this interview on Reddit, which was 30,000 people asking questions. That went crazy. And then I got Cameo email me off the back of that and just said, “we think it would work on the site and would you be interested?” and I thought, you know, why not? You know, make a penny off it.’
Naturally, he’s been inundated with requests to recreate his scene-stealing moment from Come Dine With Me, but even if they don’t want a replay, he’ll dig out a whisk anyway.
‘Why would you book me if you don’t want me to do that?’
Fair, although he’s already had some rogue customers.
‘The internet is pretty strange,’ he says. ‘I had one woman who said, “can you talk about hamsters on video?” I just named a few random facts about hamsters.’
For Kev though, he says he’s always been ‘semi-well known’ in Burnley, previously owning a nightclub and DJing at parties.
‘But if something interesting is happening then interest is pretty widespread so when I was on Come Dine With Me the whole town watched it.’
The commotion soon died down though until comedian Joe Lycett came across the episode and popped Riley shoving a kitchen utensil in his mouth on Twitter.
‘That’s when it just went bonkers. I mean, you know, literally 76 inboxes, emails and texts and people send them in mad request to do DJ gigs, that’s when really mental.’
But Kev thinks it’s now ‘more mental than it’s ever been’.
‘I thought I thought I’d missed the boat with all this Cameo thing but it just seems to be rolling, rolling.
‘I don’t even think I looked that much like it anymore, because I’m 10 years older. You see some of the comments on Twitter and it gets shared, people saying “bloody ‘ell, he’s aged!”’
Come Dine With Me is available to stream on All 4 and Netflix. You can request a video from Kev Riley – aka Whisk Guy – on Cameo.
Credit: Original article published here.