YouTube serves multiple purposes for different people. Some use the video platform to watch music videos, movies, comedy series, cartoons, news or learn new skills such as cooking. That was how Octavius “Tay” Nelson from South Carolina learned how to barbecue via Youtube.
Growing up in Fountain Inn, South Carolina, Nelson watched his dad and brother cook in a local Greenville restaurant while he washed the dishes. His dad’s food brought joy to many families as it became the fulcrum around which the community gathered to enjoy tasty meals.
When his father and brother died in 2008 and 2009 respectively, Nelson thought of something significant to honor their memory by engaging in the shared passion of food. However, the problem was that he didn’t know how to cook.
He then took to YouTube to watch videos on how to cook to hone his cooking skills. “I watched every video I could find,” Nelson told GNN. In that way, he said, I “learned everything from how to cook different types of meat to business-related tips on how to run a restaurant.”
Besides learning how to cook, he also used the video platform to study everything there is to know about running a restaurant business. Through the skills he acquired on YouTube, he, together with his wife, opened a restaurant business in 2018.
He named the restaurant Bobby’s BBQ after his late father and brother. Today, his restaurant serves delicious barbecue classics. Aside from its classic food, it has also provided jobs to some 60 people in their community.
Despite the pandemic affecting businesses across America and Black-led businesses being the hardest hit, BBQ weathered the storm. “We are incredibly grateful that we’ve managed to keep our doors open through this pandemic, so we can continue to have a positive impact on our community, as well as keeping our staff employed,” he said.
Following the relative success of his restaurant, Nelson wants to pass on this culinary technique to others via the platform it all began: YouTube. He is in the process of developing virtual culinary tutorials targeting incarcerated people.
“I would say it’s God,” Nelson told inspiremore. “First, I ran from it, and then it was a hobby, and then it just fell in place. When you’re really doing what you’re supposed to be doing, it makes sense.”
For the past four years, Nelson has participated in the Mauldin BBQ Cookoff where he was awarded first place for his brisket in 2017.
Nelson has been married to his wife, Sarah, since 2013. They have five beautiful children. The family believe that it is only through the grace of God that they were able to see this vision become a reality.