Everything happens in the kitchen of a real restaurant in Guadalix de la Sierra, a town north of Madrid.
The cook, Tomás Candelas, 76, walks by the stove and complains: "I go round and round and you have nothing to do, I have two ovens, seven burners, I'm cutting and you touching your balls and I I come to run and no matter how much I want to run I don't get there and on top of that you get in the way, how used are you to me doing everything ”, he says.
The restaurant has started serving real customers who wait at their tables and Tomás wails like a real cook.
However, there is a substantial difference.
More than two thousand people are watching her spiel live on the Twitch channel Arroz y Desgracias.
"Don Tomás represents me at work," responds a viewer in the Twitch chat, a platform famous for broadcasting direct video games but whose more varied offer is growing, such as the IRL category ("real life", in its acronym in English). ).
In this modality, Arroz y Desgracias is one of the four channels nominated for the Esland awards, the main ones for the Hispanic community on Twitch, which are awarded this Sunday in Mexico.
Aarón Candelas looks at the screen in the small studio to broadcast direct from the Twitch channel Arroz y Desgracias.
The Candelas channel began in full confinement, in the summer of 2020. Its initial objective was to show a real service in a restaurant.
But the product has evolved and has adapted to what works best: "At the beginning it was super-based on my father, me and the kitchen," says Aarón Candelas, 26, Tomás's son and assistant and the brains of the entire operation.
“But since Ainara [Aarón's girlfriend] joined, we began to explore the theme of family.
Arroz y Desgracias began as a kitchen and today it is a reality show for a family.
We are the most unstructured family possible, but we are also a normal family”, he adds.
Along with Aarón, Tomás and Ainara Pérez is Isabel González, the mother, who is in charge of the restaurant dining room and explains to the customers who don't know what is happening in the kitchen, what those screams are (the kitchen is open to the dining room ): “People who don't know we have a Twitch channel find out quickly,” says Isabel.
The clientele gradually goes from unsuspecting diners to the channel's audience: “They reserve from Catalonia, from Ibiza, some bikers for 18 people.
A delegation from the European Community has come to see if what we do is true”, says Tomás.
Aaron knows that the combination of profiles in the family, his father's natural charisma and cooking give him an advantage.
Aarón and Ainara have their own Twitch channels, focused on their video games.
But until now they had not managed to stand out and it has been thanks to the restaurant.
“It's 50% natural talent and 50% good prospecting,” says Aarón.
“No matter how hard you try, this is something you are born with.
It has happened that my father is a superviral person, he communicates very well, charismatic, that it is an exaggeration that you-damn-shit, that we are bad-mouthed, that the family is very viral and the profiles we have have helped because I I know about mine, but Ainara has also had a hand in what happens behind the camera, ”he adds.
Tomás is a star of an internet platform that you hardly know how to pronounce the name of.
Not long ago he didn't even know it existed.
He still believes that he lives in a simulation: “They lie to me, they lie to me all the time.
Now they tell me that 240 million have seen us, where did the 240 million come from? ”, He says.
These are the views of the Arroz y Desgracias account on TikTok, which has 710,000 followers.
They also have large accounts on Instagram (119,000) and YouTube (65,000), but they all feed on Twitch streams.
The channel is a different content on Twitch and is further proof of the slow but constant growth of the platform in the Hispanic scene, whose type of entertainment is close to that offered by TV, with the addition of naturalness and the constant presence of chat with the spectators: “The first to be surprised is me.
Tomás not only freaks out with the visualizations.
He doesn't quite understand what's going on around him: “Aarón has some revolutionary ideas supported by his girlfriend and financed by his mother and whoever they screw is me.
But I don't care, because I'm happy, ”he says.
Tomás knows the entertainment industry from the inside.
In addition to restaurants, throughout his working life he has had a modeling agency and school.
He directed the inauguration of the La Vaguada shopping center, in an act with the then mayor Tierno Galván.
He has worked on TV with Pepe Navarro or Jesús Hermida.
His first big viral hit was a speech about why restaurants shouldn't serve after-hours customers.
He came out in various media.
Aarón studied video game design and worked in the network sector before seeing that he had the best material at home: ”If you want to see this on Twitch there is no other place where they do it, that is the goose that lays the golden egg for the moment we have," he says.
Aaron divides the years of Rice and Misfortunes into seasons.
Now they are in the third.
“I treat it like an entertainment product,” he says.
Despite his gastronomic origin, he immediately saw that family conflicts and fights raised the counter: “People want to see chaos, they want to see the world burning.
Little house on the prairie wouldn't work.
Now if my father burns something and throws a paella on the ground,
: thousands of
That pearl was something he couldn't pass up.
live… A fucking chaos”, is his bio on networks.
The beginnings with zero spectators
It wasn't always easy.
In full confinement, Aarón was thinking of options in case the restaurant closed again.
That's where the funding came from that allowed him to continue at the university.
His first idea was to sell at home and that, thanks to the channel, customers could see how their menu was prepared.
But they never got around to closing the shop again.
So, in August 2020, he thought: "Why don't we test the camera in the middle of the service."
“I didn't give him too many options at first,” he admits.
The first months were hard.
Aaron had done a market study to decide which platform was the best.
The first challenge was the name: until the final one came out, he pondered terrible options: “First salad, second divorce”, “Cooking family members”, “How to lose a family in two steps”.
With the name, he chose platform Twitch, but there were three-hour services where they had a total of zero viewers.
Those who watch Twitch may think that large audiences are common, but this is not true.
Most channels barely have an audience.
"We saw ourselves and that's it, it's super complicated," says the young man at that time.
After a few months, a cooking content creator, Carmenmoj, sent them her audience at the end of a broadcast (this is what is known on Twitch as a
"This is how we managed to reach the first milestone on Twitch: open live and have at least one person come by," she recalls.
"Then we got to the point where I sit down and make the first good decision: I'm going to treat Arroz y Desgracias as if it were a video game," he says.
In April 2021 they make the first investment: they spend 2,000 euros to buy a computer, several cameras, a good microphone, a high-speed connection.
With an audience person, he saw that they have good, original and innovative content and that it needs dissemination.
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In these months he also sees that entertainment has more nuances than it seems: "I realize that people are looking for entertainment on Twitch, not knowledge or culture," he says.
From there, there were two key moments: one, changing categories on Twitch.
They were in “kitchen”, where less people entered, and they went to “
which is the category that gamers use when they interact and respond to live chat instead of playing.
And two, invite other
of their category and size to the restaurant.
Then came the boom: in February 2022, his TikTok account exploded.
The first video had 150,000 views.
That innate virality fed Twitch, which in turn increased the hours: ”I also realize that the hours we do compared to a big creator are few.
We work 50 or 60 hours, but we have to get up to 150”, says the son, and that is why they also open the restaurant during the week.
"The key to success is not a button, it's keys like those on a piano," he adds.
Now, in addition to the possible Esland prize, on the road to the future they have two challenges: how to continue growing and how to make money.
Arroz y Desgracias' plans to expand their community are not small.
Aaron wants to “gamify” the kitchen: “Neon lights, a couple of speakers and every day is like a level of a video.
A command comes in, it sounds through the speakers, it sings things to you and the chat can interact with you, take it away from you ”, says Aarón.
“He is crazy lost”, answers his father.
The other great plan for 2023 is the "tortillaguedón": create the largest tortilla in the world (13 meters, they would need all the eggs in Castilla la Mancha for two days, according to their calculations) and, above all, turn the flight around: “Engineers are needed,” says Aarón.
Throwing 3-4 tons into the air seems like an admirable challenge: "We want to achieve six figures in a live show."
The other goal is money.
Another 6,000 euros have already been spent on improving the material to achieve a television-level production.
But the channel continues without giving benefits.
Earn about 3,000 euros, which comes only on Twitch, thanks to subscriptions and advertising on the platform.
The TikTok account does not give income.
"I earn what it costs me," says Aarón, who pays an editor for YouTube, one for TikTok and wants to incorporate more profiles: community manager, content director, graphic editor.
Not all channels have such an infrastructure behind it.
But the quality of the sound and the image in the broadcasts of Arroz y Desgracias are appreciated.
The other finalists in their Esland category are Kidi and LlunaClark.
Kidi already won last year and is the pioneer in Spain when it comes to carrying a camera all day and recounting his daily life, generally travelling.
Viviendoenlacalle is Jony's channel, who spent seven years without a home and who, thanks to Twitch subscriptions, was able to rent an apartment at the end of 2021. Now he continues to share the details of his life, along with his dog Duna de he.
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