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Love cooking shows? This could be your new favorite. It has no competitions, no screaming chefs, no impossible time challenges and no racing around grocery stores for ingredients.

That’s the magic of “Tasting History.” Without all those crazy distractions, YouTuber Max Miller can focus on telling compelling stories of fascinating foods from exotic locations and bygone eras.

His super power? He’s more entertainer than chef. The Phoenix native earned a classical music degree from Arizona State, then went to New York to train for Broadway stardom. Eventually, he changed gears and ended up in Burbank, landing a job in film distribution with Disney Studios.

When he got furloughed, instead of sitting around moping, he started filming episodes that range from what Medieval monks ate at the abbey to dinner on the Titanic. If there is no recipe in the archives, he cleverly sleuths one together and shows viewers how to prepare it, whether it’s a Ming dynasty dumpling or Elizabethan butterbeer.

His goal was to garner 1,000 subscribers by the end of 2020. But in June, his episode on the ancient condiment garum, a fish sauce, got 1 million views and subscriptions went from 6,000 to 100,000 in five days.

Now “Tasting History” has more than 500,000 subscribers. We had to find out how he puts the show together.

Q: You got furloughed. But while most people in that situation took a “furcation,” you launched a hit?  

A: I had been fascinated with food history for awhile and I was always bringing in historic bakes and things to co-workers and giving mini lectures on them. Christmas 2019, one of my coworkers said, “Hey, you should put this out on YouTube. People would enjoy this.”

Q: So you took it seriously and made a couple videos?

A: COVID was happening and we were being sent home, I was like, all right, let’s do this thing. Let’s actually try to get people watching — and it worked.

Q: You played Prince Charming and Peter Pan on Disney cruises. Do you feel like a natural in front of the camera?

A: I’m uncomfortable on stage. But for some reason, in front of the camera, I do get nervous but it’s less. I think that it all comes down to “tell a story” and I’m very comfortable telling stories.

Q: Any musical theater roles you still dream about?

A: Lots! Someday I would love to play Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables.” And if my voice ever drops, I would love to play Sweeney Todd.

Q: Sweeney Todd has a food connection. So you have to do that — not in a cannibal way, but you know, 18th-century meat pies. You don’t have any formal chef training; how did you gravitate towards cooking?

A:  About six or seven years ago, I got obsessed with the “Great British Baking Show.” In the original seasons, they were very good at teaching you how to do what they were doing on screen. I learned a lot from just watching.

Q: You use real deal sources like the Florentine Codex, Project Gutenberg and even gritty graffiti from the Roman Empire …

A: Sometimes you have to dig, and it can take hours to find a source that I don’t know exists. It’s like, “Oh wait, what is this?” But it’s all there, if you’re willing to take the time and look.

Q: We hear you’re researching Richard II and Oscar Wilde. So you’re looking for personalities too?

A: Sometimes if I find a cool story or an interesting character that I want to talk about, I can start off the episode talking about, here’s a dish from the time period that (they) might’ve eaten and then talk about something else that isn’t necessarily about what they ate.

Q: You really have a knack for storytelling, which saves this show from being simply geeky, right?

A: I remember sitting at a table with my grandpa and just listening for hours and hours while he told stories of his time during the Depression on a farm in Missouri and during World War II, when he was a medic in France and Germany.

I just loved those stories. It was his history, but it came alive to me because of the way he told it. That’s why I think it’s so important that history be told as a story. If it’s just a series of facts, nobody’s gonna pay attention.

Q: The format is easy to grasp. What’s the secret?

A: My fiance, José, is a huge help. He does the subtitles, which you’d think would be very simple, but it takes hours to do them properly. A large portion of my audience is from outside the U.S. so they really appreciate the subtitles.

Q: I love that you make the recipe according to history and are honest about how it turns out. You don’t feel compelled to fake a yum shot.

A: I’m not Gordon Ramsay. I’m not trying to necessarily make a bunch of dishes that you want to make at home. It’s more, “What is this, what did it taste like?” Sometimes I’ll try to make it taste good because a recipe gives you a lot of leeway, especially these old recipes.

Q: In some of these episodes — like the Aztec tamales — you create a recipe rather than always trying to find a historical one. Why?

A: There aren’t old recipes for a lot of things, because a lot of things are handed down orally, especially outside of Europe. Recipe writing wasn’t a thing or they’ve been destroyed. Anything that the Mayans wrote down was destroyed.

Q: No recipes survive?

A: We don’t have them. I don’t want to not represent those foods that are just as important as something that was written down — in a lot of ways, more important. So I’ll make a modern recipe and talk about the history. And that’s just fine with me; I don’t want to cut myself off from any culture, any time period. I want to cover it all.