Mr. Hollis, 28, has big, curious eyes, a shapely swoop of hair and peppers his rapid-fire speech with quaint expressions like “Oh, heavens!” Like many people, he got bored during the pandemic and began baking. Instead of making sourdough, he channeled his love for all things antique into preparing recipes from old community cookbooks.
His August 2020 TikTok video about pork cake racked up millions of views, and less than two years later, he signed a cookbook deal for what he would only describe as a “grand amount of money.”
He is one of several TikTok creators, many of them with little or no professional cooking experience, who have gone from tinkering in their home kitchens to topping best-seller lists in a remarkably short time. In the process, they’ve shot a jolt of energy into a sagging cookbook market.
Overall sales of cookbooks have fallen 14.5 percent from a year ago, according to the consumer analytics company Circana, and the top 50 cookbooks sold an average of 96,000 copies in the last 12 months.