“Dania’s Cuisine:” how a UTM graduate stepped into the world of TikTok content creation
A glimpse into food blogging with Dania Arwini.

The Internet is a great place. It can teach you how to do pretty much anything. How to fix a leaky faucet? Easy. How to drive a car? Sure. How to make the most amazing brown butter chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever had? “Dania’s Cuisine” has got you covered on that one. 

In fact, Dania Arwini, founder of the social media account Dania’s Cuisine on Instagram and TikTok, has been educating the world on how to cook for years. The 22-year-old has amassed more than 415,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok combined. She makes recipe tutorials on all kinds of classics, from stir-fry noodles and macarons to chicken noodle soup. And did I mention she’s a recent University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) graduate?

But how did Arwini get into food blogging in the first place?

“It was an accident really,” Arwini says. “My mom is an excellent cook, and growing up, I watched her make home-cooked meals almost daily. I think watching her was a big part of my inspiration to get into cooking.” 

Growing up, Arwini experimented with recipes she found in cookbooks, as well as ones she found online. “The Internet was my best friend if I was looking for a specific type of recipe, and I learned traditional Libyan recipes directly from my mom.”

In September 2019, Arwini began her full-time studies at UTM. Alongside pursuing a double major in biology for health sciences and psychology, Arwini continued to cook and bake. “I had a phase where anytime I would bake or cook something, I would share it to my private Instagram account for my friends to see.” Arwini’s friends suggested that she make a specific Instagram account just for food blogging. “They were probably annoyed with the spam,” she laughed.

In April 2020, Arwini took her friends’ advice, and Dania’s Cuisine was born on Instagram.

Throughout 2021 and 2022, Dania’s Cuisine gathered more followers and views. In an Instagram reel and TikTok video posted in December 2022, Arwini demonstrated how to make Libyan meat-stuffed potatoes called embattin. As of February 2024, the videos have amassed more than 16.5 million views combined.  

“Creating content was a fun stress reliever for me,” Arwini explains. “I scheduled it in just like any other pastime or hobby.”

Occasionally, Arwini includes a new series on Dania’s Cuisine, each related to a specific theme. For example, in 2022, she started a series on her channel called “Full-Time Uni Student Dinners,” where she demonstrated “what a very busy person makes for dinner every day.” The six-episode series consists of recipes like baked salmon filets with sweet potatoes, one-pot orzo, and stuffed peppers with a side of salad and chicken. 

Despite her two thriving social media accounts, Arwini was still a full-time student who prioritized school over recipe-making and content-creating. “Since Dania’s Cuisine [was] a hobby, I had the freedom to prioritize my university classes over posting,” she explained. “I had times in which I would go even months without posting because of a busy university semester.”

Now, almost four years into food blogging, Arwini admits how much the online world continues to surprise her. “Often, the videos I expect to do horribly are the ones that go viral,” she admitted. One such video is a behind-the-scenes of hosting a dinner party, which garnered more than 2.5 million views on TikTok. “I was procrastinating editing the video for so long because I had little motivation to post it. I really thought it would flop.”

The financial aspect of food blogging also surprised Arwini. “I wish I had known earlier how much money there is to be made in content creation,” she says. “Capitalizing was not a motive in creating my page, but I would have created my page a long time ago if I knew I could capitalize off of my hobby from the comfort of my home.”

But along with its highs, content creating comes with its share of mental health challenges. “Whether you realize it or not, the constant comments and direct messages take up mental capacity and can affect your well-being. It’s important not to take them too seriously nor personally,” Arwini explains. She keeps her face out of her videos to “limit unwanted attention.”

In June 2023, Arwini graduated from UTM with an Honours Bachelor of Science with high distinction. She is currently taking a gap year before pursuing further education. She aims for a career in health care. “I’ve wanted to work in health care ever since I was little,” she says. “But as a kid, I also contemplated pastry or culinary school. So it’s amazing that I’m working towards the best of both worlds.”

Aside from cooking and content creation, Arwini volunteers with the Libyan community in Canada during their Eid events. She explains that many people see Dania’s Cuisine as a Libyan representation. “There aren’t many Libyans making Libyan food content in English—I think that’s part of what sets my channel apart,” she says. “I’ve had many Libyans tell me that my channel helped them [when] non-Libyans ask what Libyan food looks like—they finally have a source to refer them to.”

Arwini concludes with a piece of advice for aspiring content creators: “Don’t stress yourself out trying to reach a certain amount of likes, views, or followers,” she says. “Do it out of love—as a hobby.”

Staff Writer (Volume 50) — Maryam is a third-year student completing a double major in English and Professional Writing & Communication. She started her journey with The Medium in 2022, where she’s written articles for News, Opinion, Features, and Sports. In her spare time, Maryam enjoys painting, cooking, and finding creative ways to educate people about world issues that matter to her.


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