Ryan Peters is obsessed with making pasta.
So much so that he's made it his entire career. The 29-year-old, who goes by @peterspasta on TikTok, spends his days filming videos of himself kneading pasta dough in the craziest locations, sharing his best techniques and even getting celebrity guests to help out.
But for his newest series, which Peter tells TODAY.com stemmed from boredom, he’s tackling a new pasta-related challenge: doubling the number of egg yolks he uses each time he makes a fresh batch of pasta. In this economy. During an egg shortage.
First, he started off with one yolk, then two, then six. Now, 10 videos in, he’s all the way up to 512 yolks.
"I literally don't know what made me start it," Peters, who has 3.7 million followers on TikTok, tells TODAY.com.
"But I was like let's start it, let's make a batch of pasta dough with one egg yolk and see what happens, maybe I'll do a couple of days. Then it really, really blew up to the point where I did not think it would," he adds.
Peters is a classically trained chef. He attended culinary school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. For the 10 subsequent years, he worked in restaurants and clubs around the country. But, he says, his focus was never on pasta.
About four years ago, he made a batch of pasta at home for his wife and it turned out really well. Ever since then, he couldn't stop making it.
"I'm coming up now on two years of doing this full-time and creating this crazy brand for myself," he says.
"Being able to share my passion for pasta with millions, travel the country and make pasta in the most insane places and just really you know kind of carve out this this cool little lane for myself," he adds.
For this challenge, Peters explained how it took him a total of two days to make the pasta with 512 yolks. From buying the eggs to cracking and separating them, then making the actual pasta dough and filming he says it's "quite the workout."
The 512-yolk video went mega-viral, getting 36.5 million views at the time of publication. (He also posted a part two which also garnered millions of views.) Some of his past videos in the same series have gotten even more views: Day 9 (256 yolks) racked up 57.6 million views, and Day 8 (128 yolks) amassed 37.6 million.
"I'm doing everything myself so like manning the camera and changing things around and then just like making the actual demo is like insane process and then rolling it all out. So, in total about two days," he adds.
Aside from the time, Peter's also spent a lot of money on eggs. He knows eggs are not cheap right now. While he hasn't kept track of how much exactly he's spent, he guesses it's somewhere over $1,000.
"I have yet to run into any issues finding eggs," Peters says. "I don't buy them all from one store because I already get weird looks from people have a cart full of eggs. But I've been to every grocery store and can easily buy as many eggs as I want."
What happens to all the pasta?
Peter says in his videos that he's donated the pasta to those experiencing homelessness and homeless shelters. He tells TODAY.com that even when the challenge comes to an end, he plans to continue to give back to the community.
One of the places Peters donates the pasta to is Outreached Arms, a nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh that provides those in need with warm meals.
Rob Rudy, the cofounder and executive director of Outreached Arms, tells TODAY.com Peters found out about the organization through the volunteering website 412 Food Rescue.
"There's such a need for food security here, we just need to get stuff out there," Rudy says. "Ryan's like, 'I want to get involved,' and he's gonna come down and cook for us one of these nights, too."
As for all the egg whites, Peters says he freezes some for him and his family and then gives the rest away to any of his friends and family that might want them.
Right now, he's in the process of setting up for his next video with 1,024 eggs. He's filmed all the other videos in his house, but for this one, he had to find a commercial space with enough prep space. Rudy says Peters is going to film the video at their church.
"It's hard for like me to convey this to my audience ... like how big of an undertaking this really is like for me," Peters says. There's a lot of moving parts."
When will it end?
"Obviously there's only so far I can take this series because it's about to get really massive, really fast," he says, as if it hasn't already gotten huge. "So obviously this series is going to come to an end here I'm sure pretty soon.
"But with that said, now seeing the impact I'm able to have, even if I'm just making a small amount of pasta and I hand it out to some homeless people, still being able to give that impact is huge for me now. I want to continue that whether this series goes for five more days or zero more days."