Gustavo Figueroa is a custodian by night at Juvenile Court and Community Schools' Metro site and a cooking-show celebrity by day with two popular YouTube channels.
He made enchilada casserole on an episode of the Today Show that featured Latino trendsetters and also filmed shows for NBC Universal and Scripps Networks' ULive.com. He specializes in simple recipes for over-the-top Mexican-American comfort food.
"I want to help other people make easy recipes in a short period of time and inspire people to cook," he said.
Figueroa started making his short YouTube videos in 2008 when he filmed a taco tutorial to cheer up a close friend. Since then, he has uploaded almost 100 videos in English and Spanish and gotten more than 680,000 subscribers and more than 30,000,000 views. He has also gotten sponsorships from several big name companies, such as Pepsi, Nestle and Honda.
"Every time I go out, people recognize me," he said.
He also has a crew to film the episodes now. When he started, it was just him and his brother.
He started working at the San Diego County Office of Education as a substitute custodian in 2007 and came on fulltime in 2012. He said he enjoys his job as a custodian because it helps him relieve some stress and feel good about helping the students who attend class there.
"I want students to come here and not worry about it being dirty, so they can just focus on studying," he said.
Around the same time that he started working here fulltime, he noticed how other people posting videos on YouTube were making money through ad revenue and sponsorships. He decided to create his own brand, and El Guzii was born, based on his nickname.
"I decided to build a career out of this," he said.
There were times when he was just starting to make videos that he had to decide whether to buy gas for his car or ingredients for his show. The ingredients usually won.
Since then, he has signed to a talent agency and has gotten attention in the Los Angeles Times and a number of websites including Variety.
He knew he wanted to cook at a very young age, but never formally studied it.
He still remembers the first time he cooked anything. When he was 5-years-old, his mother let him heat a hot dog on a fork over the stove, and he was hooked.
"I was totally awed by the process," he said. "Being able to eat my own food was so exciting for me."
In the future, Figueroa said he will open a cooking school and eatery where kids can learn to cook and fall in love with it the way he did when he was young.