Being a YouTube or TV chef may be harder than being a real chef. YouTube’s food personalities, especially those with a professional degree in culinary studies, can sometimes share recipes that are too technically heavy or have vague dimensions. Simply put, when someone breaks down a recipe for millions of people, they have to worry about much more than just taste or cooking time.
A good way to rate YouTube chefs is to see how beginner-friendly their recipes are. Binging with Babish or Josh Scherer of Mythical Kitchen, for example, makes it a point to show the cooking method as realistically as possible and has some recipes that can serve as templates for other recipes. Redditors have managed to identify the YouTube chefs who have superior recipes and decipher them well:
Andrew Douglas (Binging With Babish)
Andrew Douglas from Binging with Babish pays close attention to basic technicalities and mundane ingredient science so often overlooked by other chefs. This goes a long way in conveying to viewers what the dish would look like at each stage. Most YouTube chefs start cutting, chopping, or cooking without taking the time to tackle something as basic as temperature, equipment, or substitutions.
door racks points out that since Babish isn’t formally trained, his recipe videos often seem like he’s learning the techniques in real time along with the viewers. “Watching someone make mistakes and addressing them can be very instructive. A lot of times he’s making things for the first time and you see him working it out, which can help you learn what not to do,” notes the Redditor. †
The fact that Joshua Weissman has go-to recipes for its essentials, really helps its fans. Whether it’s his frying batter, Asian sauces, or his Hokkaido milk buns, Weissman often refers viewers to his past recipes for intermediate cooking. This makes it easier for people who make everything from scratch.
The fact that he has the professional cooking experience and slowing down his methods for amateur chefs is also evident in his videos. ugly_tst says, “His YouTube recipes seem solid. Most of the cooking personalities were… [terrible] in the kitchen, but they understand food. I see him taking what he’s learned in a kitchen and slowing it down for a home cook.”
Despite having his fingers in various pies, Gordon Ramsay always focused on taste and technique. His YouTube recipe videos are easy to follow and his channel is ideal for viewers looking for a step-by-step guide to comprehensive recipes. Not to mention, Gordon is also very adept at managing his ingredients, so even a tricky or long recipe looks effortless and can be put together in minutes.
Aztra Chaitaly says: “Ramsay is my favorite because they are more about technique and creativity than about recipes that you have to follow exactly. This also means more things can go wrong, but I feel this way of learning is much more satisfying gives after you come through the tough spots.”
Despite the criticism Jamie Oliver from the online community (especially after the Uncle Roger fried rice incident), most of those who criticize him miss the point of Oliver’s relevance. The chef has always catered for the middle class, who need to eat cheaper, or for students who don’t have the right equipment.
The reason his recipes seem too simple or his ingredients look like substitutions is that he tries to work around each recipe to make it easy to recreate. DreddPirateBob4Ever says, “He taught me more than just cooking; he taught me to know ingredients, to look beyond recipes and train my instincts, to know what to trade when I had finished something. He taught me to love cooking.”
YouTube or TV chefs who come up with cookbooks have usually done their job for them. Their viewers simply expect their books to be more comprehensive and detailed than their videos, as videos often suffer from technical challenges or time constraints. Fans unanimously agree that Claire Saffitzhis book Dessert Person is thorough, readable and packed with essential know-how that proves Claire’s mettle as a recipe developer.
“My favorite thing is the details! There are so many helpful hints and the directions seem very clear. I love it so much when cookbook authors give more information instead of less! And I love that every recipe has a little introduction. It makes reading through the book even more enjoyable,” writes Redditor Pancake and Parsley†
Mythical Chef Josh is extremely popular and fans appreciate how real his kitchen looks because his kitchen is often quite cluttered. But this helps his fans get a sense of how much effort really goes into each recipe. Fans have often praised his chaotic approach because, despite him being methodical with his recipes, his clever shortcuts and hacks help his viewers.
redditor Detronyx writes, “He can be a little chaotic, but I love it when there’s the right guy to balance him. His creations are fun too, and I appreciate his easy enchilada recipe that makes the sauce from scratch with chili powder I don’t know why I didn’t know that before, but it’s great and easy.”
Lisa Nguyen is not exactly a chef in the technical sense of the word. However, she usually works with her own recipes and is known for her quirky substitutions. She is most famous for making various types of ramen, but since she is not professionally trained and explores food with her viewers, this is a huge plus. Her viewers have often noted that chefs who know exactly what to do in the kitchen are often a bit aloof when it comes to breaking down recipes.
onomatopoeia writes: “She has great cooking skills, technique, uses a variety of flavors, short video formats (TikTok style), clear quality videography and all this without usually even showing her face. She would tend to be a little story about something that happened in the day or a cooking technique.”
Marion Grasby (Marion’s kitchen)
Marion’s kitchen is one of the best platforms for Asian home cooking. Grasby follows traditional cooking techniques that people are familiar with, especially if they grew up with Asian food. In Marion’s Test Kitchen segments, she tends to explore different food profiles and flavors to come up with newer recipes that are educational for her viewers.
Mskly suggests that sticking to familiar flavors is her biggest USP. “She is my favorite guide to Chinese home cooking. Her tomato and egg recipe and ma po tofu recipe are so fantastic and taste like home. The way she cooks and her techniques and flavors are just the way I imagine cooking my mother remember,” the Redditor writes.
Emily Kim (Maangchi)
Maangchi is the best channel to discover new cuisines. Her adapted Asian recipes and easy ingredient changes are carefully curated and easy to follow. Maangchi also offers some clues and hacks for using native Korean ingredients, which are hard to find or make from scratch.
“She may not be an ambassador making royal dishes or giving kimchi recipes that only use onggi for the fermentation process, but so many of her recipes are legit,” writes. Gigi 116†
Pépin may not technically be a YouTube chef, but more of a culinary icon. But the 86-year-old chef and author still shares videos on his home cooking channel but his old recipe videos are also a treasure trove of French cuisine. Pépin has been a culinary educator all his life, so his videos are naturally made as educational and easy to follow as possible.
Pépin is also careful about going through the basics of most of his recipes so that viewers can keep up. “Jesus, I was just thinking about how wonderful it would be to have a master chef explain all the basic cooking elements and essentials, and here it is. Just the kind of thing I was looking for, I got to live in the Truman show because this is too good to be true,” Krumbsie writes.
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