As many shows as it has, if you watch any channel like that often enough eventually you’re going to end up seeing the same episodes over and over, and there’s always going to be that one show you find impossible to watch no matter how innocuous it may be. Sorry, Pioneer Woman. Sometimes you need to mix things up just a little bit, is what I’m getting at. Searching for a recipe a little while back, I came upon Bon Appétit Magazine’s channel on Youtube, and one video led to the next, and the next, and the next, and now I’m hooked on it. It’s a unique slate of programming hosted by a group of people I’ve become attached to insanely quickly, and each of their videos feels like a friend invited you into their home for a little dinner party. The only meat I eat is fish, and yet I watched a video today that walked my through a pork recipe that I will obviously never make, just because I knew it would be fun to watch. And while their videos are obviously not as long as a typical show, I’ve spent enough hours at a time watching them that there really isn’t a huge amount of difference, and it’s become my new go to. Here’s just some of the stuff I’ve been watching.
From the Test Kitchen
These are pretty standard tutorial videos. One of the chefs walks you through how to make a particular Bon Appétit recipe created for the magazine. They always look very easy, straightforward, and educational. And there’s a wide variety of cuisines represented, so no you’re set no matter what you like to eat.
This is the newest show on the channel, but it’s already one of my favorites. The first season was dedicated to making the perfect pizza and the BA team split into groups, each mastering a different element of the dish by consulting experts in the field, testing countless versions, and gathering opinions from their coworkers. The only downside is that you will want a pizza so badly while you’re watching it. My favorite episode is Carla and Molly’s quest to find the best cheese by going all the way to Italy and learn to make their own. They also day drink and laugh about cows. It’s A+ content.
Focusing mostly on fermented foods, It’s Alive has been the most educational show for me, because this is an area I have absolutely no personal experience in. Chef Brad Leone talks us — and cameraman Vinny — through the science of these recipes. But I like this show best when a friend from the BA team joins in, like when Priya shares her father’s recipe for yogurt with him.
Back to Back Chef
who has something to promote comes on this show and tries to follow along with Carla as she talks them through a recipe. I’m not gonna lie, some of the guests on this one do not make for the most compelling watch, and I get frustrated with the people who really suck. No surprise that two of the ones I’m sharing feature the Marvel fam.
Pastry chef Claire is tasked with recreating some of the best known snack foods through trial and error. The Doritos almost break her. I can’t believe she ever gets as close as she does, it’s incredible how finely tuned a palate needs to be to be able to pick up on the subtleties in the flavors in order to make adjustments. This show is particularly nice to just watch one after the other while you’re doing something, because there’s no way you’re ever going to attempt to make these things, so you can just root for Claire and be thankful it’s not something you have to do yourself.
Whether you love to cook, maybe only kinda like to cook, or really only like watching other people cook because you find it relaxing, Bon Appétit has your back. Now all I need to do is stop watching long enough to actually make one of the recipes.