I grew up with my mom pouring over “Bon Appétit” magazines in our house, tearing out pages of her favorite recipes or meals she wanted to try making, and organizing them into a binder (she recently discovered Google).
So the first time someone asked me if I watched Bon Appétit on YouTube, I was like, “maybe my mom has? You weirdo?”
Even though I am bad at cooking and have baked things that are not safe for human consumption, even I can agree that Bon Appétit is leading a Golden Age of YouTube videos.
The magazine’s channel has almost 6 million subscribers — adding an average of 10,000 per day — and it generates millions of views on its videos. Seriously, if you asked me two years ago if I wanted to watch a 20-minute YouTube video about stock, I would laugh in your face.
Of course, it helps that the videos which are hosted by a wonderful cast of characters, who each have their own rabid fan bases. Naturally, I decided to rank them.
1. Brad Leone
Brad can be partially credited for starting the Bon Appétit renaissance after shooting his first episode of the popular series “It’s Alive!” by speaking gibberish in his thick New Jersey accent (“wourder”) and failing to actually explain what SCOBY is — or why the substance is necessary for making kombucha.
Compared to BuzzFeed’s Tasty or the videos produced by other Condé Nast publications, the first filming of “It’s Alive!” was a mess — complete with over-the-top graphics — that clocked in at more than seven minutes long. In the clip, Brad spent more time bantering with the producers than pretending to talk to his audience. Now “It’s Alive!” is one of Bon Appétit’s most-watched series.
2. Claire Saffitz
Claire is arguably Bon Appétit’s biggest star and inspiration for most of the posts on Meme Appétit, a social media page dedicated to the test kitchen’s videos. It’s hard to deny her celebrity considered she spawned her own hashtag: #IWDFCFTBATK (I would die for Claire from the Bon Appétit test kitchen).
Her nihilism and blatant frustration during her “Gourmet Makes” videos — which, if you haven’t seen them, are essentially Claire reverse engineering various snacks — are exactly how I feel whenever I have to boil water.
But it’s Claire’s stress, uncertainty and failures in “Gourmet Makes” that created such an enjoyable and meme-able series. Even though she’s a professional pastry chef and a Harvard graduate, it just feels like watching a friend being peer pressured into making her own Ferrero Rocher candies.
3. Chris Morocco
I love this man and nothing gives me more pleasure in life than watching him try to work with other people, particularly Brad. Chris is a bougie icon and truly blows me away whenever he recreates a dish simply by tasting it while blindfolded. He is strict about his high maintenance coffee preferences and has a salt container in his apartment that costs approximately $45.
4. Gaby Melian
Gaby holds the entire staff together. She is the mayonnaise of the test kitchen sandwich and is also adorable.
5. Andy Baraghani
Andy’s ranking is slightly biased because I admire his skincare routine. He is arguably the eye candy of the test kitchen, with muscular arms “from grating cheese.” Similar to Chris, he is a fantastic companion to Brad’s wildness and impulsivity, so it’s fun to watch them together — like when they tried to make the perfect pizza sauce or the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.
6. Sohla El-Waylly
Sohla seems like someone I would enjoy hanging out with in real life and is seemingly one of the very few people in the kitchen who knows how to temper chocolate. A recent kitchen tour video revealed that she keeps weed neatly labeled inside her spice cupboard.
7. Carla Lalli Music
Carla is frighteningly calm and I break out into a sweat whenever I watch her “Back to Back Chef” episodes because I imagine that when I inevitably get invited on, I will mess it all up and she will have to eat it on camera and pretend to like it (by the way, this is the best episode.) I think of Carla every time I remember to save my pasta water.
8. Alex Delaney
Delaney is very much just always happy to be on the show (mostly to eat samples) and I am simply charmed by the fact that he recently brought an entire personal bar to his parents’ house in New Jersey while quarantining. Unlike several of his coworkers, Delaney never went to culinary school or worked in a restaurant, but the man knows good food and drinks. His ranking of dollar slices in New York City is a must-watch.
9. Priya Krishna
My favorite Priya moments are when she brings her parents in front of the camera, who are clearly destined to be YouTube celebrities themselves.
10. Rick Martinez
Rick is such a sweetie. I am passionate about his passion for sugar and back him 100 percent on his firm stance that using chocolate discs in chocolate chip cookies is superior to chunks and chips.
11. Christina Chaey
She ate 40 sandwiches in one sitting. Incredible.
12. Molly Baz
I have tried so hard with Molly.
13. Amiel Stanek
I know Amiel is Bon Appétit’s editor-at-large and that is a very impressive job, but I do not like that he pretends to chew his food when he’s recording voiceovers for his videos. I might enjoy him more if he spoke into the camera like everyone else.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like reading about Twitter’s divided reaction to people baking their own bread.
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