Food Wishes with Chef John!
February 19, 2017 8:04 PM   Subscribe

Food Wishes with Chef John - Do you want to learn how to cook fancy meals? Simple meals? Was Alton Brown a bit too high-concept? An actual chef, with a puckish voice and self-deprecating humor and dedicated to education, tackles your questions on "How do I cook...(dish here)?" on the Food Wishes youtube channel.

There is nothing slick about any part of his vids. A DSLR focussed on his cutting board or pan, and some cheap lighting and worse audio.

His whole thing is that, yes, YOU can do this! He explains how everything works and why, and then he's doing what he's doing as he does it, chatting about it the whole while. He takes great pains to be as authentic as he can, and explains when and why he's not being authentic. He's a working-class kid who grew up into a good chef and great educator, and after even watching one of his vids - and he's shy to show his hands never mind his face - you realize the picture in your head was right all along.
posted by Slap*Happy (42 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
 
Bonus round - yes he's from Upstate.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:10 PM on February 19, 2017


This is great! I find his speaking cadence very pleasing, and his joy for cooking is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!
posted by mia_farrow at 8:31 PM on February 19, 2017


Oh I love food wishes, I think I found him thru a thread here on Dutch babies. ...
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 8:38 PM on February 19, 2017


Made his weeknight Brazilian Fish Stew. SO GOOD.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:40 PM on February 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


Chef John is such a fixture in my life. He is responsible for the majority of the cooking skills I have now. I have to watch the videos to the end, if I don't hear him say, "And as always, enjoy!" I can't relax.
posted by goHermGO at 8:55 PM on February 19, 2017 [6 favorites]


Chef John is a fixture in my life, too.

Supercut of his "you are the _ of your _" sayings 2012-2015.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:31 PM on February 19, 2017 [9 favorites]


Sayeth nothing bad about Chef John.

His rhymes carry me through good and bad times. You are the kahn of how to cook prawns, after all!
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:31 PM on February 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


I parsed this at first as Food-Wishing With John and was like "oh is John Lurie up to is old tricks again?"

This sounds pretty charming too, though.
posted by cortex at 9:37 PM on February 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


eeeeeeee *dances in a circle*

What I like about Food Wishes is that Chef John's behaviour approximates what most people actually do when cooking at home. Example: Gordon Ramsay does eggs benedict. But he includes "crispy parma ham." Right Gordon. Who has obscure ham at home on the regs? Chef John's commentary would run something like: "the classic version of this dish uses X, but it's hard to find, so I usually just use Y, and nobody notices! Except maybe your Italian grandmother."

The Lord's work, I say.
posted by iffthen at 9:44 PM on February 19, 2017 [5 favorites]


Chef John is the man!

" You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of making sure your guests aren't chokin' "
posted by ageispolis at 10:40 PM on February 19, 2017 [4 favorites]


My wife and I spent most this weekend binging FoodWishes.

He is Bob Ross for fatties.

#forkdontlie
posted by lattiboy at 11:29 PM on February 19, 2017 [4 favorites]


I discovered Chef John a few months ago (through that supercut video above, posted here, actually) and I've been watching them ever since. I'm even contemplating making some of the recipes!

There's something about the camera focus always being on the pan/stove and the detailed specifics of weights and measures etc being confined to the accompanying blog post that makes his videos immensely approachable to me. I see other cooking videos on Youtube and there's always a super competent person in frame, with all their ingredients laid out in little ramekins and everything beautifully lit and a tiny part of my brain just goes 'no no no, this is impossible'.

But with Chef John's narration and really simple focus on the process of cooking each dish, when to take things on and off the heat, alternatives you can get for ingredients and, of course, his wonderful speech cadences and delivery, somehow I just find it way easier to see myself following along and making some of these amazing looking dishes.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:48 PM on February 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


What GoHermGO said is exactly what I came to say:
Chef John is such a fixture in my life. He is responsible for the majority of the cooking skills I have now. I have to watch the videos to the end, if I don't hear him say, "And as always, enjoy!" I can't relax.
We watch at least 3-4 videos a week of his and I'm not looking forward to the day when I've seen every last one of his videos. Apparently he sold out (in a good way) to allrecipes, IIRC, and cashed in quite well, which is well deserved, IMO.
posted by Lukenlogs at 1:49 AM on February 20, 2017


Oh dear, I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I absolutely cannot stand how Chef John talks. It's like most of his sentences have no periods on them, so they sound like huge run-on, stream of consciousness thoughts. I get that the content might be useful (other have mentioned the focus on process and the willingness to work with problems or mistakes) BUT I feel like I can't even hear the content because there's no structure to how he speaks. Drives me crazy.

So it's a fast Back button click whenever I see a recipe video that look interesting but then turns out to be from Food Wishes. Sorry, Chef.
posted by wakannai at 2:08 AM on February 20, 2017 [8 favorites]


He is so utterly charming! His videos are an excellent ratio between no-nonsense info and wacky asides. His voice reminds me of Stephen Tobolowsky. I clicked on the last video linked to see what he looks like, and it's a video of his Top Five Favorite Secret Ingredients, which immediately made me think "oh man, if I made this video my #1 would be smoked paprika!" and, lo, what is Chef John's #1? SMOKED PAPRIKA.
posted by missmary6 at 2:12 AM on February 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


As much as I have taken much pleasure from making the recipes that Serious Eats makes, they are given over to titles like "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies", and you must do things exactly as they say or you do not have the best cookies.

Not so with Chef John. As he may have said, you are the President Kennedy of your kitchen & recipes.
posted by timdiggerm at 4:42 AM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Add me to the list of people who can't stand the way he talks. He doesn't have a monotone but all of his sentences seem to rise and fall exactly the same way and the fact that there's never a break in the talking makes it really hard for me to get through his videos.

Which is really a shame because he's really, really great. His refried beans are THE BEST refried beans I've ever had. I just made them a week or two ago and they disappeared in a day.
posted by Neronomius at 5:37 AM on February 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I give this thread the olllllldddd tappa-tappa.
posted by phlyingpenguin at 5:57 AM on February 20, 2017 [12 favorites]


While I love the videos, Chef John's peculiar lilt when speaking drives me bonkers. It's like he took a class in making videos at some point in the past wherein the teacher drilled into him that he should never deliver dialogue in a monotone. So he went whole-hog in the opposite direction and now he has this rise-and-fall cadence to his voice that sounds like he's talking to children.
posted by LN at 6:41 AM on February 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


He's great! I only have one issue: his pomegranate de-aril-ing method. It is so, so much easier to cut the pom in half, hold that half cut side down over a bowl, and hit the back of the pom all over with a wooden spoon, letting the arils fall into the bowl. Zero membrane, no wasting water, no cold hands.
posted by cooker girl at 6:43 AM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanks slap*happy one of my favorite personal youtubers. He deserves some exposure.
posted by mrdaneri at 6:59 AM on February 20, 2017


Had never heard of Chef John. Just watched his chicken noodle soup video. So...is there a closed-captioning option? No? Because it looks as though he offers some good, basic cooking tips and recipes, but the constant rise and fall of the pitch of his voice in that video made me put on Metal Machine Music. And that's not a step I take lightly.
posted by the sobsister at 7:18 AM on February 20, 2017


I enjoy watching Chef John videos, but I can only take the voice in small doses. His delivery style reminds me of the guy from the old CBC show The Age of Persuasion, where no sentence really ever ends.
posted by rossination at 7:23 AM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Bonus round - yes he's from Upstate.

Oh man, after yesterday's pizza post and now this, I'm really craving some food from back home.
posted by noneuclidean at 8:20 AM on February 20, 2017


I ventured into the world of Chef John by making his Sloppy Joe dip for a Superbowl party. I kinda hoped (expected) it would transcend it's humble ingredients through some sort of complicated alchemy to become something really worthwhile to eat.

It didn't. I was basically hamburger in ketchup sauce.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:58 AM on February 20, 2017


I love him and I'm glad to see him here. His desserts are the best.
posted by feste at 9:01 AM on February 20, 2017


But he includes "crispy parma ham." Right Gordon. Who has obscure ham at home on the regs?

Really? Is prosciutto that obscure and hard to find nowadays?
posted by slkinsey at 9:45 AM on February 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


If you can't deal with his voice, or just prefer to read recipes than watch videos, all (many?) of his recipes are available in text form on AllRecipes.com.

Count me as a Chef John enthusiast, and I'm also pretty sure I heard about him here. My favorite recipe of his is the deceptively simple chicken and mushrooms - it's just a few ingredients but so flavorful, and a really good weeknight standard. The only tricky thing is that you have to debone a chicken breast (which he doesn't actually tell you, but he tells you to use a boneless, skin-on breast, which I've never seen for sale) but once you figure that out, it's easy.
posted by lunasol at 10:07 AM on February 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I've never heard of this guy until this post, but I have to agree with those who say his tone and cadence is unbearable. It's like a terrible teenage impressionist whose voice is in the process of breaking doing his attempt at Kermit the Frog, and it's the post-Jim-Henson version.

(I will, however, start following his blog for text purposes only, since the food looks good.)
posted by tzikeh at 10:30 AM on February 20, 2017


I love Chef John's voice for some reason. It's very comforting. I don't need to cook any of the recipes.

As a kid who grew up obsessed with cooking shows (usually PBS, later early Food Network and so on), one of my favorite things about the modern internet is the proliferation of independent cooking shows on YouTube. Every style. Every skill level. Just people that like to cook and want to share it with the world. From ones with high production values like Chef John to home cooks who just have a tripod and a kitchen.. Never again will I have to sit through some boring PBS show about wicker waiting for Yan Can Cook. The future is now!
posted by downtohisturtles at 10:43 AM on February 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Compared to Julia Child's voice, this guy's a regular Morgan Freeman as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:45 AM on February 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I just spent the last hour looking at his blog. So many great hunger-inducing ideas! I'm hooked.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:40 PM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I find myself doing a "sing-a-long" whenever I watch Food Wishes. Perhaps it's a good thing I live alone; I would likely be driving a spouse/housemate crazy.
posted by Eikonaut at 1:30 PM on February 20, 2017


I really like this guy and use his method for wings (Clifton Springs wings) when I do those.

As for his voice, I think folks are re-purposing their Trump criticism: "It's like most of his sentences have no periods on them, so they sound like huge run-on, stream of consciousness thoughts. [...] I feel like I can't even hear the content because there's no structure to how he speaks." I'd much rather listen to Chef John then, say, Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver.
posted by CCBC at 2:30 PM on February 20, 2017


Thank you for this.
posted by pompomtom at 4:43 PM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Between Chef John and the Brothers Green, my husband and I feel a lot more adventurous about trying new recipes. So great.
posted by BeBoth at 4:58 PM on February 20, 2017


My favorite recipe of his is the deceptively simple chicken and mushrooms - it's just a few ingredients but so flavorful, and a really good weeknight standard. The only tricky thing is that you have to debone a chicken breast

Just made this tonight, as I was in a real time crunch to crank out dinner, and this comes together fast - but I used bone-in, skin-on thighs as I had 'em on hand, and they're a lot cheaper than the breasts. Chicken, mushroom, a splash of canola, salt, pepper, water and butter were the only seasonings, and the mushroom sauce was a pure knockout. Just, intensely flavorful - you'd swear an entire rack of spices and a splash from a bottle was involved. Nope, salt, pepper, butter, water.

I was a hater on his voice at first, but his techniques were solid, and broke with convention in a commonsense way - his "wet tong dry hands" dredging technique was a revelation, and his delivery had me in stitches. It was that moment when I flipped and became a fan of his quirky cadence.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:18 PM on February 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh man, the first Chef John video I watched was how to make a scotch egg. Or should I say Scotch Egg!! He was so excited about cooking eggs! I couldn't get over it. And since I like cooking eggs, I watched the whole thing. Anyways, I was excited and entertained about his excitement, and that's it.

Thanks for reminding me about him.
posted by Phredward at 7:17 PM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


I love Chef John! His crab dip recipe is always a huge hit at parties!
posted by ChutneyFerret at 8:43 PM on February 20, 2017


I took a look at his YouTube channel, and for those of us who are put off by his delivery, I found something interesting. This video showing how to make prime rib is from seven years ago, and he sounds like a perfectly normal person--I mean, there's definitely hints of what to come, but if this had been the first video of him I'd been exposed to, I would have had no opinion on his delivery or tone at all. I have to wonder what happened between then and now - who told him to lay on the schticky, loop-de-loop voice and why.
posted by tzikeh at 10:40 PM on February 20, 2017


OK. I have a gripe. "Orecchiette" is "medium or large sized pasta shells" in American - I panicked and did the recipe with semolina farfarelle (bow-tie pasta) rather than whole wheat medium shells, and I used Turkey Sausage and mature spinach - still worked. WORKED WELL. Omitted the cheese, as the meal with the sausage and pan-sauce is so rich, adding shaved parm cheese on top would be a put-down-the-fork experience in too much richness.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:10 PM on February 21, 2017


Wow, I'm surprised Food Wishes hasn't been posted before, apart from that rhyme compilation video. Chef John is so much a part of the internet's background radiation food browsery to me I can recognise when someone's made an uncredited gif of one of his recipes just by the way it's filmed.

I just made bearnaise using his method and can confirm it works perfectly. I'd probably find the intonation annoying too if not for the fact that it's always delivering to the point, actually useful information so reliably.
posted by lucidium at 2:49 PM on February 22, 2017


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