Food has always been a big part of human life. It gathers friends and family together, gives nourishment and fuel that the body needs in order to survive and provides those in the food industry with a career. As of late, however, food has served a new purpose to the human race, as entertainment, thanks to food YouTubers.
Television shows like Julia Child’s “The French Chef” and Emeril Lagasse’s “Essence of Emeril” paved the way for the creation of The Food Network and The Cooking Channel. While both networks were met with much success and are still popular today, fans of food-related content are slowly phasing out “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives” marathons for “Binging With Babish” binge sessions.
Food YouTubers, like Babish, combine their interest and skills of the culinary sort with quick, aesthetically pleasing tutorials and reviews in order to cater to the many millennials tuning in.
While the channel of Rosanna Pansino does not focus on food per se, but rather baked products, it took the first step toward the creation of food channels and food YouTubers. Pansino joined YouTube in 2010 and started making vlog style videos. She eventually launched her now famous series, “Nerdy Nummies.”
Pansino combines her love for “nerdy” things, like “Minecraft” and “Pokemon,” with her lovable, upbeat personality and her passion for all things baked goods to craft videos that YouTube watchers, nerdy or not, will (pun intended) eat up. The show became a success shortly after its debut and is still around today with guest star favorites making appearances, such as the Try Guys in “Baking Cakes with The Try Guys” and iJustine in “Princess Cake Decorating Challenge w/ iJustine!”
Around the same time that Pansino began her channel, Hannah Hart, or MyHarto, as her YouTube channel is known by, started to release videos that belong to a series she called My Drunk Kitchen. Hart released her first video of the series in 2011, titled “Butter Yo Sh*t .”
Hart’s viewers appreciate and tune in for her witty banter and easy recipes, her humorous and fully authentic persona and her collaborative work with fellow YouTubers like Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart.
Like Pansino, Hart has had success away from her YouTube channel with the release of her parody cookbook, “My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut,” in 2014. The YouTube star also had a stint on The Food Network in 2017 in a six episode series titled “I Hart Food.”
Bon Appetit has been around in the world of print since the 1950s, and in 2008, the food magazine created a YouTube channel. While Bon Appetit has been present and creating content on YouTube since 2012, it was not until around 20l7 that the channel would garner major attention thanks to series like “It’s Alive With Brad” and “Gourmet Makes.”
Viewers of “It’s Alive” watch the series to see Brad Leone, who is the test kitchen manager at Bon Appetit. As the name of the series may suggest, Leone uncovers the world of living food, like the trendy kombucha, and shows viewers how to make the product at home. The series varies in location from episode to episode; sometimes Leone is in the famous test kitchen, while other times he is out in the woods making breakfast or exploring the olive trees of Tuscany and creating olive oil.
“Gourmet Made” is another series available on Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel, which features pastry chef Claire Saffitz, who is the senior food editor at Bon Appetit. The series revolves around Saffitz taking a classic junk food favorite, like Cheetos, and reinventing them in a way that would please even the most refined pallet. Those who are fans of the show adore the pastry chef’s determination and willpower to create a gourmet end product even when it seems nearly impossible (see Gusher video).
Buzzfeed has been creating quizzes and providing teens and young adults with their pop culture news for a while now. The entertainment platform branched out into YouTube videos in the early 2010s, however it would be some time before food YouTube favorite Tasty would come along.
Buzzfeed launched the food-focused channel in 2016 with an easy to follow taco recipe, and that was the beginning of the world’s (specifically moms and aunts on Facebook) obsession with the short and snappy recipe videos.
Like the other food YouTubers mentioned, Tasty has created multiple series on its channel, such as “I Draw, You Cook,” where Tasty chefs Alix and Rie transform children’s drawings into whimsical edible creations. In addition to “I Draw, You Cook,” Tasty also has a series called “Eating Your Feed.” The series features Buzzfeed personalities Andrew and Niki recreating Insta famous food, like the flaming hot Cheeto burrito and chocolate crepe cake. Fans of Tasty enjoy both series as they maintain the essence that is distinct to Tasty, as well as provide those watching with longer content than the typical viral videos on Facebook and Instagram that are under five minutes.
“Binging with Babish” was born out of Andrew Rea’s love of film and food and desire to bring the two together through YouTube.
Rea, who goes by Babish on Youtube and social media as a nod to “West Wing” character, Oliver Babish, delivered his first food video in 2016, “Parks and Rec Burger Cookoff,” and so began the internet’s obsession with the Frasier-obsessed home chef. Devotees of the food YouTuber continue to watch his content to see the food from their favorite films and tv shows, like “Bob’s Burgers” and “Seinfeld” brought to life, and to sit back and enjoy Babish’s soothing low voice and dry humor.
Recently, Babish has expanded his content from only making videos about cuisine from pop culture to making videos about more practical, essential recipes in a series called “Basics with Babish.” Babish shows viewers how to make everyday dishes like salads and healthy meals, to special occasion dishes like game day food and Thanksgiving sides.
When looking back at the evolution of food YouTubers and some of the first food-focused creators, it is interesting to see how video styles have changed and evolved over time as cooking and baking shows have become more and more popular.