There is never any shortage of cooking shows to be found on YouTube—it’s an endless sea of would-be Julia Child impersonators, showing you once again how to make a steak while their microphone buzzes and echoes in a way that makes me want to jump out the nearest window. Such “cooking shows” have been brilliantly satirized in recent years by the likes of Henry’s Kitchen, a show about a sad, desperate, incompetent man attempting to find some peace in this world via constantly failing cookery. So in short, there’s almost no way for a new cooking series to come along and make a splash, or catch my attention.
Binging with Babish manages to do both of those things.
This YouTube-based cooking series began more than a year ago, but has blown up in terms of popularity in the last few months, and specifically in the past few weeks thanks to huge exposure via reddit. It was created by a guy who is either named Oliver Babish or Andrew Rea—his confusing YouTube account does not make this clear. Regardless, this doesn’t really matter, as you never even see the face of “Babish” in the series. What you do see is him making beautiful dishes inspired by the food in classic film and TV scenes. Behold:
As you can see, Babish references both his inspirations—such as the “prison sauce” of Goodfellas or the titular dish of Ratatouille—while quickly and efficiently demonstrating how to cook that dish at home. Rather than trying to talk to the camera while he’s cooking, he instead provides narration in post, which helps him create a tone that is smooth, relaxing and considered in advance rather than stream of consciousness. His naturally wry humor makes the series lightly comedic, but in a way that never really detracts from the fact that you’re trying to learn to cook something.
In total, there are “only” 28 episodes of Binging with Babish created in the last year, but the host has recently stepped production way up—6 episodes in the last month alone. This is no doubt due to the surge of popularity they’ve recently experienced, with multiple videos in the last month breaking the 1 million views mark, and his subscriber total surging from a few thousand to almost 400,000 people. At the same time, his Patreon has grown substantially, and will likely make YouTubing a full-time job in the near future. Honestly, it looks like the sky is the limit for this guy, and his content justifies it by being both easily digestible, beautifully presented, humorous and educational.
We’ll simply close with our favorite episode: Multiple burger variants from Bob’s Burgers.