A lot of classic reality TV programming was aimed around a DIY culture that taught viewers how to bring the skills of experts into their own homes. Networks like The Food Network and HGTV started out with these kinds of instructional programs, but they’ve shifted into more competitive series to bring in the excitement that modern-day viewers crave.
The side effect is that a lot of programming that features cooking doesn’t really aim to be instructional. Many of the dishes aren’t even prepared by the hosts, and the fast-paced nature of the series doesn’t leave a lot of time for explanation. Still, seeing the experts do their thing can be inspiring.
Those who want to take their skills to the next level will find the YouTube channels of these celebrity chefs more accessible with the benefit of getting to pick the exact dish or skill they’d like to learn.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt dives deep
Known simply as Kenji in the food community, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has a massive following for his science-based expertise and ability to share that skill with patience and precision. Lopez-Alt started out in a biology lab before making the leap into professional cooking.
His work on the website Serious Eats and his publication of the massive tome The Food Lab have given fans plenty of opportunities to learn. On his YouTube channel, there are hands-on videos as part of his “Kenji’s Cooking Show” series. In addition to accessible recipes like a five-ingredient Instant Pot chicken stew, Lopez-Alt also gives practical advice about making sure beginner chefs have the tools they need to get the job done.
Martha Stewart gives classic advice
A legendary instructional chef, Martha Stewart has been helping people plan everything from a quick Monday night dinner to a Super Bowl party for years. Baking features heavily on Stewart’s recipe list, but she has a wide range of tips available to help home chefs explore the possibilities of the craft.
Her YouTube channel is expansive and features a “Homeschool with Martha” series that provides accessible videos for the whole family. Learn how to keep basil fresh or how to whip up a delicious bread pudding. In addition, there are lots of videos from classic Martha Stewart recipes over the years.
Jamie Oliver offers delicious recipes
British chef Jamie Oliver has made plenty of appearances on major reality TV shows and hosted the popular series The Naked Chef. He’s well-known for making accessible recipes, and that makes his advice an excellent place for beginner chefs to get started.
On his YouTube channel, Oliver has sections for cooking with kids and a special series aimed at those cooking from home more because of the pandemic. Whether you’re looking for a minestrone recipe or tips on how to chop an onion, Oliver has you covered!
Hilah Johnson provides humor-filled commentary
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Hilah Johnson rose to popularity as an internet personality who provides tasty treats with hilarious commentary. As her YouTube page explains, she uses “humor targeted at adults” and aims to show viewers that they’re “never too old to learn to cook.”
Laugh your way to expertise while making homemade chicken noodle soup or perfecting your poached egg technique. A lot of Johnson’s dishes are Tex-Mex inspired, giving fans of bold flavor a lot to love.
Andrew Rea brings film food to life
The unique premise of Andrew Rea’s YouTube channel Babish Culinary Universe is fascinating. He brings dishes — both exotic and mundane — from the film world to life in his kitchen. Along the way, he provides viewers with meaningful tips as they follow along.
Make biscuits inspired by Ted Lasso or a 1950s dinner spread straight from WandaVision. It’s the perfect cooking starting point for film fans!
John Mitzewich offers savory treats
Food Wishes brings popular chef John Mitzewich — more commonly known simply as Chef John — straight into viewers kitchens to help them make some delicious meals.
Savory treats like Greek chicken and potato bowls and classic cheese fondue are featured heavily on his menu, but there are also some sweet treats like homemade healthy breakfast donuts.
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