Standing by the stove, she adds some oil to her pancetta cooking in a pan, generously sprinkles it with fresh black pepper and stirs. Wiping her hands on her apron, she eagerly presses play on her laptop to continue watching Chef John make the next step of the recipe.
Though fictional, this woman is one of many people turning to the Web for cooking videos and recipes. Mia Quagliarello, product market manager for content and community at YouTube, says that recipe searches on YouTube have quadrupled since 2008 with search terms like 'slow cooker’ and 'healthy’ recipes seeing a 5,000 percent increase in the past two years. What is it that brings people to the Web?
Yes, there is the convenience factor; you can rewind, pause and play the video as many times as you’d like. The Food Network offers the same benefits (as long as you have DVR), but you can’t transport your TV into your kitchen like you can your iPad, iPhone, or laptop. Plus, as Chef John of Foodwishes.com argues, people are tired of the ‘stand and stir’ shows that are typical of TV Network stars; viewers want to focus on the food, not the celebrity.
Instead of searching through cookbooks, users can get a more hands-on experience online. And as Quagliarello says, video is a very dynamic medium that allows people to put their own spin on what they do, resulting in a never-ending variety of creativity on the Web — which is exactly what we found.
Whether you’re looking for quirky characters like the Japanese chef who cooks with her dog, a 94-year old woman who teaches frugal, Depression-era cooking or specialty videos for MS patients, you’ll find it and much more on the internet. You may even find more than you’re looking for.
Here is a collection of the most popular, helpful and oddest videos on the Web.
Have a food wish that you want to see come true? Write Chef John about a recipe that you’d like to see and chances are that you’ll see a video recipe pop up for it. Chef John isn’t popular because he’s trying to mimic a network personality or audition for Top Chef; fans watch his videos because he is all about the food. A former culinary school instructor, Chef John provides basic to complex video recipes and then offers an ingredient list and adjoining blog post on his website.
Two women take a playful and somewhat outlandish approach to raw food with a fun introductory song and gorgeous food shots. Their accents tend to vary from poorly done Italian mafia, gangster and baby talk. You might see some bottle licking and gyrating dance moves, but the recipes overall are good, clear and interesting.
Vegan cooking in her home kitchen with recipes like Mini Vegan Pumpkin Pie, Quinoa Kitchari and Frozen Chocolate-Dipped Bananas. Each video has close shots of the food with step-by-step explanations for the recipe with generally good quality and clarity.
Norwegian cooking isgaining popularity and this cook prepares Scandinavian dishes at a makeshift kitchen counter in the woods with mountains in the horizon and avalley behind him. While the recipes seem good, it’s hard not to worry that he’s going to fall and roll down the mountain at any minute.
Inspired by a former employee with MS, Chef Amanda Freitag has created a series of videos for MS patients that focus on their health and enjoyment of food – something that will apply to everyone, not just those with MS.
Chef Vah makes Indian food easy to make at home with close-up shots of the food, explanations of ingredients and simple-to-follow recipes. Expand your cooking repertoire with his fun and colorful videos. (He has an odd but endearing sense of humor as you’ll soon learn.)
On Cooking with Dog, this chef makes authentic Japanese dishes accompanied by her dog. She doesn’t actually speak, but there is a voiceover in English that explains each step. A great video for learning Japanese dishes that comes with a quirky and furry twist (a Christmas video had the poodle wearing a tiny Santa’s hat.)
Traditional Korean dishes with recipe ingredients shown on the screen prepared by Maangchi – and if you ever find yourself on a boat in Honduras with no tools but plenty of Korean ingredients, she’ll show you how to make a raw dipping sauce for the fish you catch.
Clara, a 94-year-old woman, hosts a show that focuses on frugal cooking and has even landed herself a cookbook.
Jolene, aka the ‘Trailer Park Queen’, teaches viewers how to cook on a budget and do it ‘the trailer park way’ in the kitschy test kitchen. Hilarious and ridiculous in appearance with bright blue eye shadow, a blonde beehive wig, she likes to include lengthy commentary on her likes and dislikes before each recipe.
Though he can’t really provide commentary on his recipes (his jaw is wired shutafter being broken), you’ve got to congratulate him on cooking. Although watching the tuna puree dribble down his chinwasn’t exactly appetizing.