Media Review: Bon Appétit

Lianna Brown ‘22, News Editor

Bon Appétit, a monthly food magazine, has increased its online presence greatly in the past few years and now has a YouTube channel with almost five million subscribers. On their channel, Bon Appétit produces several different shows, all with different Bon Appétit chefs as hosts. My favorite personal favorite is Gourmet Makes, where the host, Claire Saffitz, a Contributing Food Editor at Bon Appétit, attempts to make junk food like oreos, cheez-its, twinkies, and other popular mass-produced snacks from scratch and make them “gourmet”. Since its creation in 2017, the show has done it all, I find myself asking how people have still come up with more things for Claire to make gourmet. While I love a lot of the other videos Bon Appétit produces, Gourmet Makes is by far my favorite and with each being about 20-40 minutes long, it really feels like a whole episode of reality television. 

Claire usually begins each episode by trying the snack that she is re-creating and has a few of her co-workers try them too as they reminisce on which flavor was their favorite as a child. Next, Clair states all the ingredients in the food, which is her “favorite part.” Then she starts researching the food, usually researching up how its made in a factory to attempt to replicate the process. She then gathers ingredients and starts testing out different methods of creating the food. The bulk of the show is Claire trying out different tests of the recipes, and when she finally gets it, explaining what she did to get to the final product. And finally, she has other chefs and producers try what she has made. Of course over the episodes, Claire’s results vary, but they usually come out very good, or even too good, as we saw in the Hot Pocket episode where Claire made a “too good Hot Pocket.” While watching her struggle to get the recipe right is obviously entertaining, my favorite part of the show is when the other chefs at Bon Appétit get involved. They usually come and offer Clair advice and support in her endeavors, but they also make witty banter and fun chatter, and even do some teasing that makes the content that much more entertaining. Their interactions feel unfiltered and genuine, which is why I think the content is so refreshing and entertaining to me, as being “unfiltered” is such a rarity in today’s media world. The videos show when Claire messes up and lets her tell the audience how she really feels about what she’s making, it feels like we’re behind the scenes of what it’s like to work at Bon Appétit, which makes it feel even more personal and like real life.

Even though the episodes always end with a how-to, the episodes aren’t really about learning how to make pop-tarts at home, it really is a reality show with ups and downs, surprises, humor, and distinct characters of the other Bon Appétit chefs. If you are looking for something new to watch and love cooking videos like me, but know you’ll never actually make what the chefs are making, I would highly recommend watching an episode or two of Gourmet Makes!