When you think of the greatest TV chefs today, who do you think of? Jamie Oliver? Gordon Ramsey? Sure, these are established names launched into the public consciousness by successful careers both in the kitchen and on TV, but what if I told you there was a new guard of food personalities arriving.
Step in Bon Appétit, the Condé Nast owned food magazine and website, and now a successful YouTube channel. Bon Appétit has successfully promoted their editors into on-screen personalities. Their two biggest break out stars, Claire Saffitz and Brad Leon, both have become internet celebrities, with their videos often making their way into YouTube’s trending page and climbing the front page of Reddit. Claire’s flagship series, Gourmet Makes, sees the pastry chef make gourmet versions of popular sweet treats like Kit Kats and Gourmet Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Her passion oozes out of every video even if each challenge comes with a lot of stress. Brad hosts It’s Alive, where he originally showcased techniques for fermentation but has since shifted to include meat-based products and even ceramic bowls. Brad is a loveable goofball and is entertaining to watch helped along with some comic editing and his interactions with off-screen camera operator Vinny. When you factor in the rest of the ‘Test Kitchen Chefs,’ Bon Appétit has created a corporate channel that feels more organic than it should. It’s down to the personalities and their passion for food.
Which leads to Bon Appétit’s latest series “Making Perfection” which see’s the chefs from the test kitchen come together to make a perfect version of a dish. The first season is Pizza, which perfectly demonstrates the potential of the series, a dish that has distinct component parts, that comes to a whole to make something better than the sum of its parts. There’s a passion for food which becomes apparent throughout the series. They take this task seriously and really consider what goes into making a pizza perfect.
The first episode sees the chefs discuss what they think a perfect pizza is, and then they dish out (excuse the pun) who will be tackling each component of the pizza. Episode two see’s Claire visit New York pizza makers to discover what makes the best pizza dough recipe is. She asks questions like; New York style or Neapolitan, using a starter or commercial yeast, and the type of flower they should use. Once she’s back in the kitchen, it’s a case of reiteration and experimentation. Next up is Brad and another test kitchen chef Andy. They’re tasked with finding the recipe for the best pizza sauce. Should you use canned or fresh tomatoes? Garlic or no Garlic? What type of tomato should you use and how should you process it? These are all questions you have to ask when you’re looking for perfections. Next Carla and Molly travel to Italy to find the best type of cheese and how to learn the techniques for making it. Finally, Chris, Molly, and Andy tackle toppings. They explore whether meat, fish or veg is the best way to go and really deep dive into what the ultimate topping is. The culmination of all these efforts is tested in a wood-fired oven in Carla’s parents’ house. It’s only after some more trial and error that the perfect pizza is crowned.
Making Perfect isn’t really a new concept, but it’s the passions and expertise of each test kitchen chef, and the relationship the audience has created with each of them that really makes this series special. There is nothing better than seeing pure passion at work, and I think Bon Appétit have something that is near perfect.
You can watch the entire series of Making Perfect on Bon Appétit’s TV app or watch week by week on their YouTube channel.