When the chefs leave the kitchen
Where to find your favorite former Bon Appetite chefs
Like many things, 2020 did not treat the fate of Bon Appetite’s test kitchen well. Once the home to a popular Youtube channel, their Youtube space was dormant for most of the year.
It turned out that the head honcho at Bon Appetite kept costs down by not paying his online talent equally. People of color, who were “encouraged” to participate on screen were not paid to do so.
This lead to an exodus from the company that left mostly the white men on the channel remaining. Their boss was fired, and after months of waiting, everyone was replaced by diverse hires. Personally, the whole thing stunk of tokenism. It felt disingenuous. There was always a solid balance of diversity. We didn’t need more. What fans wanted, was for their favorite people to get paid fairly. If they decided to not go back, we wanted Bon Appetite and Conde Nast to tell us where they went. They did neither.
The Bon Appetite test kitchen was as much an online space where we learned how to make recipes, as it was a reality show featuring our favorite work environment. All the co-workers were friendly and had an irreplaceable chemistry. We all wanted Sohla to get her own show, heck, she was who everyone went to for help anyway. We all wondered why she didn’t. We all thought it was something innocent.
I’m a big fan of cooking, and I was a huge fan of the channel. I’ve been told by other people that the new chefs are great, but the comment sections below videos have become toxic. Personally, I quickly unsubscribed seeing racists using the appeared tokenism to find favor. And then my search began.
Almost everyone who left Bon Appetite has an Instagram account. If I don’t mention them here, that’s the best place to look. That said, here’s where to find your favorite Bon Appetit personalities.
Carla Lalli Music
Carla does have her own Youtube channel, but that’s not where you can find her. Instead, check out her Patreon. For $8 a month, you get a more personal version of her. She’s currently working on a cookbook, and $1 from each Patreon subscriber is donated to charity.
Molly recently was a guest on Carla’s Patreon and researching that, I learned that she also has her own Patreon. Marketed as a recipe club, membership is $5 a month. Molly also appears to have a cooking/clothing line which produces stylish aprons and tote bags. You can keep track of her next collaborations here.
Gaby felt like everyone’s favorite, wholesome aunt on Bon Appetite. It was a pleasant surprise when I discovered that Gaby was on Youtube. Gaby was first introduced to us as the kitchen manager at the test kitchen. Eventually, she would share various South American and Central American recipes on the channel. All of her recipes were easy to follow and she has an incredibly magnetic personality.
Gaby has a fantastic Youtube page, that quickly became monetized, despite her having a smaller following than everyone else on this list. She also has a great website where you can grab her fantastic recipes.
Here is a great collaboration Gaby recently did with an editor from America’s Test Kitchen on her channel.
Not only is Priya a best-selling author, she also has had a longstanding relationship with the New York Times. This made subscribing to the New York Times Cooking channel mandatory for any of her fans after the debacle at Bon Appetite. Not a big deal, until you realize that NYT Cooking is currently building their own test kitchen which Priya and Sohla recently used with their partners in a friendly contest.
Rick is living an amazing life. He and his partner travel to various markets across Mexico to find ingredients for the recipes he is creating for an upcoming cookbook. Many of those recipes also find their way onto his Youtube show, Sweet Heat with Rick Martinez, one of the flagship shows on the new Food 52 Youtube channel. The show is produced and directed by Rick and his partner, and is worth watching for their rapport and humor alone. Additionally, it’s a great space to learn about spices and peppers from a Mexican and Central American perspective.
To keep track of Claire’s comings and goings you’ll definitely need an Instagram account. She’s very open with her community there. If you don’t know who Claire is, she was arguably Bon Appetites’ most popular personality. A pastry chef by trade, on Claire’s show she created recipes to make everything from gourmet Twinkies to Snickers Bars. If you find a homemade pop tarts recipe online, it’s highly likely that it’s hers, or inspired by her recipe. Claire is a big deal.
Currently, her Youtube presence is a channel promoting her new cookbook. If you’re into desserts and want to learn how to make them, Claire is an excellent teacher. Her recipes are well written and tested. Claire has a way of turning recipes that should be intimidating and complicated into easily followed tasks.
Who would have thought, that the person everyone wanted to get her own show, would turn into a Youtube star as soon she left Bon Appetite? It’s almost as if Bon Appetite was leaving money on the table by not giving her a show. Sohla is now thriving. She is a regular at NYT cooking, and has shows on Food 52, and the Babish Culinary Universe (Binging with Babish). Her videos get 100K+ and 1Million+ views! Already collaborating with Priya and Rick in a couple of my favorite Youtube videos this year, Sohla is working on a cookbook, and judging other chefs on shows like Quibi’s Dishmantled.
Slowly, members of our favorite test kitchen are collaborating with one another. Sadly, Claire’s cookies crumbled when she sent them to Rick. Rick and Sohla have worked together. Carla judged a contest between Babish and Sohla recently. Molly was a guest on Carla’s Patreon show. It’s good to know that the people who made up our favorite reality-TV kitchen are still in touch. We can still dream of that perfect workplace where they’ll all join forces again.