Here’s some inspiration and entertainment from a couple of funny YouTubers who deliver an uncut look at the wonderful world of food.
A lot of content in the food space can tend to be either a bit pretentious or a little too vanilla. Autoplay your way through a cuisine-inspired playlist on social media, and you’re likely to find a predictable lineup of overly serious or excessively tame videos.
You might first see Gordon Ramsay pontificating about crème fraîche and scrambled eggs. Next up, Salt Bae charges celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio the amount of your monthly car payment to watch him bounce salt off his elbow and onto a steak that GQ called “somewhat tough and rather bland.” Finally, a Tasty mashup runs through some cute variations on sugar cookie frosting.
There’s nothing wrong with these productions, but sometimes even the most serious connoisseurs need a no-frills foodie fix with a NSFW edge. Two of the best YouTube dives for satiating such cravings are Matty Matheson’s how-to cooking shows and Dave Portnoy’s 'One Bite Pizza Reviews.'
Matty Matheson’s Crazy Cooking Hits the Spot
In many ways, Matty Matheson is a far cry from the typical kitchen tyrant. He’s a jolly ball of comedic energy covered with more ink than a newspaper in a shoal of scared squid. While he’s a formally trained chef who has published multiple cook books, he doesn’t take himself too seriously, loudly extolling the victual virtues of treats like 'Secret Ingredient Shepherd's Pie,' and 'Naughty or Nice Chorizo Lasagna:'
“I’m putting myself out there as anti-food television,” Matheson said in a Hot Ones interview:
“I hate ‘Hi, I’m a really good looking guy and this is how you make creme brûlée, and this is perfect.’ It’s so whitewashed and so bull—t.”
Watch enough of Matheson’s content and you’ll hear repeated denouncements of pretentious food talk and using foods like purple cabbage in coleslaw to add flair. Still, he’s able to get fancy by putting foie gras in poutine or making mouth-moistening duck confit crepes—all while staying accessible to the average Joe who knows nothing about fine dining.
Why His YouTube Channel is Cooking With Fire: He’s used his passion for cooking as a springboard into non-food related areas of the entertainment industry, growing into an all-around celebrity.
Whether he’s hanging out with Diplo on his YouTube show with Benny Blanco, exploring North America on Vice’s 'Munchies', or inviting Eric Andre onto his podcast, Matheson has built his brand in whatever direction is available.
Takeaway for Your Channel: Start with what you know best, what you’re good at, but don’t be afraid to move beyond your comfort zone. There are new subscribers waiting for you wherever you go.
Dave Portnoy’s Pizza Pronouncements
Dave Portnoy made his fortune by founding Barstool Sports, but he’s also the king—no, El Presidente—of pizza reviews. Whether he stole the idea from a throwaway joke on NBC sitcom Community or started it as a dare, as he claims, doesn’t matter.
He’s undeniably at the top of the cheesy tomato pie game now with his simple reviews delivered into a camera held by his intern Frankie outside of each pizza shop he patronizes.
However, while Portnoy is critical of the Italian delicacy, he’s no snob about it. No pizza joint is too good, as evinced by his reviews of slices from Costco, 7-Eleven, and Chuck E. Cheese (below), the latter of which he gave a surprisingly high 6.0 on the One Bite 0-10 scale. Portnoy even switched to critiquing frozen pizzas during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Portnoy has even shared his platform with some interesting people he’s encountered along the way, including a random Uber driver and a particularly charismatic fan who proved to know his pizza. Both of them now have their own One Bite reviews on the channel.
Why his channel will burn your face off: Portnoy leveraged his Barstool fame to bring in athletes and other celebrities, but he keeps it completely down to earth. Pretty much any passerby can get in on the review and give a score. Most importantly, though, he’s been crazy consistent, putting out daily videos for the past several years to build his pizza empire.
Takeaway for Your YouTube Channel: If you’ve developed a successful brand, be it on YouTube or elsewhere, you can use that as a springboard to monetizing your other interests. Keep it simple, stay consistent, and you just might be able to start the next niche video movement.
Matty Matheson and Dave Portnoy are true heroes of non-pretentious food culture. Take a break from the overly serious or boringly tame cuisine content you’re used to consuming, and give them a taste!
Aaron is a writer and editor from the US who currently lives in tropical Taiwan. When he's not crafting a press release or blog post, he's probably writing about the New York Yankees for Elite Sports NY or falling down a YouTube rabbit hole of comedy, music, and sports highlights.