The BEST Cooking Videos on YouTube

The BEST Cooking Videos on YouTube

If you ask me, the best cooking videos on
YouTube are, surprisingly, these infomercials for infamously high-sodium dehydrated broth
products featuring an over-the-hill British celebrity chef who can barely be bothered
to try anymore. Believe it or not, I think there’s some great
things you can learn about cooking and about life by watching Marco Pierre White half-heartedly
smear a steak with a smushed up bouillon cube while generally making an art of being “over
it.” Being “over it” is basically my favorite trait in other people, and it’s one of my
favorite feelings on the occasion that I’m able to experience it. Before I proceed, I want to acknowledge that
there’s a lot of reason to believe that Marco White is, or at least sometimes can be, a
terrible person. And we’ll get to that. If you’re in the United States, there’s a
good chance you don’t even know who Marco Pierre White is. This is basically the one
place in the English-speaking world where Marco Pierre White has not been a major pop-culture
figure for going on 30 years. He just never seemed to break through here the way his one-time
protege Gordon Ramsay did. “Where’s the lamb sauce?” “Come on, man.” But a lot of people trace the birth of today’s
global celebrity chef movement to Marco Pierre White. He is, arguably, patient zero for a
phenomenon that I do believe is a plague upon us, but that’s a topic for another day. Prior
to Marco, cooking was rarely viewed as a high-status profession. Working in the kitchen was basically
like working in the laundry. This is something Anthony Bourdain talked and wrote about a
lot in his too-short life. Bourdain is on record as saying that everything changed for
both him and for his trade when these iconic photos by Bob Carlos Clarke hit the world
in 1990, in particular this one. There he his. Jim Morrison in an apron. A
wire-thin jackrabbit of relentless, obstinate culinary perfectionism. The dyslexic child
of an alcoholic working-class widower, he was beaten down by the English schooling system
that most of us know only from Pink Floyd songs. You have to wonder if it was that chip
on White’s shoulder that drove him to demand respect as a young chef — to say to the
aristocratic twits in his dining room, “I am good enough to walk among you. You will
not treat me as an untouchable, to be neither seen nor heard whilst I service your gluttony.
I am an artist and you are merely passing through my gallery.” As he clawed his way
up the English social ladder that was infamously light on rungs, he seemed to drag his entire
lowly profession up with him — or at least so goes the legend. For what it’s worth, I think that interpretation
of history may be a bit overblown. Certainly there were high-status celebrity chefs before
Marco Pierre White, but none of them were as media-savvy as he was. The footage I’ve been showing you is from
two series about Marco that aired on Britain’s ITV circa 1989. To the British media, White
was basically their bad boyfriend — they loved him because he was mean to them. Check
this legendary clip. “Floyd’s coming in for lunch. Does he eat
at Harvey’s a lot?” “Yes.” “You’ve become quite friendly with him, haven’t
you?” “Yes.” “There’s nothing like monosyllabic answers,
is there?” “No.” “There’s no point in doing this, Marco.” “Well, fine, you can go then. The door’s over
there.” “IF you’re not going to cooperate with the
shows…” “You know, all I’ve got to do is make the
sauce. That is what I’m being paid for. Not being paid for anything else. To make the
@*#$ing sauce.” As long as I live, you’ll never convince me
that was a sincere outburst. I think Marco knew exactly what he was doing, cultivating
— or, to some extent, inventing — the volatile genius persona that Gordon Ramsay
would imitate into self-parody. “WHERE’S THE LAMB SAUCE?” “Right here, chef, I have it.” What you can also see in these videos is the
kind of cuisine that Marco was cooking — the plates that made him the then-youngest chef
ever to earn the maximum of three Michelin stars. The dishes look pretty dated, and some
of them are positively baroque, none more so than this dessert of caramelized pears
with honey ice cream. There’s the poached pears. He brûlées them
— nice. Then about 15,000 garnishes go on the plate. OK, that’s you did in those days.
A little edible dish goes down, ice cream goes in there and then done, right? Oh sure,
well you gotta have cherry on top and then we eat it right? Ok, and then WHAT THE ^$%& IS
THAT A SUGAR BIRD’S NEST? Has the phrase “gilding the lily” ever been more apt? OK, now fast forward a couple of decades,
and this is the Marco we see making cooking videos for Knorr, the stock cube manufacturer
now owned by multinational food and consumer products giant Unilever. This Marco has no
time for sugar bird’s nests. He has time for exactly two things: his sponsor — this video,
by the way, is brought to you by Skillshare, more about them later — and he has time
for the food he actually likes. Back in his salad days, Marco took more haute
cuisine to bed than most could ever dream of. Now he just wants to settle down with
a nice rib of beef and knock out a few Yorkshire puddings. I love this Marco. I love his physique — not
so much fat as swollen with pleasure. He looks like my feet feel when I’ve had too much wine. I even love how lazy and occasionally just
wrong he is. Like, he’s got this thing that he says every single time he sautés some
onion — does it every single time. “What I’m doing is is I’m cooking them without
color, just to soften them, to remove the water content within them, to remove the acidity,
to bring out their natural sweetness.” “As always, cook your onions to remove the
water content, to remove the acidity, to allow the natural sweetness.” He really can’t be bothered to come up with
a new thing to say about onions; he just busts out that old warhorse, every single time.
And onions, of course, are not particularly acidic — they have a pH between 5 and 6,
like basically most vegetables. What he’s talking about is the pungency of onions, which
comes from their sulfur compounds — compounds that you can, indeed, break down by cooking
them. This is a boarder phenomenon you see among
experienced practitioners who are suddenly called upon to be teachers. Practitioners
tend to know really well what works; they tend to have not such a good handle on why
it works. I mean, here’s Marco explaining why you whisk
liquid into a roux bit-by-bit when making a sauce. “You whisk it in to incorporate air into it.
By incorporating the air, you break down the starch. You work it.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure everything about that
explanation is wrong. But the technique works. I just kinda love that he doesn’t care whether
what he’s saying is right, or credible, or coherent, or consistent. “Most people make their shepherd’s pie too
dry. I like my shepherd’s pie quite wet.” “A lot of people tend to make their mince
too wet.” Now, I understand that you might find the
false confidence of a high-status man to be infuriating rather than charming. It’s especially
infuriating in light of Marco’s recent interview with the Irish Independent in which he said
that men are better than women in the professional kitchen, because “they are not as emotional
and they don’t take things personally.” Yes, that quote was given by this guy: “Clearly agitated Marco asks the cameras to
stop rolling.” “Don’t tape me on this one, please. It’s been
frozen. It’s ^@%#. I want to know why. It’s very simple, isn’t it? I don’t want to be
filmed, you understand? Do not film what I say, do not film me. Have some &@^$ing respect.
Do not push me. I don’t think you understand what I am. I control myself very well.” So look, I’m not here to tell you you’re wrong
if you think MPW is a POS. I am here to say there’s something we could all learn from
how few %@s he gives about what either of us thinks of him — and also how such a supremely
accomplished chef on this earth could be so unconcerned with impressing anybody with his
food anymore. I think the single biggest breakthrough in
my own cooking came somewheres around the age of 30, when I stopped trying to cook to
impress all the damn time, which if I’m honest had maybe been my primary motivation up to
that point. I kinda realized that was, indeed, the most selfish way to cook. “Here, I’m not
giving you this to give you pleasure, or to make you feel nourished or nurtured. I am
here to make you sit there and be awed by me.” Sounds great, doesn’t? These Marco Knorr videos helped me liberate
myself and my loved ones from that particularly oppressive prison. And once you’re out, you
can go on a much more gratifying and still challenging journey of discovering what you
and the people around you actually like to eat. And I love how Marco acknowledges that
is not neessarily an easy thing to do. “So it’s about finding that balance of what
you like. It’s all about eating.” “Why should there be a recipe? Why can’t it
just be feel? A philosophy. It’s what I like to eat — taste. If you don’t taste your
food, you don’t know what it’s gonna be like at the end.” It’s what you gotta do. Put in a little bit,
taste it, put in a little bit more, taste it until you like it. And even then, you might
sit down to dinner and be like, “This isn’t really doing it for me.” It takes practice
to learn yourself. Really, it’s rather like our intimate relationships,
right? When you’re a kid, you don’t really know who you need to be with or what you need
from them in order to be fulfilled. What you have is somebody else’s idea of what is or
is not desirable. It’s usually only through a lot of sloppy experimentation that we figure
ourselves out enough to get who and what we want — and becoming a person who knows themselves
is usually the first step toward becoming the kind of person whom someone else will
want. Now, as valuable as these lessons may be,
let’s say that you want to learn something that’s a little more specific, and learn it
from someone who doesn’t have the false confidence of an impossibly high-status man. Might I
suggest the sponsor of this video? Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community
with thousands and thousands of classes covering all kinds of creative and entrepreneurial
skills. You know, I posted a video last week that
I was really happy with because I felt that it demonstrated some progress in my still
nascent skills as a cinematographer. I’d barely touched a real camera until a few years ago.
But the people who watched this video said they were kinda more impressed with the music,
which I had composed myself. This was funny to me, because basically all of my formal
schooling is in music composition. It’s not in journalism, or cooking, or filmmaking,
or teaching. But at the risk of exuding precisely the kind of false confidence that I was just
decrying a moment ago, I have a little bit of game in all of those areas now, and that’s
not because I’m just so damn awesome. It’s really just because I’m old. Life is long,
and if you just don’t stop learning, it’s amazing how many distinct skills you can amass
as the years march on and on, and Skillshare can help you do that. Since we’re talking about music, let me recommend
the excellent music mixing and mastering classes taught by Young Guru. “Recording use to be sort of a black art,
because it was passed down by word of mouth. Yes, there’s science in it, but the things
that make particular engineers special were things that were passed down to them. So that’s
the complete reason why we need to take this information and make it available to the public,
so the art form doesn’t die.” Sure, you could spend a couple hundred bucks
on some software and watch enough free YouTube tutorials to cobble together an understanding
of how to use it, but that’s not really how most people learn well. That is not a class.
Most people learn well in a structured environment, and that’s what you get from Skillshare. You
get a logical progression — building upon skill upon skill upon skill — what they
call scaffolding in education theory. Premium Skillshare membership gives you unlimited
access to these courses, so you can follow your passions and you curiosity wherever they
lead you. At an annual subscription of less than $10 a month, that is a steal, compared
to all the other ways that you could take a class. And hey, because you watch me, you
can follow my link in the description and two months of Skillshare Premium for free. And while I really do kinda love Marco Pierre
White, I doubt any of you would want an instructor who would say something as stupid as this: “What I always search for, when I’m looking
for meat, is a coating of fat around the eye of the meat, because that tells you what’s
in the meat. If there’s not fat coating, you might as well eat cardboard.” Yeah, you know what’s an even better indication
go home. Take a stock cube. Go to bed.

100 thoughts on “The BEST Cooking Videos on YouTube”

  1. Marco did an AMA with the Oxford Union that is about an hour long, you should definately give it a watch, a definate intellectual.

  2. This video is essential for any young cook in a professional kitchen today. You, sir, are a fucking messiah in this industry. The age of Haute Chef-Vikings needs to end in order for the industry to continue.

    -20 Y/O professional cook

  3. the liberating feeling of not needing to create to impress is something that can be felt in all arts I feel.
    When I made the click with drawings I started to aply it to cooking and it all started to feel a lot easier

  4. "Becoming a person who knows themselves is usually the first step toward becoming the kind of person whom someone else will want."

    Holy shit, i really wasn't expecting this when i clicked this video.

  5. Personally I just microwave 8 Knorr stock pots and eat them with a teaspoon. Or not. It's your choice really. There is no real recipe. you can put 7 if you like.

  6. Hey Adam. Wanted to say thanks for this video. I like how you show the complexities of opinions. The minutia of life. The world isn't simple, sometimes we don't have the answers, but if we communicate with people eventually we might understand each other.

    Psh… cooking videos my ass. Keep doing your thing. I'll keep watching.

  7. Please tell me that this plague will be a topic that is covered soon, I would love to hear your views on it.

  8. As someone who's just been through a one-year culinary school course, what you said about 'experienced practicioners called upon to be teachers' totally resonated with me (ok, so did the sugar cage and tuille basket, those are mainstays in pastry 101). Over here (Ireland) there's a big push for courses to get people fast-tracked into the industry because of a labour shortage. Lecturers are regularly there to just get you to know how to do things, do them well and do them consistently, but there's not a lot of room for explaining 'why' – that's reserved for people who'd go on to be product designers or health inspectors. I'm one of those people who, as a perfectionist, craves to know why, and on more than one occasion I drove a lecturer up the wall with questions.

  9. Watching him speak to the cameraman or the crew he works with it's so uncomfortable. There's no excuse for the attitude he displays to those he's working with and it's incredibly off-putting. What a chauvinist ass-hole.

  10. Oh I remember loving those Knorr videos just because you'd always been wondering at what point in the video would the stock pot or other knorr product would come into play. I also think Marco was drunk for a lot of them,

  11. Haven’t even watched the video but must say the best cooking videos on here are Weber cooks. If you haven’t please give it a watch it’ll change your life

  12. Love you and your vids Adam but Marco isn’t your typical celebrity chef. He was the first British chef to win 3 Michelin stars and the youngest in Michelin history to win 3 Stars at the time.

  13. I miss the days you hadnt sold out to questionable sponsors and resorted to clickbaiting. At some point it will be too much.

  14. Wow, I agree. Marco is simply a genius. People shit on him for Knorr, but all his techniques and lines of thinking are correct.

  15. For all the bad boy bluster, I think Marco Pierre White, far from not caring what people thought of him, was ultimately about being accepted and validated by the rarefied culture of haute cuisine and high-end fine dining. Acceptance and celebration by a group you despise doesn’t make you very happy in the end, or ever.
    To me, the original culinary badass and all around amazing dude will always be Jacques Pepin.

  16. please please please watch the video where he critiques people who cook eggs for him. kills me everytime when he explains very basically to a woman how to poach an egg and then stares her directly in the eyes and says, "never forget that."

  17. Never thought I'd see the day when adam found out about Marcos great stock pot videos. all memes aside Marco knows his shit

  18. Yeah the music in your other video was sublime, would love to hear more original compositions in your videos if you're ever inclined.

  19. 7:40 wasn’t him getting emotional with anything kitchen related it was in reaction to the camera man ignoring his initially calm and polite request

  20. You would have made it on Youtube whatever the topic. It was food, it could have been something else because you're very talented.

  21. My phone started lowering like I couldn't even out up the effort to hold it up cuz I'm just thinking wtf is this???????

  22. I really liked this video. You gave solid advice and reasoning in a way that was fun, entertaining, educational, and thorough.

  23. Tis my birthday. But as a brit this video is spot on. Nothing less and perfectly summed up. A great video on cooking and culture

  24. You know what? I'm happy. I'm happy modern home cooks like Adam, Babish, Chef John, you suck at cooking and many many more are dethroning these pompous assholes we are supposed to respect. Fuck them. Fuck them and their pretentious ass recipes and their bullshit attitude.

    Shove those michelin stars up your asses, cooking is fun again!

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