With TV coverage of food and cooking currently sitting in a well carved-out, traditional groove, dominated by the bunting-heavy giants of Great British Bake-Off and MasterChef – you could be forgiven for thinking that things were a little safe.
But away from the small screen and into the depths of YouTube, you’ll find that interesting food programmes have found a new, more convenient home – with plenty of space to be fun, interesting and creative.
Here are ten of the best food-based YouTube channels, covering the informative, funny and downright weird.
1. Sorted Food
Started by a group of friends with a love of all things cooking, and now one of the biggest food channels on the internet. Sorted Food focuses around four guys making interesting meals and attempts to show you how possible it all is, with one qualified chef (Ben Ebbrell) to guide them through. The informal tone could run the risk of falling into ‘lad banter’ territory, if it wasn’t for the fact that all the presenters seem to be genuinely pleasant and willing to explain even the basics.
The Sorted Food team are currently on their #LostAndHungry world tour, which is a great mix of travel blogging and good eats – making this a good time to get involved.
2. Cooking with Dog
Yep, this shows actually does what it says on the tin. This Japanese culinary outfit is hosted and narrated by Francis the Dog and an unnamed female chef. Whilst the mysterious chef goes about putting together Asian food dishes, Francis sits there offering a soothing narration – even when looking distracted, disinterested or asleep.
Probably NSFW, but only because you won’t be able to contain your laughter and you’ll have to explain to a colleague what you’re actually watching.
3. Fuck, That’s Delicious
Putt together by Vice sister-site Munchies, Fuck, That’s Delicious sees ginger-bearded rap star Action Bronson combine his love of filthy beats and lyrics with good dining. Despite the gruff approach to presenting (he’s got some swears on him), Bronson actually used to be a gourmet chef in New York City – so there’s a mutual respect between him and the guests that he interviews on the show amidst their kitchen set-up. It’s an obvious warning, but never attempt to watch on an empty stomach.
4. Daym Drops
A true internet success story. Daymon Patterson was a retail store manager, until his YouTube review of a new burger from US-chain Five Guys became a huge viral hit and even spawned a hit single. This has led to him becoming a full-time food reviewer with his very own TV show. Ain’t that something.
Daym Drops’ fast-food reviews take away any snobbishness from the role of the critic and instead leave with you an engaging presenter salivating over fast-food in the front seat of his car. Simple, but effective.
5. Epic Meal Time
A Canadian show that isn’t looking to help you cut down on calories. Hosted by Harley Morenstein and his band of compatriots, it falls somewhere between a food programme and an all-out comedy sketch (especially when Jamie Oliver is locked in a cupboard, or the show is hijacked by James Franco and Seth Rogen).
The recipes delivered are often meat-heavy and enormously oversized – but it’s a fun watch if you’ve had enough of Lloyd Grossman.
6. My Drunk Kitchen
Hannah ‘Harto’ Hart is the quirky face of My Drunk Kitchen , a show that sees the 28-year-old attempt to take on culinary tasks whilst possibly sozzled. The show began in 2011, with some simple recipes such as omelettes and mac n’ cheese – but has evolved into a whole range of great recipe ideas from an engaging (occasionally inebriated) host who has become a hugely popular name worldwide.
7. How To Cook That
Cake-ing heck. Australian Ann Reardon was a food scientist and dietician before becoming a Youtube personality known for making hugely elaborate sweet dishes – from giant Mars Bars, to edible fire engines, to Sydney Harbour Bridge cake.
Reardan is a friendly host, with a great presenting and plenty of instructions if you wish to try the recipes for yourself. Or, you can just gawp at the sheer madness of her projects.
8. Food Wishes
It doesn’t all have to be high calorie feats of culinary extremes. Food Wishes with Chef John is the cooking programme equivalent of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross – there’s something comforting about the pacing and delivery which has your brain emitting the happy chemicals.
There are hundreds of recipes on the YouTube channel, ranging in cuisine styles and with step-by-step narration of how to put it together. No fancy camera cuts, no fuss – just food and how to make it.
A slightly off-beat inclusion on this list (yep, even more so than Cooking with Dog) but a channel well-worth checking out. PESfilm presents claymation takes on a fantasy kitchen, where a submarine sandwich put together with slices of a boxing glove.
A charming animated channel that you will have you grinning along at every bizarre imaginative ingredient.
To counteract the sheer meaty overflow of the likes of Epic Meal Time and a whole plethora of barbecue options – Veggietorials breaks down vegan meals into easy instructional videos as well as providing product reviews.
Host Cobi Kim is also a natural on-screen presence and is happy to poke fun at herself (including the Lord of the Rings parody above).