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Filmaniacs: Learn to cook with hidden Youtube gem

Filmaniacs: Learn to cook with hidden Youtube gem

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Streaming service giants like Netflix and Disney+ offer a vast array of entertainment geared specifically to keep our eyes glued to our screens — both big and pocket-sized — at all hours of the day like we’re living in some Orwellian dystopia… of course it is still 2020 for a couple more weeks.

And while YouTube is part of Google’s tech giant umbrella, it still technically counts as one of the largest streaming services on the planet.  At any given time, there are more than two billion people watching something on the platform; more than 70% is done from a mobile device.

The content is both fascinating and infuriating to watch.  You’ll find worth-while programming produced by independent creators once you dig beyond the cat videos and the “caught-on-camera” moments of other people doing really, really stupid things.

One channel in particular is Binging With Babish, or as it has been recently rebranded:  Babish Culinary Universe.  It’s a cooking show and one of the better series not produced by the Food Network.

BWB/BCU is the brainchild of Andrew Rea, a New Yorker with a love for the culinary arts and filmmaking.  Rea based his “character” off of Oliver Babish, played by Oliver Platt on “The West Wing.”

Rea’s presence on screen — mostly seen from shoulders to waist to showcase his work — is a repartee of wit, humor, and insight into cooking.  His videos feature recipes that seem complicated but are easily broken down step by step for viewers recreating them at home.

The recipes he features come from a variety of sources, many from film, television, and video games.  These include pop culture gems like Monica’s Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich from “Friends” or the Shawarma from “Avengers.”

But he also teaches cooking essentials.  His “Basics With Babish” playlists and live cook-a-longs teach his viewers what kind of tools to keep in their kitchens, how to use them, and what steps to take when creating anything from scratch.

Viewers learn baking skills, how to cook the perfect steak, how to sous vide, make candy, or build a better burger.  He breaks his recipe playlists down by difficulty, from easy to vegetarian… as if cooking vegetarian is its own difficulty level.

Rea even published a recipe book in October 2019 featuring recipes from the first 100 episodes of his show.  All of those recipes are fun to try even if they didn’t win his “coveted clean plate award.”

But the most endearing aspect of Rea’s channel is his “Being With Babish” playlist.  In these heartfelt videos Rea connects with fans in each episode, like hosting a BBQ fundraiser to donate $10,000 for a Kentucky-born six year-old’s medical bills.

If you haven’t watched any part of Babish Culinary Universe, this is definitely a must-watch series.  With dine-in options severely limited these days, maybe its time to make those gourmet meals at home with Babish as your culinary life coach.

Garrett K. Jones is a local fantasy author.  He currently has four books released in his ongoing series, and he produces a vlog on YouTube and the Creator's Corner podcast (available on Spotify, Google, & Apple).  IG/Twitter:  @gkj_publishing

Feel free to contact him with title suggestions of films you’d like him to review.

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