Home Cooks Find Antidote to Blandness on TikTok Videos – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

From sourdough to feta pasta, much of the past year at home has been focused on food. One driver of these delicious fads is the TikTok social media platform.

Many people made it their business to cook during the pandemic when they were bored at home and wanted to try something new. TikTok was ready to fill that void as a foodie haven and has seen more than 15 billion food posts.

“It’s my bedtime routine,” said Lori Jackson, 54, of Lynn, Massachusetts, of watching TikTok cooking videos. “I took up and made ideas that I saw there.”

One of the aspiring TikTok celebrity chefs is Harry Heal, a 26 year old who lives in Dubai.

Heal has a distinctive baritone, English accent, and has gained about a million followers in the six months he has been posting cooking videos. He is not a chef by profession, although he learned some culinary skills as a teenager in the French Alps.

“From then on, I was a huge cookery fanatic and loved being in the kitchen,” said Heal.

His most viral video – 13.3 million views – is a Valentine’s Day dish of seared chicken breast, roasted garlic, sliced ​​mushrooms, and cream. Like most TikTok videos, it’s set to music and has the feel of something professional.

Tri Phan of Arlington, Virginia has amassed 1.5 million followers since he started posting videos about exercise and healthy cooking in November. The 23-year-old, who is doing his Masters in Data and Business Analytics at American University, often does two versions of his content, one in English and one in Vietnamese. About 60 percent of his followers are Vietnamese, he says.

“When I started out, I wanted to share Vietnamese cuisine with the world, Vietnamese food,” he said. “Now I want to take this TikTok further to really help people cook healthy meals that they can eat and that they can eat for the rest of their lives.”

Phan’s love of cooking came despite his traditional mother telling him to stay out of the kitchen. “My mother never wanted the only boy in the family to be in the kitchen,” he said.

“And that’s why I always wanted to cook.”

Now that he’s famous on TikTok, he says his mom doesn’t quite understand what that means. “She says, ‘Oh, good job, son. Very good. But your finance major, how are you?'”

About a year ago – somewhere near the “Tiger King” phase of the pandemic – a whipped coffee drink made the rounds on the internet and began its viral journey with TikTok. The drink is originally from South Korea, where it is called Dalgona coffee. All it took was instant coffee, sugar, and hot water to make a delicious looking drink that resembled a soft ice cream cone. The hashtag #whippedcoffee has garnered more than 2.3 billion views.

There is a lot of variety at “Essen TikTok”. You can learn to perfect a hamburger or ferment kimchee, make old-fashioned Japanese candy, or fry frog legs.

The video-only platform is suitable for cooking demonstrations, said Crystal King, professor of social media at Boston-based marketing software company Hubspot. Other social media platforms have multiple features – lots of text or static photos – that can grab a user’s attention. TikTok “sucks people in very easily,” she said. “The format is simple, easy to understand and very quickly connects people with a global understanding of food.”

The wide range of content is one of the main attractions of TikTok, according to fans. Lots of people, like Julie Vick, a 44-year-old writer and college professor in the Denver area, are looking for new ideas there.

“The videos are a little intriguing at times,” said Vick. “I loved looking at the tortillas, where people put four different ingredients in different sections of a tortilla and then fold them up and cook them in a pan.”

While they’re generally not hands-on, TikTok’s short videos spark interest in cooking skills, says Geeti Gangle, co-owner of Create a Cook cooking school in Newton, Massachusetts.

“If we get younger people to learn to cook, one day they’ll start making their own food,” Gangle said. “And they might be interested in learning the skills later.”

The link between good nutrition and cooking skills is well established. However, until the pandemic, culinary skills for young people were in decline and not widely taught in school.

Camden Allard, a 21-year-old college student in Seattle, has made several TikTok recipes: bread recipes, the feta and tomato pasta that broke the internet recently, sundries, cinnamon rolls, and the quesadilla neighborhood.

“TikTok videos are great to watch because I can get the general information about a recipe in about a minute – like what it does, the ingredients, how to cook it,” he said. “I can quickly tell if it’s something I’d be interested in.”

Allard, who has been cooking for about eight years, said he enjoys making meals with his girlfriend and family, and TikTok made it easy for them to expand their repertoire.

“The quarantine made life boring and repetitive as we stayed home and new meals to try have created a stir,” he said. “That made dinner less of a nuisance and more exciting.”


Amanda Lee Myers in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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