Why J. Kenji López-Alt Calls His YouTube Channel An 'Anti-Cooking Show'

For a chef and cookbook author as successful as J. Kenji López-Alt, the fact that he doesn't have his own Food Network show may come as a surprise to his fans. But the truth is that López-Alt wouldn't have it any other way. In an interview with The New Yorker, the respected food writer shared that cooking shows aren't really his style. "I don't like talking to a camera, and I definitely am bad at working off of a script," López-Alt admitted. "But what I am good at is basically just cooking, and talking about it as I cook."

Wanting to share his cooking with the world, López-Alt turned to YouTube. If you haven't yet seen one of his videos on the platform, each is filmed POV-style rather than like a traditional front-facing cooking show. It's for that reason that López-Alt describes his YouTube channel as an "anti-cooking show." Instead of the perfectly staged food shots and high production value that popular food YouTubers like Joshua Weissman and Binging with Babish are known for, López-Alt sticks to off-the-cuff commentary and largely unedited footage.

How does J. Kenji López-Alt film his YouTube videos?

If you feel like you're on FaceTime with J. Kenji López-Alt every time you watch one of his YouTube videos, well, that's exactly the point. The cookbook author accomplishes this effect simply by strapping a GoPro HERO8 Black camera to his head, he shared with GoPro blog The Inside Line. As for the audio, López-Alt doesn't use a microphone, just the one built into his camera.

The concept for his YouTube channel started after using a GoPro while on vacation. When he got home, he decided to keep filming. "It was around 1 a.m. and I was going to cook something, and I thought to myself, 'I wonder what it would look like to film cooking on GoPro,'" López-Alt told The Inside Line.

Since then, the chef hasn't changed his approach. On his channel you'll frequently find late night grilled cheese videos and plenty of footage of him cooking family dinner. It may not be a traditional cooking show, but with millions of subscribers and views per video, it seems people are still eager to watch.