If you’re addicted to watching Claire whip up gourmet Twinkies and Brad ferment garlic while you eat microwaved pasta in your pyjamas, then this is the list for you.
First the world was given The Beatles, the cast of Friends, the Paris, Nicole, Britney and Lohan era, One Direction and Zayn, the Kardashians and BLACKPINK. But then, just when we thought we had enough of ensemble casts and groups to crush on, the YouTube algorithm blessed us with the Bon Appétit crew.
For those who have been living under a rock without wifi, the Bon Appétit YouTube channel (BA for short) is a collection of personality-driven cooking videos mainly filmed in their beautifully lit, trendy New York City test kitchen. Every day or so we get to watch videos featuring a chef showing us in incredible detail how to make things like the perfect chocolate chip cookie or fermented yuzu rind.
It’s the perfect fodder for millennial foodies – people like me who want to pretend they know everything about food while they eat their microwaved instant pasta and will never be able to afford a Le Creuset dutch oven in cerise red. The race to send your friend the latest BA video link first in the group chat is a daily win, and even better if you can reply with, “Oh, so cool eh – watched it already last night,” which will reward you with a glorious smug satisfaction that you can carry with you for the rest of the day.
And so, because we love to rank famous people to reflect our own personalities, I decided to rank the cast of BA with the help of a few friends so I don’t get all the blame.
In this list I’m including the core cast and a couple of regular contributors – I’ll leave out people who just appear to eat and judge, and the film crew. Here they are, from worst to best.
I hate to begin on a negative note but I absolutely cannot stand Carla. She’s incredibly talented and makes delicious-looking food but why does she seem so irritated that I don’t know anything? It feels like she HATES that she has to explain how to do things that she finds so simple and what is common sense to her, like we are all idiots. It’s like Carla is the super mom who spent hours slaving over the stove making pasta e fagioli but her kids just want KFC for dinner.
What others think:
“I really like Carla!… she’s been making videos for BA for 4 years… and the first to make the more relaxed, funny, candid style videos that we have come to love so much.” @DavidBrynParker (once followed by Bon Appétit’s Brad Leone)
I gotta be honest here, I haven’t been able to sit through an entire Molly episode. I was delighted to find out in the ‘Perfect Pizza’ series that her episode was with Carla so I could skip it entirely. They hosted the ‘cheese’ episode and my lactose intolerant self was more than happy to skip it. Although jokes on me, Molly ended up replacing one of the hosts in the ‘toppings’ episode so I had to watch her for a few minutes after all.
What others think:
“I really like Molly largely cause I enjoy a bubbly personality and I reckon her cringe jokes are cute. More importantly though I really like how she explains the reasons why she does things when cooking and draws from her experience working in fancy restaurants.” @Pearllittle
Andy used to be higher on my list, but as time has gone by his sleepy delivery and holey shirts just don’t do it for me anymore. But his food is fantastic. I’ve never seen Persian dishes before in mainstream media and seeing Andy create the food so lovingly kinda makes me wonder now if I have listed him way too far down the bottom…
Everybody hates Chris. Or that’s what it seems like in the test kitchen – he’s always in the background and always giving suggestions (let’s not forget the battle of tempered chocolate vs Claire). No one seems to REALLY want him around until they need his super palate.
My argument for Chris is that he’s not there for the theatrics or fame. I don’t think he feels food nostalgia or has any cultural dish that sits near to his heart. He might be a robot? But I do think he just genuinely loves food and I think he knows it better than anyone in the crew. If you’re still on the fence with Chris, watch the Beef Wellington episode, the most incredible display of his skills. My favourite Chris moment was Claire asking, “Hey Chris, wanna taste something disgusting?” Chris: “… Yes.”
Priya is one of the newer contributors to Bon Appétit and she’s got a real effortlessly cool, unaffected demeanour, literally my favourite type of personality for video and TV stuff. My favourite episode is the one where she hangs out with Brad and they make yoghurt – another recipe that I will never cook but talk to my friends like I know everything about.
What others think:
“I love that her family has amazing cooking innovations and she brings it to the world. Every recipe is like ‘my mum/dad found out this new way to do something’ and she just does it! Also the FaceTiming, just beautiful family love.” – Jack and Hugo, Wellington
Like the opposite of Chris, Rick is an incredibly emotional cook. His recipes and warmth makes you feel like he’s the father figure ready to feed you after a long day. You might think you don’t eat that, but for Rick you’ll swallow anything. Rick often wears nail polish in his videos and really expensive-looking paisley shirts – definitely the best dressed in the BA kitchen and I wish there were more Rick videos.
The Brad thirst is real. If it isn’t his beanied smiley face, garbled nonsensical words or height that does it for you, his interactions with the other members of the kitchen will literally heart eyes emoji you.
‘It’s Alive!’ changed the fermentation game. The jars of rotting cabbage and pickled eggs in my parents’ house are now COOL to white people, thanks to Brad.
What others think:
“Nothing else whips my egg whites into stiff peaks quite like seeing Brad Leone in his signature beanie and flannel shirt. He’s a tall glass of wourder – and I’m absolutely parched. Brad is definitely the daddy of the test kitchen.” – Luke Harries, Patron of the Arts
Claire is by far the most likeable, talented and relatable person in the BA kitchen. We were all won over by her ‘Gourmet Makes’ series. When it was announced that she was leaving, many of us virtually weeped and speculated “Is she getting her own Netflix series?” but alas, she came back! Now she’s giving us more ‘Gourmet Makes’, each new ep with a considerably longer duration than the last. We all love Claire, but do we love her enough to crowdfund a flu jab for her so she can stop sticking garlic cloves in her ears? Sis is ALWAYS SICK.
What others think:
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“Claire Saffitz is my spirit animal. Her brain is the perfect balance between left and right, she has that Rogue-from-X-men stress-induced white streak in her hair, and she always wants to give us three-quarters of the way through a recipe. If you can’t relate to those things, get out of my kitchen.” Hamish Russell, Chelsea’s Hottest Home Baker contestant 2010
I love Gaby SO MUCH. She is the tape and glue and blood and bone of the kitchen. She is currently the test kitchen manager, organising, ordering and keeping everything running smoothly AND very quickly becoming the most popular BA presenter. She’s one of those people who just radiates sunshine, like you can literally feel her happiness radiating through your iPhone screen and you cry inside wishing you had someone like her in your life. I would give up my boyfriend in a heartbeat to be in Gaby’s inner social circle. Gaby is my top BA personality.
The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.