How Celebrity Chefs Really Feel About All Those Gross Food 'Hacks'
Jul 26, 2023
TikTok has become an unexpected hub of education on the internet — or at least inventive ideas around everyday activities. Beyond the viral dance challenges, there is a world of life hacks, recipes, and intriguing ideas to make your life easier... Or at least tastier! But then there's the weird side of TikTok, a place where sink chickens and toaster steaks live that makes you feel like you're coming down with food poisoning just by watching the video.
Whether it's a TikTok food hack you've secretly wanted to try or one that's so gross you can't help but watch, there's something deeply satisfying about seeing professional chefs watch and react to some of the weirdest viral food hacks that the social media platform has produced. Here are some of our favorite celebrity reactions to viral TikTok videos, including world-renowned chefs Padma Lakshmi, Gordon Ramsay, and Guy Fieri. Find out what hacks work, what don't, and which ones could potentially burn your house down!
Sink chicken is precisely what it sounds like — and it's exactly as unsanitary as it sounds. According to succhefful's TikTok video, you put raw chicken in your sink, then turn your faucet to the hottest setting, and let it run. Flip the chicken over to heat its other side. Allegedly, the water will cook the chicken and you'll end up with a "pretty much guaranteed perfect medium rare" chicken breast.
When "Top Chef" judge and host of "Taste the Nation" Padma Lakshmi saw this TikTok hack, she wrote, "This gives me the chills" in a now-deleted Instagram post (via Mashed). Honestly, same. Succhefful didn't even bother putting the raw chicken on a plate first. The meat was just dropped directly into the sink. Maybe it's to cut down on dirty dishes, which you won't have time to clean up anyway while you're waiting in Urgent Care to get treated for that salmonella infection!
This food hack isn't unsanitary, but it's nevertheless earned Gordon Ramsay's ire. The Michelin-starred chef is notorious for his blunt — and loud — critiques. Recently, he gave the public his feedback on multiple TikTok food hacks in a Cooking Spot YouTube video. One of his least favorite hacks centered on using a meat grinder to turn cheap steak into fake Wagyu. In the video, TikTok user @buoyboys claims you can make an imitation Wagyu steak with cheaper beef and a meat grinder.
How? First, chop up the cheap steak and feed it through the meat grinder. Next, mix the ground beef with gelatin and salt. Now, divide the mixture into even portions and form each one into the shape of a steak. Sous vide the fake steaks until cooked to your preferred doneness. Finish them on the grill et voila! The TikTok video alleges that you'll have a Wagyu-like steak.
At the sous vide step, Ramsay said, "That looks like my grandad's colostomy bag." Apart from that, it was a lot of "no" and "what the f***?" throughout the rest of the process. One problem with this hack is it doesn't address what makes Wagyu special. Select breeds of Japanese cattle are known for their extra high-fat content, which lends Wagyu meat its incredible marbling and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Using cheaper beef without that marbling means your "steak" will be missing the vital element that gives Wagyu its distinctive flavor and texture.
It's always a great feeling when you discover a new recipe that's delicious but also low in calories. According to Gordon Ramsay, this low-carb bell pepper sandwich is not one of those recipes. TikTok user @myhealthydish posted a video showing her audience how to make this quick and low-carb lunch.
It starts with an orange bell pepper that's been sliced in half and seeded. This pepper takes the place of bread in this (so-called) sandwich. She smears the bell pepper with cream cheese, piles on some spinach, sprinkles it with everything bagel seasoning, and stacks some deli turkey slices. Then, she places the other bell pepper half on top and eats it like a sandwich, squirting mustard on top for some extra pizazz. "That is not a healthy sandwich," Ramsay said in a TikTok duet where the celebrity chef reacted to the video. "That there is an idiot sandwich."
While the ingredients themselves work together, commenters on the original video pointed out that it would probably taste better if the whole thing was grilled. Others noted that it technically isn't a sandwich without bread. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a sandwich is two slices of bread with a filling in between them. Also, it states that some sandwiches only have one slice of bread and even grants the title to sandwiches made with biscuits, sliced buns, or cake. But bell pepper? That didn't make the cut.
Bobby Flay, the celebrity chef and face of the long-running cooking competition show "Beat Bobby Flay," joined actress Drew Barrymore on the "Drew Barrymore Show" to test out a couple of TikTok's food hacks. While he approved of the can opener trick — where you position the blade on the outside of the can — he was less impressed by the viral pasta strainer hack.
In a video, TikTok user @athomewithshannon shows viewers a method for draining pasta water. You nest the strainer inside the pot and then just dump the water into the sink. The strainer holds the pasta in place while the water pours out. It's meant to be an easier technique than the standard method of setting the strainer in your sink and pouring the pasta and its water into it. But Bobby Flay was not impressed. "I'm not into it," Flay said. "I want to see where my hot water is going at all times." With the strainer inside the pot, the boiling hot pasta water can end up spilling over the sides or splashing out from places you don't expect.
In a Food Network video, viewers learn a method for hard boiling an entire carton of eggs using an instant pot. How? Crack the eggs into a greased cake pan. Pour water into your instant pot. Place the cake pan full of eggs in the water. Cook it on high pressure for nine minutes. What comes out is 12 eggs that have fused together into a single, round hard-boiled disc.
It certainly doesn't look too appetizing! Guy Fieri was so shaken by the thing he just shook his head in horrified disapproval during the Food Network's reaction video. To be fair, the celebrity chef has a well-known hatred for eggs. In an interview with MyRecipes' Extra Crispy magazine, Fieri said the hatred can be traced back to a bad-boiled egg he ate when he was 10 years old. It was overcooked so that the yolk became chalky and unappetizing. Showing him a loaf made entirely of hard-boiled eggs was maybe not the right call. But to the egg loaf creator's credit, it does look like an easier way to prep a bunch of boiled eggs for an egg salad.
In a round of smash or pass posted by People magazine on Facebook, Guy Fieri reacted to a few other TikTok food hacks and viral recipes — including Hot Cheetos macaroni and cheese and ramen lasagna. But a dish that didn't make the cut was pancake cereal. Fieri saw approximately one second of the video before saying, "No. Pass."
Pancake cereal went viral on TikTok during the pandemic with multiple users posting their versions of the recipe. The basic concept is that you whip up some pancake batter and then cook a bunch of little dime-sized mini pancakes. Dump those in a bowl and pour some syrup and milk over them. Grab a spoon and eat it like a bowl of cereal. While some versions of the viral food trend look edible, the thought of trying to cook dozens of little pancakes seems overly tedious. You'll have to flip each individual one and do so before they burn to a crisp! You're bound to end up with a few over-cooked or scorched pieces that won't be as fluffy as a good pancake should be.
Vincenzo, the Italian Chef from the "Italian chef reacts" videos, has endured dozens of embarrassing attempts at cooking Italian recipes. He makes no attempt to sugarcoat his feelings about what cooks are doing wrong. But one of the worst dishes he's ever had to watch was a questionable take on macaroni and cheese by @texykitchen1.
What began as a face of disappointment quickly turned to revulsion in the chef's reaction video. He watched the TikTok user sprinkle raisins over the partially-baked macaroni and cheese before putting it back to finish baking. The caption on his reaction video makes his final verdict on raisin macaroni and cheese clear, "I believe the husband left her after he ate this."
The existence of raisin mac and cheese sparked uproar across the internet when the video debuted. But we also have to point out that the no-boil pasta bake hack the TikTok user tries here has some faults. While you don't have to pre-cook your pasta if it's going to bake inside a sauce, it will take longer to bake because you have to add the pasta cook time. When you pre-boil, you can let the pasta cook while you prep everything else. The total cook time will be shorter and you'll never have to worry about accidentally biting into a bit of uncooked pasta.
Uncle Roger from the popular YouTube videos by Nigel NG has seen his fair share of bad cooking videos. But one that will haunt you for weeks is the "Getti Spaghetti" made by TikTok user @Gettishow. In a YouTube video where Uncle Roger reacts to different TikTok food trends and hacks, he struggles to understand most of the Getti spaghetti tutorial's purpose.
The cook starts the video by placing a bundle of dry spaghetti in the middle of a raw ground beef patty. She then folds the patty around them and cooks the dry spaghetti-filled patties on a griddle. "Oh my god, she's still going," Uncle Roger says. She transfers the cooked hamburger rolls containing the still uncooked spaghetti into a casserole dish and adds assorted veggies and seasonings. But nothing can prepare him — or any of us — for the moment she brings out a box of Nerds and carefully presses individual candy pieces into the meat.
She says the candy will release its sugars as it bakes. We want to believe this is one of those "so crazy it just might work" cooking tricks. Let's not forget that a little sugar in a dry rub helps create a caramelized crust on the meat. But the nerds are still there when she takes a bite at the end of the video, so it doesn't look like any caramelizing happened here.
TikTok user @itsmeju1iette went viral after attempting to cook a steak in her toaster. She plunks raw steaks into both slots on a standard toaster and pushes the lever down. The video cuts to suspiciously perfect steaks being pulled from the toaster.
In an Insider interview, Michelin-starred chef Brad Carter said the cooking method was "all kinds of wrong." Carter explained that the cooking method doesn't work because it would let the precious juices from the steak drip down into the toaster. Not only would you likely end up with a dry steak, but you could also end up with a safety hazard! A New Zealand man found that out the hard way. When he tried to replicate the technique, his house went up in flames! If you want an easier way to cook steak than grilling or pan-searing, try sous vide. It takes about as much active work to put a steak in a bag and let it sit in a pot of hot water as it does to put them in a toaster. Plus, the chances of your house catching on fire are much lower!
Another TikTok food hack that was painful for Chef Brad Carter to watch was the ground beef rinse video from TikTok user @eemilydharperr. (The original post has been deleted but you can see it in this duet from @simplyfoodbyty.) After cooking ground beef in a pan, the cook dumps the meat in a strainer to drain its excess grease. She then rinses the ground beef under the faucet.
The Michelin-starred chef told Insider that this method washes away the flavor. The fat in meat is not only important for texture. It also helps enhance the meat's beefy flavor. He also pointed out that the liquid you see in the pan as you cook ground beef is not just grease but a mixture of fat and water.
What looks like excessive grease at first will reduce with a little more cooking time as the water portion evaporates. But even if you want to rinse every last bit of flavorful fat off of your ground beef, Carter says that doing it in the sink like that is a bad idea. He notes that pouring beef fat down your drain is a recipe for clogged pipes. So if you absolutely insist on rinsing your beef, do it over a bowl to catch the runoff. Let the fat cool and harden. Afterward, you can scrape the fat into your trash.
Susur Lee is a Canadian celebrity chef who rose to fame after finishing in second place on season two of "Top Chef: Masters." In a YouTube video titled "Iron Chef Dad Reacts," Lee tries his best to keep an open mind while his son shows him bizarre TikTok cooking hacks.
But when he saw the video where @thekatkurtis makes Rice Krispie treats with Hot Cheetos instead of Rice Krispie cereal, he struggled to stay calm. "So f****** gross," he says as she tops the Hot Cheeto treats with Nutella. While the TikTok user insists it's delicious and Lee's son says the TikTok hack is popular, Lee double downs on his unfavorable verdict.
We get where he's coming from — especially his argument about how unhealthy all that sugar and salt is to eat. But it kind of seems like it could work. Merging hot foods with sweet elements is a time-honored tradition, which gave us tasty concoctions like mango con chile, jalapeño jam, spicy hot chocolate, and honey mustard.