Home cooks find antidote to blandness on TikTok videos

Home cooks find antidote to blandness on TikTok videos



From sourdough to feta pasta, much of the last year at home has been food-focused. And one driver of these delectable fads is the social media platform TikTok.

Many people have embraced cooking during the pandemic, when they’ve been home, bored, looking to try something new. TikTok was ready to fill the gap as a foodie paradise, and has seen more than 15 billion food posts.

“It’s my bedtime routine,” Lori Jackson, 54, of Lynn, Massachusetts, said of watching TikTok cooking videos. “I’ve taken ideas I’ve seen on there and made them.”

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

Heal has a distinct baritone, an English accent, and has garnered about a million followers in the six months he’s been posting cooking videos. He isn’t a chef by trade, though he learned some cooking skills when working in the French Alps as a teen.

“From then on, I have been a huge cooking enthusiast and loved being in the kitchen,” Heal said.

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

Tri Phan of Arlington, Virginia, has amassed 1.5 million followers since he began posting workout and healthy cooking videos in November. The 23-year-old, who is working on his master’s degree 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 first started, it was me wanting to share with the world Vietnamese cuisine, Vietnamese food,” he said. “Now I want to take this TikTok further to really help people learn to cook...

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