Move over, Nigella! Jog on, Jamie! There is a host of bright young chefs in town, tickling the tastebuds of millions and poised to become the next generation of household names in cookery.
Combined, their cookery videos have been watched an astonishing 30 billion times and counting (and the number of followers they have certainly puts Jamie Oliver’s 46,700 in the shade).
For those over 25, TikTok may seem baffling. But these ambitious youngsters are primed to launch themselves beyond the confines of social media and into the national consciousness, aiming for book deals, restaurant empires and glittering TV careers.
Among them are professionally trained patissiers and chefs from Michelin-star restaurants. Here, SARAH RAINEY introduces the trendy cooks who are shaking things up in the kitchen — and shares their recipes for you to try.
The potato queen’s mashing record
Poppy O’Toole, 27, @poppycooks, 1.5 million followers
With her no-nonsense cooking and focus on technical skills, Birmingham-born Poppy is the millennials’ answer to Delia Smith.
Having lost her job as a sous chef at a members’ club last March, she was introduced to TikTok by her younger siblings and went viral with her very first video: a recipe for hash browns.
The potato queen’s mashing record: Poppy O’Toole, 27, @poppycooks, 1.5 million followers
She has already turned those online ‘likes’ into a money-spinning book deal: her debut cookbook, The Food You Need, is out in September.
COOKING EXPERIENCE: She skipped university to start out as an apprentice at Michelin-star restaurant Purnell’s in Birmingham before working as a pastry chef. She later became junior sous chef at all-women members’ club AllBright.
KNOWN FOR: Her self-confessed love of spuds has earned her the nickname The Potato Queen, with recipes including crunchy confit potatoes.
She can also be found whipping up harissa-spiced salmon, fennel sausage pasta and sweet treats including Bakewell tarts.
SHE SAYS: ‘When I lost my job, I decided to start cooking for myself, rather than other people. Using TikTok to get my recipes out into the world has been a silver lining to a horrible year.
‘I shoot all my videos on my iPhone in the East London flat I share with my boyfriend. I thought I’d spend my life working in kitchens but I now want to continue making content online or on TV.’
SIGNATURE DISH: Lemony garlic roast potatoes. Peel and quarter four to six potatoes, put them in a pan of cold salted water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. Place a tray in the oven with 50ml oil. Drain the spuds and leave to steam dry with a tea towel over them for ten minutes. Toss them so they break down a little.
Put the potatoes on the hot tray and cook for 30 minutes. Mix together the juice of a lemon, 50ml chicken stock, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp fine semolina, a clove of garlic, minced, and salt and pepper.
Take the spuds out of the oven and turn it up to 200c/390f/gas 6. Pour the lemony liquid over the potatoes, mix and return them to the oven for 30 minutes. Season and sprinkle with parsley.
A feast for all your senses: Sam Way, 22, @samseats, 2.1 million followers
A feast for all your senses
Sam Way, 22, @samseats, 2.1 million followers
Sam, from Oxford, only started his channel in December. His 60-second recipes have hypnotic sound effects.
COOKING EXPERIENCE: Self-taught but, with dishes such as duck confit cappelletti, lobster roll and gyoza dumplings, you wouldn’t know it. He quit his job in property last September.
KNOWN FOR: Recipes influenced by India, France, Italy and Japan.
HE SAYS: ‘Both my mum and dad cook so I learned a lot of skills from them. One day I’d love to do cookbooks, cookery shows and pop-up food trucks.’
SIGNATURE DISH: Crispy chicken wings. Mix together 300ml buttermilk, 1 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp pickle juice and salt and pepper in a bowl. Add 2kg chicken wings and leave to marinate for at least two hours.
Mix together 100g plain flour, 100g cornstarch, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper in a bowl. Remove wings from marinade and toss them in the flour mixture.
Heat a deep pan of vegetable oil to 175c/350f and fry the wings in batches for six minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Season, drizzle with sauce and serve with blue cheese dip.
Brilliance on a small budget
Nathan Bates, 22, @neyyfun, 336,800 followers
Brilliance on a small budget: Nathan Bates, 22, @neyyfun, 336,800 followers
Nathan hails from Yorkshire and specialises in fuss-free, family-friendly food, with occasional high-end dishes, which he cooks on a two-ring hob in his one-bedroom London flat.
COOKING EXPERIENCE: Serious culinary pedigree. Having moved to the capital aged 16 to join a catering course, he honed his skills working at Roux at the Landau, in London’s Marylebone.
KNOWN FOR: His Northern charm, slick video editing and making fine dining accessible to young amateur cooks.
HE SAYS: ‘My audience is mainly student-based, around the 16 to 25 range, and I try to teach people how to cook tasty food, in their own kitchens, with no stress.’
SIGNATURE DISH: Green pasta. Finely dice a shallot, a clove of garlic, a courgette, a head of broccoli (stalk too) and a handful of parsley.
Pour a glug of oil into a hot frying pan and saute the onions and garlic.
Add the rest of the ingredients with a knob of butter.
Cook the pasta in a separate pan of salted water. Season the vegetables, pour in some cream, frozen peas, a few tablespoons of creme fraiche and a cupful of reserved cooking water from the pasta.
Add the pasta to the veg, stir in plenty of grated cheese and — if needed — more water to loosen the sauce.
Serve topped with cheese, herbs and pepper.
Indulgent sweet treats to get you through lockdown
Eloise Head, 27, @fitwaffle, 1.4 million followers
Eloise, from Hampshire, started out in the fitness industry. ‘Clean eating’ and restrictive diets in her early 20s led her to research nutrition and how to enjoy foods in moderation.
Her super-indulgent, calorie-laden bakes — from Oreo cheesecake to Mars Bar brownies — have racked up millions of views.
Indulgent sweet treats to get you through lockdown: Eloise Head, 27, @fitwaffle, 1.4 million followers
COOKING EXPERIENCE: She learned to bake desserts with her great aunt, an ‘amazing cook’, then, after studying law at college, became a personal trainer. In 2019 she quit her job to focus on social media and started posting restaurant reviews.
KNOWN FOR: Decadent, delicious desserts, bakes and sweet treats, many of them containing fewer than five ingredients.
SHE SAYS: ‘My recipes are quite the opposite of my past extreme “clean-eating” diet and go against the general social media dieting trends. I am financially in a far better place than I ever could have imagined when I first went into the pandemic as newly self-employed.
‘I have received so many heart-warming messages from people struggling throughout lockdown, baking for the first time.’
SIGNATURE DISH: Choc-chip cookie dough bars. Add 225g softened unsalted butter, 150g light brown sugar and 75g granulated sugar to a bowl and whisk to combine. Crack in two eggs and 2 tsp vanilla extract and mix. Stir in 270g plain flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp salt until just combined. Then add 350g semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Transfer mixture to an 8 in square baking tin lined with greaseproof paper and spread it out.
Add 50g chocolate chips to the top and bake at 160c fan/180c/350f/gas 4 for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the tin, then slice into bars.
Role model for healthy eating
Tyler Butt, 24, @tylerbutt_eats, 337,300 followers
Tyler, from Rugby, Warwickshire, is a cook, nutritionist and motivational life coach rolled into one.
The former model, who was scouted aged 16 and signed to Select, studied business, management and marketing and runs an online nutrition course.
Role model for healthy eating: Tyler Butt, 24, @tylerbutt_eats, 337,300 followers
COOKING EXPERIENCE: Self-taught ‘nutrition coach’. Having tried every diet under the sun, he relies on his experience to educate his followers.
His ethos is all about teaching others how to eat well without depriving themselves of things they like.
KNOWN FOR: Debunking myths about diet, calories and exercise. You won’t find Michelin-worthy meals on his channel; instead, it’s fast-and-easy lunches (tortilla wraps and tuna toasties), ten-minute dinners (stir fries and pizzas) and the odd decadent snack (Nutella croissant).
HE SAYS: ‘My family weren’t ever great at cooking; it was usually packet mixes or whack-it-in-the-oven style frozen foods. When I left home at 19, I decided I was going to like every food and not eat like a classic student. I was also a model, so used food to attempt to get into shape. However, I bounced from diet to diet, one quick fix to another.
‘Early on in the first lockdown I decided to do what I loved: helping people eat better at home. I did a nutrition coaching course and started my TikTok.
‘It has been amazing because it has allowed me to educate hundreds of thousands of people from my phone.’
SIGNATURE DISH: Stuffed peppers. Cut the tops off three peppers, remove seeds, then bake for ten minutes at 200c/400f/gas 6.
Cook 500g lean beef mince in a frying pan until brown with a little oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Add a packet of pre-cooked lentils, a tin of chopped tomatoes and a crumbled beef stock cube, and simmer for a few minutes. Stuff the meat into the peppers and top with feta and parsley. Bake for ten minutes.
From student grub to fine dining — all served up with a charming smile
Hari Beavis, 22, @ haribeavis, 147,500 followers
Glamorous, blonde Oxford student Hari describes herself as a ‘happy foodie’ and combines cooking with viral TikTok challenges, tips on university life and fashion content.
Her light-hearted style involves using a wine bottle as a rolling pin and adding prosecco to spaghetti.
From student grub to fine dining — all served up with a charming smile: Hari Beavis, 22, @ haribeavis, 147,500 followers
Dishes range from ‘student pasta’ costing less than £2 to seafood fettuccine and Earl Grey tea loaf.
COOKING EXPERIENCE: Warwickshire-born Hari started cooking when she was 14, preparing meals for her younger sister while her mum worked late.
She honed her skills by taking a two-week cookery course in preparation for a series of ski seasons. As a solo chalet host, she spent months cooking gourmet meals of up to ten courses for guests.
KNOWN FOR: Alternating high-end fine dining (think chorizo carbonara and summer Pavlova) with budget student recipes, tips on using up leftovers and tours of her university kitchen.
She is not averse to wearing clingy, low-cut outfits, and can often be found dancing alongside her cooking.
SHE SAYS: ‘My style of cooking is very much “just wing it”. I very rarely follow a recipe because cooking to me is experimenting.
‘I don’t think you have to be a skilled cook to make good food — but I do believe you have to put a bit of love into the food you’re making.
‘My dream would be to work as a foodie TV presenter or have my own TV show.’
SIGNATURE DISH: White chocolate and raspberry pancakes. Sieve one cup of plain flour and half a cup of self-raising flour into a bowl. Add 50g caster sugar and 2 tsp baking powder, and whisk to combine.
In a small jug, mix 55g melted butter, one cup of milk and two eggs, and whisk to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix to make a smooth batter. Stir in a packet of white chocolate chips and half a punnet of raspberries.
Melt a knob of butter in a small frying pan and cook spoonfuls of the batter for a few minutes on each side. When they start to bubble, flip them over.
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