Reading American food magazine Bon Appétit is like shopping for jewelry. Just when you think you've chosen which delicious-looking dish to make for dinner tonight, you flip the page, and there is yet another perfect plate that makes you question yourself. But, when you reach the end of the mag (or the jewelry counter), there's always that one perfect recipe (or ruby) that you have to go back to. In the case of Bon Appétit, that perfect item is probably a meal created by Brad Leone, the test kitchen manager of the magazine.

You Can Cook, Says Youtube 

Although there are many cooking channels to watch on Youtube, Bon Appétit's content is especially popular amongst food fanatics. And within the Bon Appétit Youtube team is one man whose face is recognizable by anyone familiar with the "trending" page: Brad Leone. You might even say that his show, It's Alive with Brad, is what keeps the food section of Youtube ALIVE.

It's Alive With Brad

It's Alive with Brad breathes new life into the process of cultivating fermented food. Fermentation of food, also known as lacto-fermentation, is a process in which bacteria converts sugar into lactic acid. This lactic acid is what makes fermented food taste tart and tangy (think yogurt or kombucha).

The idea of growing bacteria in your food may sound scary and gross. But Leone's show breaks this misconception and fear. He demonstrates that, when processed correctly, bacteria in food can be delicious and even provides unique health benefits. Leone's show awakens a category of food that's not well represented in mainstream cooking shows. And it's not just the show's mission that distinguishes Leone from other chefs; his personality makes him a fun watch and an even funnier listen.  

Brad Leone - The Funniest Chef Around

Leone is a refreshing personality on Youtube because he adds his own personal touch to his videos, cracking jokes as often as he does egg yolks, and constantly mispronouncing common words like water. (People are so obsessed with his easy-going personality that there's a Reddit fan page dedicated to him.) His chummy relationship with his producer and camera man, "Old Vincent, Old Vinny Bo Binny" adds even more humor to his videos. It makes viewers feel like they could be his friend, too. In this way, watching Leone's show feels less like a cooking lesson, and more like an adventure into the untapped world of fermented foods. 

Leone's videos are also just downright entertaining. Chris Zimmerman of Wayward described the show best when he said it's "part cooking show, part travel show, part Pop-Up Video and part continuous blooper reel—all delivered in a thick upstate New Jersey accent." Unlike most cooking shows, which simply depict a step-by-step demonstration on how to make a dish, It's Alive focuses on the candid experience of cooking. Leone likes to take his audience around the globe: to Alaska for crabs or Ecuador for cocoa. During his interview with Wayward, he explained, "I like being able to tell people’s food stories and show the passion and hard work that goes into what we just buy in stores." And even when he's in a more traditional setting (aka the kitchen), Leone never fails to break the norms with his random stories and playful quarrels with his coworkers (he is pictured below, at right). 

Leone's charming personality and his show's unconventional angle have helped him build a community of food lovers. He often encourages his viewers to take their own spin on his recipes and share their creations with him "in the 'ole comments down below" (as Leone says). He makes the audience feel part of a community, which is not only fun, but also encouraging for beginner cooks.

Leone's effortless combination of entertainment and education, as well as his unique take on an otherwise dry genre distinguish him from other chefs on Youtube. I hope that his popularity will encourage other cooks to be more personal in their videos. The future of food television is in entertaining education, and Leone is certainly a trailblazer in this regard.