It takes a lot to figure out the TikTok algorithm. You have to work your way through the tricks and hidden platform secrets before one of your videos goes viral, but once you’ve figured it out, it opens up a whole new ball game of possibilities. But TikTok isn’t just a land of viral dance routines and catchy songs, you can also stumble upon some really interesting and talented individuals, and today we want to steer your attention away from the bizarre and into the world of TikTok chefs.
From classic accounts like Yotam Ottolenghi to part-timers unearthing the secrets behind the best desi food, here’s to follow on TikTok for some foodie inspo.
1. Thomas Straker
Best for: Special occasion meals
In his iconic exposé of the culinary world, Anthony Bourdain once simplified why restaurant food tastes so good: they use a shocking amount of butter. Straker must have taken note, as in his TikTok bio he refers to himself as the “CEO of all things butter”, which gives a hint of what kind of food to expect from this page. Your perception for what butter is and can be will be irrevocably changed forever.
It’s not the account to follow if you’re looking to start a health kick – indulgence is the name of the game. Instead think tuna tostadas and parmesan potato galletes – this might be the perfect account to turn to if you want to impress a date with luxury cooking skills.
Best for: authentic desi cooking
I don’t know about you, but for a long time my typical attempts at cooking eastern cuisine at home was reminiscent of Principal Skinner from The Simpsons lamenting his inability to find a Vietnamese fish stew from his past in America – “they just can’t get the spices right”.
Which is why I use cheat-codes like Rootedinspice’s page, who thankfully shares (some) of the secrets that go into making Desi food taste so damn good, which means I no longer have to throw in tesco-brand hot curry powder, close my eyes and hope for salvation.
3. Matty Matheson
Best for: Madcap recipes that also taste great
While watching The Bear, do you also love just how seriously they take the food? It’s not merely a backdrop to the drama, the culture surrounding food is central to the show’s core. Part of the reason it feels so authentic is they actually hire people with experience in the industry. Case in point Matty Matheson, a former chef who now plays the role of fan-favourite handyman Fak.
Previously executive chef of Toronto restaurant Parts & Labour, Matheson now splits his time between The Bear, his many subsequent restaurant ventures and creating slightly chaotic but undeniably delicious recipes on Tik tok. We’re just waiting for him to bring on Jeremy Allen White (in character as Carmy, of course) as a guest chef.
Best for: Entertaining videos and great recipes
Just try and tell us you aren’t interested in a 77-year old grandma with a Tiktok recipe series entitled ‘Bussin or nah’. What started as a lockdown hobby has ballooned into an online behemoth, with 17.3 million followers definitively declaring Cooking with Lynja’s page bussin’.
Featuring recipes inspired by her Japanese-American heritage, and distinctive, manic and inventive videography from her son, these recipe videos are entertaining enough to watch on their own. It helps that they taste great, too.
Best for: Taking your dishes to the next level with step-by-step guides
It is amazing how small adjustments in home cooking can absolutely transform your results. Discovering the miracle of pasta-water, slicing garlic rather than squishing it through a metal instrument, throwing salt over just about anything while it cooks – all this is simple, but so often overlooked.
For these and many more actually useful cooking tips, look no further than Notanothercooking show, or Stephen Cusato. An Italian-American former professional sandwich maker, it stands to reason his pasta and sandwich videos have changed my life (not exaggerating).
Best for: Speedy, flavourful recipes
You know him, you love him, but you might not have known that one of London’s favourite adopted chef’s has a very active Tik Tok account. Of course, era defining salads are featured – like this tomato and pomegranate number – but it’s also filled with a host of useful cooking and presentation tips.
Ottolenghi himself gets in front of the camera regularly, but he also features a range of chefs from his restaurants and test kitchen, so variety is guaranteed.
7. Kelly Ruben
Best for: Breakdowns of classic dishes
If you didn’t already know the TikTok food scene was a big deal, now Michelin starred chefs are even getting involved. Ruben trained in some of the best kitchens in the world, before going out on her own in a very 21st century way. Rather than opening her own restaurant, she instead launched an online food empire as well as working as an exclusive private chef to celebrities.
Luckily, we can see how she does it through TikTok, where she breaks down everything from French onion soup to spicy rigatoni alla vodka.
8. Owen Han
Best for: Sandwiches, sandwiches and more sandwiches
Is there a food with more contrast between the high end and low end of the spectrum than a sandwich? On one hand you have the sad, perpetually wilted meal-deal BLT, and on the other you have Owen Han’s tik tok. When an account settles upon a niche, that’s always a good sign, and this one has decided to dedicate itself to perfecting the art of the sandwich.
Grilled ribeye, jalapeño popper, cajun chicken, crispy Thai – the options are endless and delicious. This page could change how you view lunch forever more.