chef with john


John Mitzewich—aka Chef John—has produced more than 1,500 cooking videos for Allrecipes. But you might not recognize him on the street. He’s the actor, director, and screenwrit­er whose

hands and voice confidentl­y walk you through techniques.

Meet the man behind the camera.

Also known as: John Mitzewich, 56, of

San Francisco. I grew up in Shortsvill­e,

New York, worked in restaurant­s for years, and have been an instructor at the California Culinary Academy.

My best advice: Home cooks generally try too hard, expect perfection, and forget they’re just supposed to be making something tasty to eat. Relax and never cook scared. Under-salting is also a problem. Why I got into doing food videos: I love to teach and to share my favorite recipes. My approach is to let the food be the star of the show, which is why I stay out of the videos and just do a voice-over. I think this allows the viewer to become more immersed in the recipe. Who I cook for: My wife, Michele. Oh, and there’s also the huge food community on

Obsessions: The Great British Baking Show. Rare talent I possess that no one will pay me for: I can look at a restaurant menu and tell which items are made with leftovers and maybe should be avoided. (The secret?

Just see which items on the lunch menu are chopped-up versions of things on the dinner menu, and vice versa.)

If I could have a superpower, it would be: On-demand invisibili­ty.

My closest thing to an actual superpower: Making people laugh.

What I like most about Allrecipes:

The content comes from real home cooks and not profession­al chefs—besides me, of course. Fascinatin­g fact about me that few people know: As a kid, I wanted to be a weatherman. For my last meal on earth, I want: Roast chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. Kitchen tools I can’t live without:

Bench scraper, metal tongs, Silpats, restaurant-quality sheet pans, sharp knives, and stainless-steel bowls.

In my fridge right now: Not much!

Some leftover spicy tofu and rice. And a bottle of rosé.

I could tell you my secret recipe for: Barbeque sauce. But I won’t.

Food discovery that changed my life:

Thai food. I love the heat and intensity of flavors and textures.

On my bucket list: To eat my way through France.

My favorite sayings: Follow your bliss. And also: Game recognizes game.)

Recent cooking success: Homemade phyllo sheets. [See the video at phyllo-sheets.]

In Chef John’s kitchen, anytime is the right time for a joke. “A hollandais­e can

sense fear,” he quips as he instructs viewers to tackle a velvety egg sauce head-on.

“Regular biscuits are already a perfect thing, and cheese is one of the few things that

can make a perfect thing even more perfect.”

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