There are few people as beloved online as the staff of the Bon Appétit test kitchen. Nearly a month ago, in the Before Quarantine Times, a pal and I talked over a tier list at a party, back when people were still allowed to congregate in groups. (Claire Saffitz, the wildly charming host of their flagship YouTube series, Gourmet Makes: S+.) When businesses across the country began closing their offices and asking — then ordering — their employees to work from home, my second thought was: what’ll happen to the Bon App YouTube channel?
Luckily, we have an answer in the form of a fun story from Madison Malone Kircher over at Vulture: the show will go on. However, Gourmet Makes will take a brief hiatus because why would you have a dehydrator at home? Here’s Kircher:
BA has, according to Duckor [Condé Nast’s head of programming], about six to eight weeks of content pre-filmed at any given time, but the team was concerned those videos could feel tonally out of sync with the current global climate. “Knowing that so many people all over the country are home and finding themselves in a similar situation as Brad, Claire, Molly, Sohla, and everybody in the test kitchen, not creating content that feels reflective of that felt like it would be a huge disservice to our fans,” Duckor explains. They set to work figuring out how to film videos from the chef’s home kitchen. Originally, the team thought they’d be able to send small crews to each house; as the coronavirus pandemic evolved, that morphed into solo shoots with an entirely remote production team.
The story of the Bon App staff adapting to our changed circumstances will feel familiar to anyone who’s tried to devise a work-from-home strategy from scratch; going forward, test kitchen shoots will be conducted from home kitchens and will feel, as Kircher put it, “familiar to test-kitchen fans, if a little pared down.”
And who isn’t feeling that right now? I’m just glad they’ll be posting more stuff. There is a business incentive here, too: as Kircher reports, video views of the Bon Appétit YouTube channel are up a full 15 percent since March 17th, compared to 2020’s averages. That means we’ll get more healing content to consume during our long, global nightmare. It’ll help me ride it out, at least.