How the Star of Binging with Babish Went from YouTube Star to Cookbook Author
Andrew Rea, the creator and host of the popular YouTube channel Binging with Babish, didn’t set out to turn his cooking videos into a career. Really, he just wanted to answer the question of, “what does the food in film and television actually taste like?” Almost 50 videos and more than a million subscribers later, Rea has uncovered which on-screen dishes taste the best and with his new cookbook Eat What You Watch, you can now make those recipes at home.
The book includes 40 recipes, ranging from the birthday cake from Sixteen Candles to New York-style pastrami from When Harry Met Sally, with each mirroring, or at least drawing inspiration from, one of the most famous on-screen dishes of all time. While Rea, a former videographer-for-hire and completely self-taught cook, previously published some of these recipes on his website, he saw the book as a natural extension of the show and as a way to further connect with his ever-growing fan base. “So many people wanted to try these recipes for themselves,” he says. “I get emailed everyday asking for recipes from different episodes and it only seemed natural to put those in cookbook form.”
Along with the recipes themselves, most of which Rea developed himself, and the top 10 Oscar-worthy food performances that are scattered throughout the book, Eat What You Watch includes Rea’s signature wit and casual demeanor, giving the book an approachable feel, much like his popular show. “I didn’t want the book to be as cut and dry as some cookbooks are and I was consciously bringing a bit of myself to the descriptions and different parts of the text.”
Beyond being entertaining and informative, though, Rea’s goal with the new book is to push readers out of their comfort zones, something that he himself does each week on Binging with Babish. “Every episode I’m trying something that I never would’ve otherwise tried,” he says. “The book and the show are both tools to help get people out of their comfort zones in the same way I like to think I have for myself.”
Rea elected to leave his least favorite recipes from his show out of the book, like Charlie’s milk steak from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, but he did include arguably the most labor-intensive dish that he’s ever produced on his show: timpano from Big Night. “The timpano took something like 14 hours to shoot,” he says. “All of its parts are familiar—homemade pasta, Italian red sauce, meatballs—but it’s just the act of putting it together and cooking it into its final form is the real challenge.” While you might want to work your way up to timpano, the book also includes simpler recipes, like the pasta aglio e olio from Chef that you can make in just a few minutes instead of spending more than half a day in the kitchen.
Eat What You Watch is the physical culmination of almost a year's worth of work for Rea, in which he cooked a vast selection of dishes, with everything from the Inglorious Bastards-inspired Viennese strudel to the Big Kahuna burger in Pulp Fiction. It’s this range that Rea hopes will inspire people who might not otherwise experiment much with food to try something new. “I really can’t think of another cookbook with that kind of diversity of recipes,” he says. “My hope is that people will sometimes pick it up off the table and try something that maybe they haven’t tried before.”
Eat What You Watch will be published on October 3rd and is available for pre-order now.