YouTube channels to get you through COVID quarantine

Ken Kellar

You’ve likely run into this situation already: You’re at home on quarantine or self-isolation orders. Try as you might, Netflix and Disney+ just aren’t cutting it today (or you’ve already exhausted everything there is to watch, we’re not here to judge), and you’ve done everything there is to do on your daily Animal Crossing task list. You’ve turned to YouTube, but your go-to channels aren’t releasing new material as quickly as you want them to. What’s a homebound person to do?
The answer is to look for something new! As YouTube remains one of the most accessible and varied places on the internet for user created content across a wide range of skills, interests, subjects and production quality, we’ve put together a series of lists of some bigger and lesser known channels to check out while in self-isolation. Over the next few weeks we’ll try to cover a wide range of topics and video presentation styles. Some of these channels will introduce you to new hobbies, increase your skill levels in others, broaden your knowledge of different subjects, or just keep you entertained in the comforts of your own home.

This week is all about cooking. There’s a reason we use the phrase ‘comfort food.’ One of the few things that almost everyone can get behind, food is something that more and more people seem to be turning to as they face isolation and quarantine. You may not be interested in creating your own sourdough starter, but these channels might give you some fresh new ideas for the kitchen while keeping you entertained all the while.

Binging with Babish
Binging with Babish might be one of the most popular amateur cooking channels on the internet, and for good reason. Host Andrew Rea began his series by attempting to recreate famous recipes from movies, TV shows and video games.
If you’ve seen a dish featured in a screen big or small, there’s a good chance Rea has attempted it.
Rea tries to stick as closely to a given recipe as possible, but in the case of popular items that would otherwise be inedible (see Homer Simpson’s infamous ‘Moon Waffles’) Rea will make them as is, and then follow up with an actually edible version that honours the spirit of the original.
Rea has also had some celebrities take part in his videos including ‘Iron Man’ director and actor Jon Favreau and Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams. Having reached more than 6.5-million subscribers with more than one billion views since he posted the first Binging with Babish video in 2016, Rea has since branched out with videos covering cooking basics in his ‘Basics with Babish’ videos, as well as charitable efforts in his ‘Being with Babish’ series. Affable and witty, Binging with Babish will help you to look at food in film in a whole new light.

Adam Ragusea
Where many cooking shows will tell you the ‘how’ of cooking, Adam Ragusea is much more interested in the ‘why’ of cooking.
This Mercer University journalism professor-turned-YouTube host has been making videos on his channel intermittently since 2010, but a video on making New York-style pizza in December 2018 rocketed his channel to another level.
Previously his videos reached thousands of views, maybe even one hundred thousand, but now his videos are routinely viewed upwards of half a million times, often surpassing his old contents records in a matter of days.
Ragusea eschews rigidly sticking to recipes to advocate a more free-form cooking style at home.
It doesn’t matter what your food looks like, or what techniques you use, he says, as long as you are safe, happy and well-fed by what you’re doing in the kitchen.
Ragusea also puts his journalism training to work by connecting with food scientists and other experts to explain the science and mechanics at work in your food, ranging from topics like ‘how much arsenic is in rice (and what you can do about it)’ to ‘what kind of mozzarella cheese works best for different kinds of pizza.’ Ragusea takes a no-frills approach to cooking that is just as likely to teach you a little something extra in the process.

Alton Brown
Alton Brown will be a familiar face to anyone who’s spent time watching the Food Network.
The longtime host of ‘Good Eats’ has graced television sets for more than 20 years, and has embraced YouTube to continue offering his brand of no-nonsense cooking to the masses. Brown has proven that even as countless individuals are impacted by COVID-19 related shutdowns in recent weeks, necessity remains the mother of invention.
Despite lacking most of his regular crew, Brown has been producing a number of videos in his ‘Pantry Raid’ series, all aimed at taking a good look at some kitchen staples and having fun with them in order to make something exciting.
From taking creative liberties with popcorn seasonings to elevating the simple saltine cracker, Brown shows that you don’t need fancy gadgets or expensive ingredients to create something worthwhile in your own kitchen.
Assuming you have saltines, of course.
Fun fact: Alton Brown also served as the cinematographer on the music video for R.E.M’s ‘The One I Love.’

Bon Appétit
Bon Appetit features a cadre of chefs making just about any kind of content you can think of.
You’re as likely to find a recipe for a straightforward roast chicken as you are to find a video about an experimental homemade hot sauce.
These professional chefs try to make new pasta shapes, see if they can replicate commercial recipes, face off against amateur chefs from across the internet and cook a single item in as many different ways as they can think up.
There might be many things that the amateur cook can’t quite pull off at home, but it’s not hard to find inspiration to step out of your comfort zone and try something new and completely different, or just watch and be entertained as Brad makes homemade gravlax.