Of all the outlets available for cooking inspiration - TV, cookbooks, magazines, Instagram - none allow for a better blend of entertainment and 'how to' instruction than YouTube. And of thousands of YouTube channels dedicated to accessible home cooking, none has perfected this art better than Internet Shaquille.
From perfectly cooked potatoes, to gnocchi ice cream, the man who jokingly calls himself 'Brown Alton' manages to synthesize complicated cooking techniques into short videos that are entertaining, educational, and quirky.
For over three years, Shaq has inspired his loyal, growing following one video at a time. Six months ago, his popularity on YouTube exploded with his release of a video about why your homemade burritos are so disappointing (hint, it's probably the tortilla you're using). Now he has nearly 300K subscribers who eagerly await the release of his next video.
But unlike many in the food world and YouTube, Shaq's journey to internet celebrity started with a devotion to an exclusionary diet.
I think anyone who's ever tried an exclusionary diet can remember one point at which they had to get serious about cooking for themselves. I remember a specific paleo phase that really kicked me into high gear, and I bet plenty of vegans or keto folks can relate.
Shaq's skills in the kitchen, and his video style have evolved, and his commitment to learning is enviable.
Any time I want to improve a skill, I subscribe to some new YouTube channels, buy a few books from Audible, and follow some accounts on Instagram that focus on that skill. It's often overwhelming to know where to start, so this helps me get a broad sense of the field pretty quickly.
We asked Shaq to share a few tips to help make Abbio's community more comfortable and confident in their home kitchens.
Learn how to wash dishes in a way that doesn't make you miserable.
Learn how to buy and use up groceries in a way that doesn't make you feel overwhelmed.
Practice judging how hot the pan needs to be in order to have your food well cooked on the inside and properly colored on the outside. Once you get that down, you can look at a piece of food and say "If I cook this on medium-high heat, I'll know it's done just by looking at the outside".
Staying true to the spirit of his YouTube channel, Shaq shared his recipe for Spiced and Herbed Chickpeas.
If you have a can of chickpeas . . . you are always only 10 minutes away from a great meal.
Follow Shaq on Youtube to keep up with all of his culinary pursuits.