J. Kenji López-Alt Is Setting The Record Straight About Cooking With Black Gloves

Over the past few years, black gloves have become infinitely more popular as a cooking tool in food media. While Paris Hilton may use black fingerless gloves to protect her hands on "Cooking with Paris," others have been using them in videos made for social media, particularly when preparing meats. As Eater puts it, "black nitrile gloves have emerged as a calling card of the food content creator class." They are essentially impossible to miss on food-heavy apps like Instagram and TikTok.

There are even multiple Reddit threads dedicated to the phenomenon, with users desperately wondering, "What is the deal with black latex gloves in cooking videos?!" One person said, "I definitely see this more in videos that focus on grilling/BBQ, but it seems to be everywhere." And it's not just food fans who have taken notice of the trend. Chef and food writer J. Kenji López-Alt recently came out in protest of the black gloves on Instagram, writing, "I don't understand why I'm seeing it so much lately and why it feels so gross." 

López-Alt's comment, explained

In the caption of his post, López-Alt clarified that his problem with the black glove trend lies not in the gloves themselves, but in "the pairing of black gloves while sexualizing meat by slapping and squeezing it." Some commenters resonated with his take, saying they've come to see the gloves as a symbol of toxic masculinity and the desire to exert dominance over food. Others called it a harmless trend, possibly started by Binging With Babish, while others said they're simply part of "the 'food influencer on tiktok' starter pack." 

A YouTube video by Internet Shaquille sought to explain the black gloves and meat combo a bit. Noting that aesthetics and color contrast play a big part in the choice of black gloves in particular videos, the video explains that standard blue gloves are usually used in the medical field and may cause viewers to be "turned off." 

Internet Shaquille also notes that gloves are a great way to ensure that between filming and cooking, the meat and camera are both kept clean from one another's contaminants. The final reason he gives is that, particularly for pitmasters, there is typically a pair of cotton gloves underneath the black gloves, which help provide "full range of motion, preserved haptics, protection from grease, and insulation for handling, wrapping and shredding hot barbecued meats without any burns." So while the black glove rub may rub López-Alt the wrong way a bit, not wearing them could be to a videographer's detriment in more ways than one.