What You Didn't Know About Carl Ruiz's YouTube Show

If you believe that "snooty" and "chef" always go together, then you didn't know Carl Ruiz. The celebrity chef may be best known for his many appearances on "Guy's Grocery Games" and "Guy's Ranch Kitchen" (via USA Today). He also was an accomplished chef who received plenty of critical acclaim for his creative flair. When he was head chef at the New Jersey restaurant Sabor in 2002, The Record of Hackensack rated it 3½ stars — midway between "excellent" and "outstanding." Ruiz opened La Cubana in New York, months before his untimely death in 2019 (via Eater New York). A review on Gayot praised La Cubana's complex marinated seafood salad and its smoked pork chop with Creole okra stew.

But if you ever watched Ruiz's YouTube channel, "OMG Carl's Food Show," then you know he was just as comfortable in the dining room at Arby's or Cracker Barrel as he was in a Manhattan fine-dining establishment. To give you an idea of just how seriously he took the world of haute cuisine, he sometimes signed off at the end of his videos with "bone apple teeth." (If you don't get it, think of what a French waiter would say, in French, after bringing food to your table.)

With his chef's background, Ruiz was able to tell you exactly why McDonald's McNuggets are so good — or why In-N-Out's fries are so terrible. You could count on two things in a Carl Ruiz review on YouTube: He was going to be completely honest, and he was going to make you laugh.

The first few episodes of Carl Ruiz's YouTube show weren't always serious

After a few videos, Carl Ruiz's YouTube channel "OMG Carl's Food Show" found its identity. But the first three videos (he uploaded 19 in all) weren't always serious, and Ruiz, frankly, wasn't always sober. The very first video, titled "Polish pork chop crockpot razzle-dazzle," was only a minute long. A dimly lit Ruiz and a friend introduced only as "my buddy from The Barn" shouted over the din at The Barn, apparently one of Ruiz's favorite drinking establishments. The buddy shared a delicious way to cook sauerkraut and pork chops in a crock pot. Ruiz alternated between a nearly empty fifth of whiskey in one hand and a can of beer in the other.

The lighting and sound were greatly improved in Ruiz's second YouTube video, although drinking was still a theme. Ruiz and another buddy of his, named Brian, taste bourbons to find one that works best as a substitute for Pappy Van Winkle, which costs about $1,500 a bottle. They go with Old Weller, a total bargain at $30. Ruiz filmed volume three of his whiskey trilogy on Christmas Eve, 2017. He leads you to believe he's going to share his recipe for eggnog. Ruiz proceeds to pour a finger of Old Forester bourbon into a glass, then downs it in one gulp. "The perfect eggnog," he says, after smacking his lips. He recommended a Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco as a garnish.

The highest praise Carl Ruiz offered on his YouTube show: 'beyond reproach'

After Carl Ruiz's Christmas Eve eggnog goof, he returned to YouTube in March 2018 with a flurry of more sober videos reviewing fast food and fast casual establishments. By this time, the "OMG Carl's Food Show" formula included a catchphrase Ruiz used for the very best these restaurants had to offer. Ruiz would say they were "beyond reproach." We offer here the complete list of everything Ruiz put in his most elite category.

The first time Ruiz said "beyond reproach" on his YouTube show was after he took a bite of a Bloomin' Onion at Outback Steakhouse. "Listen to me, and listen to me good," Ruiz said. "The Bloomin' Onion is beyond reproach. Yeah, you heard me. In my career as being a chef, I've never made something this original that tastes this good."

Olive Garden's salad also was beyond reproach. "That salad's just as good as any salad in a little Italian restaurant. Even better," Ruiz said. The other "beyond reproach" menu items were McDonald's McNuggets, Wendy's Baconator, Arby's Horsey Sauce, Cracker Barrel's pecan pancakes (and his waitress, Debbie), In-N-Out's Neapolitan shake, and both the fries and the milkshake at Five Guys.

Ruiz loved milkshakes. McDonald's vanilla shake wasn't quite "beyond reproach," but he did call it "the gold standard." McDonald's french fries almost qualified as "beyond reproach." "Most chefs would kill to have a french fry like this in their restaurant," he said. Meanwhile, he called the Big Mac sauce a "national treasure."

Carl Ruiz warned people away from certain menu items: 'Don't eat it'

If Carl Ruiz hated something he tried on "OMG Carl's Food Show," he would simply say, in so many words, "Don't eat it." Ruiz may love Olive Garden's salad, but he didn't feel the same way about the Italian-inspired chain's stuffed mushrooms with clams. "Don't you ever eat those," he sternly warned. Ruiz liked Waffle House's breakfast, but after trying a bite of the chain's salad he couldn't push the bowl away fast enough. "Don't eat the salad," Ruiz said. "Oh my goodness, that was really bad."

For years, Ruiz ran the critically acclaimed Marie's Italian Specialties with his wife (via The New York Times), so he knows a thing or two about pasta dishes. His opinion of Applebee's pasta with chicken was clear: "Do yourself a favor. Don't get pasta here," he said. "The Alfredo kinda sauce tastes like hot mayonnaise."

Ruiz reserved perhaps his biggest insult for Chick-fil-A's grilled nuggets. "The texture — I swear to God it looks like a goat's tongue. Why would you want this?" he said. "If you eat these, you hate America." Ruiz brought up patriotism again when he said he didn't even bother trying Five Guys' vegetable sandwich: "I didn't get it because I don't hate America."

Carl Ruiz had many hilarious one-liners on his YouTube show

Fans of Carl Ruiz's YouTube channel "OMG Carl's Food Show" admired his deadpan delivery and his ability to come up with hilarious off-the-cuff one-liners. "RIP mad Cuban," a commenter wrote under a particularly humorous review of Subway. "You were the only chef I ever liked, respected and could make me laugh."

Biting into Subway's meatball parmesan sandwich stopped Ruiz in his tracks. He threw it back on the table. "It's awful," the chef said. "That sandwich is like, it feels like being killed. I don't know what being killed feels like, but it definitely tastes like that sandwich. You can call it the 'being killed sandwich.'"

Death came up as a theme in a lot of Ruiz's negative reviews. He had this to say about McDonald's Filet-O-Fish: "I'm sure this fish volunteered to be caught or probably jumped on the boat and killed itself." Even the potato that went into In-N-Out's fries "just gave up and killed itself in the deep fryer," Ruiz said. His scorn extended to the people who said they liked In-N-Out's fries. "I question everything from them," he said. "I question if they can love someone. I wouldn't trust them with pets. These are dangerous people, the people that eat these."

Carl Ruiz's YouTube show benefited Alzheimer's research

Carl Ruiz brought a trained chef's sensibility to some of the most underappreciated food on the American scene: Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, McDonald's, and their ilk. Clearly, Ruiz was doing it for fun, and he also wanted to elevate the kind of food a lot of snooty chefs and snobbish Americans might condemn. Consider Ruiz's review of the menu item that gave Waffle House its name. "The fake butter, the fake syrup, and the fake waffle mixed together makes something that's very real," Ruiz said. "There's absolutely nothing natural about this waffle, and I love every single bite of it."

Ruiz had one more reason to post to his YouTube channel. He said on Twitter he was giving all the money he made from "OMG Carl's Food Show" to the Alzheimer's Association. In a separate tweet, Ruiz confided to his followers that his father had Alzheimer's. On March 28, 2018, after Ruiz had posted nine videos in one week, he tweeted that he had raised $1,200 for the association.

"OMG Carl's Food Show" hasn't seen any new content since Ruiz died in September 2019 of clogged arteries (via USA Today). Even so, the social media database Social Blade shows that Ruiz's subscriber base has only grown since his death. His channel has slightly more than 7,000 subscribers, which is a lot fewer than your typical YouTube celebrity. This select group appreciated a chef who wasn't afraid to praise fast food, and who made you laugh when he trashed it.