The Ingredient Chef John Uses In Almost Everything

"Binging with Babish," "JunsKitchen," and Chef John. What do these people have in common? They're all famous YouTube chefs, each known for their unique style and approaches to cooking. Oliver Rea, better known as Babish, is well-known for his creations based on famous TV shows and films, and Jun of "JunsKitchen" focuses primarily on a fusion of Japanese and American cuisine. But what does Chef John focus on?

For John Mitzewich, his focus is simple: food. With an impressive background that intertwines writing for The Spruce Eats and teaching at California Culinary Academy to working as garde manager at the San Francisco Opera House. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Chef John revealed that becoming a YouTube personality was somewhat accidental. He was posting instructional videos as part of a larger plan to launch an online culinary school, but YouTube offered him a position as a content partner when his videos began taking off.

Chef John's channel, "Food Wishes," actually doesn't feature Chef John at all — instead, viewers only hear his voice, and the camera is always focused on the food he's preparing. There are no flashy gimmicks, but instead a straightforward approach to his work. But this doesn't mean John doesn't have his own unique style. Viewers of his channel will know there's one ingredient that Chef John sticks to when his dish needs some extra flavor.

Chef John is a big fan of cayenne

On the subreddit r/FoodWishes, an apparent newcomer to the channel asked a simple but strange question: Why was Chef John putting cayenne in everything from either a berry crumble to chocolate chip cookies? Users explained that the frequent additions of cayenne were a cross between John's personal belief that cayenne worked as a flavor enhancer and a running gag. "Even if you can't taste the flavor or heat, cayenne can 'brighten' a dish and enhance flavors," explained one Redditor. "A little pinch of magic in every recipe! I think it's also become a running joke, so he goes with it."

Indeed, it seems like the content creator isn't afraid to add a dash or two (or three) to his foods, as seen in video on YouTube that compiles every time he used the spice. When sharing his best cooking tips, Chef John admitted that his love of cayenne comes from his belief that the spice can indeed bring out the flavors in his dish. He describes his additions of cayenne to his dishes as "micro seasoning," just enough not to upset the balance of the dish but instead "open up the pores on the tongue" and let you taste more of the flavors you may have normally noticed.