TikToker Nick DiGiovanni Reveals His Upcoming Recipes With FoodSaver - Exclusive Interview

If you have ever found yourself scrolling mindlessly through food videos on TikTok until 3:00 a.m., you may know Nick DiGiovanni. The TikTok star can be found on MasterChef Season 10, his popular YouTube channel, or in videos with your favorite food content creators. Currently with 8.8 million followers and 258 million likes on TikTok, the "young Gordon Ramsay" is known for his outlandish food videos and copycat fast food recipes. The food guru even succeeded at breaking the Guinness World Record with another known foodie (@cookingwithlynja) for the world's largest cake pop.

During an exclusive interview with Mashed, Nick divulged his new partnership with FoodSaver, how he got started on TikTok, and his most helpful tips and tricks to use in the kitchen. The video creator explained why sous vide is his favorite cooking method to date, as FoodSaver's vacuum sealers have inspired him to create more recipes such as chicken legs and peach cobbler. This is your sign to actually try out those fun food recipes that you saved from the "for you" page.

Why Nick partnered up with FoodSaver

I would love to start out with how you got started on TikTok and in content creation.

I was basically stuck at home at the start of the whole pandemic, like a lot of people, and always loved cooking but hadn't really done a lot of filming myself cooking. It all started out when TikTok became a huge platform that everybody was on. I figured, why not try to toss up a few things? The first really didn't make much sense. They weren't very good. No one really wanted to watch them. I remember the first one that hit and really got some traction was making chocolate from a cacao pod which people saw as a new, unique thing. 

They learned something. They had no idea where chocolate came from before that and had never really thought about it. I said, "This is the process in 45 seconds," and people loved it. From that day forward, I remember I got so excited that people were excited [for my content, and] I went crazy on making tons and tons of videos. Now, I basically film every day.

Could you tell me more about your partnership with FoodSaver?

It's pretty straightforward, actually. I've been vacuum sealing and also doing sous vide and a number of other things that have to do with vacuum sealing for a while. Since I started cooking, I got into working in more techniques with my food and being more creative. A lot of people, outside of a kitchen or outside of the cooking world, look at vacuum sealing sous vide as something that's very intimidating, but it's not. It's actually one of the easiest things you can do, and it's very versatile in that sense. In terms of FoodSaver itself, I like the fact that vacuum sealing falls under that umbrella seems really difficult and scary, but it's actually not. It's really easy and really approachable for anyone.

It's the fact that FoodSaver's versatile and that I have genuinely always been using this since the inception of my cooking, which was probably when I was eight or nine years old. I think it really comes down to [the fact that] I don't partner or do anything unless it's something that I genuinely do use and like in the kitchen. This is one of those things [where] my whole mission's about teaching people how approachable food and cooking can be. This is a perfect thing that fits there.

Nick names his favorite cooking method

Since you mentioned teaching and the sous vide method, are there any tips or special tricks that you use when you approach that method [sous vide] that you could share?

One thing about sous vide is people actually have no idea how many applications there are. You can make a crazy number of things with sous vide, but I look at it as something to use for, to be honest, being a little bit lazy and making the food do the work for you ...  you can take a ton of salmon, throw a giant dinner party, throw all the vacuum sealed sous vide salmon portions into a giant water bath, and then make some massive meal. You really didn't do much. It maybe takes you 10, 15 minutes of vacuum sealing and maybe marinating the salmon, putting it in the sous vide bags, and then it's really done.

That's a really cool thing. It is knowing how to utilize the ease of it all. There's tiny little tips and tricks you learn along the way, like not keeping the food too close to the seal, because I have had a lot of things spill on me with trying to do sous vide and vacuum sealing in general. Honestly, it's one of those things that the more you practice it, the easier it is. It's second nature.

You mentioned a few different foods that you could use with that method. Would you be able to give any hints as to what new recipes your followers can expect with your upcoming partnership with FoodSaver?

I'll give one little hint. I'm very coastal and seafood inspired. There's a really, really fun recipe on that front there, but anytime you can expect recipes from me, they're going to be creative and fun. A classic dish that we all know and love with a couple slight twists is usually what I go for.

WWhat inspires you to partner up with other food creators? I know you've filmed with @cookingwithlynja and Luca who's (@itsqcp), or with brands like FoodSavers. What is your thought process behind that?

The way I partner with creators is the same mindset that I have when partnering with brands. If I align with what they do and who they are, then I love to partner with them. I definitely have a great back and forth with Linda and a number of other creators, like you mentioned. In fact, we just attempted another Guinness world record the other day together. It was really fun. I've never really thought about it in that way, but now that you say it, it makes me think. I do try to be really strict about working with people that I genuinely and truly align with.

I love collaborations in general. I feel like it's a fun way to ... It's hard. Ideas can get a little bit stagnant at times, and you can get stuck in a box of not really knowing where to go if you've made so many recipes. I've made hundreds and hundreds of videos, so it's actually really nice to partner with someone or something new because it makes you think outside the box. With FoodSaver, I was thinking more specifically about sous vide, marinating, preserving, freezing, all things that maybe I'm not thinking of every day when I'm trying to think of recipe ideas too. Then, when I collab with a different creator, they have totally different techniques, totally different styles. It really helps a lot to think of new ideas.

Nick reveals what he's learned from famous chefs

You've worked with several amazing food legends. I've seen Gordon Ramsey, Robert Irvine, Buddy Valastro on TikTok most recently. How does it feel being able to work with some of the most well known chefs so early on in your career?

It's definitely a humbling thing. I am one of those people that, whether I'm young, the age I am now, or 60 in the kitchen, I'm still going to always be learning and knowing that I can learn from somebody. Actually, it's great that all these different food legends are open to doing things like this with people that are perhaps trying to be on the same path that they are, but much younger and less experienced because I learn a lot from them. They have a lot of fun. I approach those meetups with an increased understanding of social media, purely given my generation. Then, they also have that crazy amount of knowledge that being in this industry forever will give you. It's a perfect pairing and it's been a lot of fun.

You mentioned learning from them a few times. Are there any food tips or anything that stands out to you that you have learned from them that you could share with aspiring cooks?

I'm actually ironically, just minutes ago, I'm working on a cookbook now.

Oh, congratulations.

Thank you, and I do want to have a big section in there where I have little pro tips that I've learned along the way. I have been thinking a lot lately about what are those things that can help somebody in the kitchen that may love food and love cooking, but doesn't feel so comfortable and wants to make that jump. There are a lot of them. One of the big ones that I'll say now is, don't be afraid of heat. That's a really big thing that a lot of people don't use enough heat in the kitchen. The funny reality is that if you want to cook a really good steak with a nice crust in your apartment, most of them are going to get very smoky if you're doing it right, sometimes maybe [setting] off the fire alarm.

You got to choose.  I used to set off the fire alarm a lot in my old building, but there are so many tips out there for aspiring chefs and people that already cook every day. I have been trying to distill all those lately, so it's a great question.

Nick shares his go-to cooking tools

You mentioned a new cookbook. Could you give any intel on that at all? Or is that under wraps so far?

It's pretty locked down right now ... Or at least I'm supposed to keep it pretty locked down right now. Ultimately, I haven't done one before obviously. I want to make something that gives people a taste of what I cook when I'm at home cooking, even the tools and equipment that I use. People always want to know what knife I use. There's all sorts of stuff out there. What are my favorite things? This book will basically share everything in the book, all my favorite cooking tools, all my favorite kitchen tips, all my favorite recipes and things that I've usually kept well hidden and for myself over the years, but [now I] figure why not share and democratize good food?

That's funny, because my next question was actually, what is the one cooking tool you could never live without? Would you be willing to share that?

That's a great question. I mean, if you're open, I even have [several] that fit on one hand, probably a couple.

Yeah, definitely.

I feel like being in the kitchen, you really don't need that much to succeed in the kitchen, but you can't really cook without a knife. I always say get a good chef's knife and get a good sharpener, and don't buy one of those big knife blocks. That's a really good tip that a lot of people, once you say it, they're like, "Oh yeah, I've never used the nine other knives that are in my knife block. I only just go for that one every time." That's definitely one. I always say definitely get a couple nice, heavy, solid pans that are going to have an even distribution of heat on the bottom and aren't going to warp on you and aren't going to give you chemicals.

I actually do use vacuum sealers all the time and also kitchen torches. There's two. I feel like those even can go, in a weird way, hand in hand. Take a food saver, vacuum seal a piece of fish — and this might be giving more hints as to one of the recipes that's going to be coming out — but vacuum seal a piece of fish. Marinate it, and then take it out and give it a nice still torch after it's been sous vide to give it a nice char on the top. There's a lot of fun things with that, but I do love whipping out the kitchen torch to put that little finishing touch on a dish. Those are my main ones. Maybe a big, heavy wood cutting board too is always good to have a solid central spot in your kitchen where you can whip it all out.

Nick describes the one ingredient he can't live without

If you had to pick one ingredient to use for the rest of your life, what would it be? This is a tough question.

That is a really tough question. If I had to pick one ingredient ... I've tried eating food before without a lot of salt, and it is genuinely difficult. It also helps that I have my salt company, Osmo, so on one hand, I'd say salt. You need salt to ... I'm thinking of grabbing a cucumber. It tastes okay without salt, but then when you add that tiny pinch of salt, it's a total game changer.

Oh, interesting.

With the flavors there, I'd also say I'm obsessed with brown butter. I make it all the time. I'll make brown butter, and then I'll let it sit there. I'll pour it into a glass. I'll let it sit there and separate a little bit, and then I'll dig a spoon to the bottom and take those milk solids on the bottom because that's where that flavor's really condensed. That's where that real nuttiness is. That's another good one that'd be hard for me to say goodbye to.

You've posted several fast food copycat recipes, such as the Texas Roadhouse butter and the McDonald's Oreo McFlurry I saw. What is your go-to fast food order and where is it from?

I am a big fan of the Popeye's crispy chicken sandwich. My trick is, I get the crispy chicken sandwich. I get the red beans and rice on the side. They're seasoned perfectly every time. They really are good. And then, I'll get a small side of coleslaw, and I dump the whole [order of] coleslaw upside down on my chicken sandwich and close the bun. Having that Popeye's chicken sandwich with the coleslaw on there, it balances it out a little bit. It gives that cold hot contrast. It's really good with the red beans and rice on the side. That's my go-to. That's got to be one of my favorite little quick meals ever. It is really good.

Nick discloses the video series he is most proud of

You are known by your fans for your out of the box, creative recipes. Are there any videos that you have created so far that you are most proud of? I know you mentioned the chocolate cacao pod, but are there any others?

I'm putting a lot of time into the YouTube videos now –my whole series, it's called Nick vs. Wild, where I go out, and I maybe learn new things or I'm on the road doing something. I really like that because I think it's an expansion on basically what I talked about with starting out on TikTok, trying to teach people new things where I actually learned them on the spot. Just the other day, I went to an oyster farm for the first time ever. I learned how, from the tiny little speck, an oyster two years later gets grown to the proper size where it can go to somebody's plate.

That's an immediate [way to say], okay, now I understand why an oyster might cost $2.50 or $3 per oyster because it literally takes two whole years and all of this work to make. I really love that series. It's not necessarily the one that gets the most views, [but] something about it is fun for me to learn by myself while also teaching people along the way.

Do you have any advice for beginner content creators or people who are looking to start getting into cooking?

Start out by cooking what you like. Don't get too wrapped up in — I say it even though I'm writing a cookbook — don't get wrapped up too much in recipes and cookbooks because ultimately you're cooking for you. You should have fun and think outside the box and be creative with it. It comes down to a little bit of why I don't love baking as much as regular savory cooking is because I can be so much more creative, and I don't have to have that exact measurement for each thing. It makes cooking a lot more fun.

Learn more about FoodSaver's vacuum sealers on their website or head to Nick DiGiovanni's TikTok page for more recipes and food tips.  

This interview has been edited for clarity.