The One Ingredient Frankie Celenza Can't Live Without - Exclusive

Frankie Celenza is one of the original internet chefs. He started his YouTube channel in the early days of the website after discovering there weren't many chefs for his generation to look up to as far as cooking skills go. Celenza, who grew up in an Italian American family with delicious home-cooked meals, saw a hole in the market and decided to become part of the internet food revolution. 

Now Celenza is an Emmy-winning food content creator and the host of the Tastemade show "Frankie vs. the Internet," where Celenza and other chefs face off to put their own twist on viral recipes. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, we asked Celenza about his life as a celebrity internet chef and what the one ingredient he couldn't live without was. It didn't take time for Celenza to answer. In fact, he responded almost immediately. And that answer may surprise you.

Simple is sometimes best

When asked what the one ingredient that he could not live without was, Celenza answered quickly and simply: "Salt. That's it." Salt is an impressive ingredient that works to enhance flavor and aid so many other parts of the cooking process. As the old Italian proverb says, "Pasta water should taste like the sea." It is no wonder Celenza, who comes from Italian American heritage and who offers a Pasta of the Month recipe subscription, would feel so strongly about salt.

As much as he loves salt for cooking, there is one way Celenza does not use salt. "I hate the salt cranker," said Celenza. "I've always hated it because you want to develop a muscle memory with a salt that you can pick up and a brand that you like so that you can really feel it." Of course, these are all completely valid points against the salt shaker, but Celenza has one more point to make on them. "But also it's such a scam, the salt-grinder, because salt doesn't need to be freshly cracked like pepper."

Frankie Celenza and Tastemade's hit series, "Frankie vs. the Internet," is back for Season 2 and available for streaming on