Why Chef John Doesn't Show His Face In His Videos

Americans are gravitating towards cooking more meals at home owing to healthier food choices, saving on dining out, and, most importantly, the behavioral shift due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Home cooking in the United States is gaining momentum, and some of the credit for the growing fascination with the eat-at-home trend should be given to incredibly engaging and easy-to-follow YouTube cooking channels. It's no wonder you can find some of the most popular cooking channels on YouTube that are as good as anything on TV. 

Famous chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay have a massive fan following on YouTube. But so do numerous other chefs who've made a name for themselves in the culinary world by making highly elaborative videos dedicated to making cooking easy for novices. One such well-respected name is John Mitzewich — aka Chef John. This culinary industry veteran has been teaching viewers how to cook on his YouTube channel "Food Wishes" since 2007 (per PR News). 

There's something soothing about watching Chef John's videos, which don't rely on unique angles or distracting video effects. Despite having no professional crew, he never wanders into unprofessional or amateurish territory. The YouTube cooking icon keeps it so real that he doesn't even edit out the mistakes he makes while cooking. However, the fascinating aspect of Chef John's online persona is that he doesn't show his face to his YouTube channel's more than 4.2 million subscribers. Turns out, there's a reason behind his decision to show only his hands.   

Chef John follows a set of personal rules

Chef John's illustrious YouTube career got started because all he wanted to do was make cooking videos. His no-fuss approach has shown that cooking great food doesn't have to be a complex process, and the same goes for making good food videos on YouTube. If someone watches his videos for the first time, they'll soon realize that he doesn't show his kitchen, the amount of ingredients, or his face. 

In a 2011 interview with food writer Dianne Jacob, Chef John said that he believes the key to making successful cooking videos is not showing your face. "When the video is just about the food and the recipe, viewers are cooking WITH you. As soon as you enter the frame, they are watching you cook, not cooking with you," the culinary industry veteran said. And in 2014, he candidly admitted that he didn't have any equipment when he started making videos. So, instead of making a "badly done stand-and-stir cooking show," he decided just to film the food and do a voiceover later. 

In an interview with Tubefilter, Chef John gave a humble answer when asked what makes his cooking channel different. "Me. That's it. I don't do anything different, or better than anyone else. In fact, I generally do it worse, but for whatever reason people connect with the delivery," he said.