Talia Lavin, freelance writer (The New Yorker, The New Republic), is a very good Twitter follow. Her new book, Culture Warlords, is about the white supremacist online movement, and she’s written several interesting pieces concerning the subject. But most importantly, following her on Twitter introduced me to Chefclub.
Chefclub is a Twitter Account that boasts “Creative and Entertaining Recipes!” They sure are creative, and they sure are entertaining, but I cannot imagine anyone ever wants to eat one. You might think that “Ground Beef Potato Bake” sounds fine in theory, but the video opens with someone weaving a strip of raw bacon through a raw potato.
The main steps to creating a Chefclub recipe appear to be:
- Think of something that people nominally like to eat
- Come up with ten “creative” ways to make the dish more complicated
- Add cheese
- Add extra ingredients no one wants
- Add more cheese
- Spend hours doing “decoration” preparing the meal that you will then destroy as soon as you eat the food
- Add more cheese
Chefclub’s horrible monstrosities must be seen to be believed, such as the 2 Pound Scramble (a literal brick of cheese wrapped in tortillas, then wrapped in bacon, then filled with scrambled eggs) or Twisty Hot Dogs (fried hot dogs that are breaded in the most convoluted way possible that resembles origami, then served in an entire pot of chili and cheese).
Given that Chefclub posts a new video every day, I quickly went to the Chefclub Network to unlock the hidden secret of why they create these nightmares. They have cookbooks! They have a kids’ section! They have something called “Light and Fun” (most Chefclub food is the opposite of light). There is a Chefclub App, and a Chefclub Community! All of the recipes are equally absurd, with twenty extra steps for “decoration” and a fascination with layering food inside of food inside of food.
When looking on the “About Us” page, I solved the mystery. Chefclub is a French company. The existence of Chefclub, therefore, has been a test to see how well French chefs can replicate disgusting “American” food. I believe in this theory wholeheartedly. If it is possible to be a Chefclub truther, I am one.
There is absolutely no way that a cooking company can create and build what Lavin calls “hot wet meat jenga” and be sincere. Chefclub is an elaborate bit, a test of Americans’ limits at a time when our limits are being tested like never before. It is 2020, a year in which so much has been taken from us, and so much more stands to be lost. And while I contemplate my future, and the future of our country and our world, I will watch a video featuring a “spaghetti boat” wrapped in bacon and filled to the brim with melted cheese, and think “wait, I kind of want to try that.” I’m going to go order a Chefclub cookbook.