Hello fellow Redditors - I'm the torso with an occasionally-visible head named Andrew Rea, but you might know me by my arbitrarily-chosen pseudonym, Oliver Babish. He was a character on The West Wing. Played by Oliver Platt? He was in like 8 episodes? It doesn't matter.

My second cookbook, The Binging with Babish companion cookbook, hits shelves and slides into your DM's (domestic mail's) today - it's got the first hundred recipes from the show, good and bad, terrible and wonderful, for your consideration and recreation. I started out posting pretty pictures of my various dinners to /r/food, and eventually had the idea to make what I called a "moving-picture" (I've since learned that this is called a video) of my food, and share it on this community. This was the first episode of Binging with Babish, the show where I recreate foods from movies and television. Three and a half years later, and I'm making all different kinds of shows, getting to be a guest on Hot Ones (shout out /u/seanseaevans), buying my brother his dream car, opening a brewpub in Brooklyn, and dropping my second cookbook. I've said this many times before, but I owe my career and wonderful new life to the Reddit community, who helped spread the word about my show in /r/videos, /r/cooking, and /r/food. My channel is one of the countless examples of how content creation and creativity are being slowly democratized, and how almost anyone, anywhere, with little more than a camera and an internet connection, can potentially have their voice heard by millions. It's not something I ever imagined for myself, and as I say in my book: I will spend the rest of my life working to earn everything you've given me.

Anywho before I get all weepy, let's get to it! AMA!!

EDIT: I should probably mention that I'm going on my nationwide book tour starting today! Git your tix here!

EDIT 2: Guys I'm so sorry I gotta run! I will keep answering questions piecemeal in my downtime tonight, but tonight is the book event in Philly - there's still tickets left, I'd love to see you there! Thank you all so much for the amazing questions, the kind words, and for supporting the channel!!

Proof: https://i.redd.it/mvtvqa1nbyt31.png

Comments: 7743 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

MailboxBandit5842 karma

Is Brad Leone as charming in real life as he seems on YouTube?

OliverBabish5294 karma

Even more so

MailboxBandit2673 karma

Impossible. I don’t believe it.

OliverBabish7658 karma

Believe it, sister - he's a lil more relaxed off camera, he's a way better cook than I am, and he's a mountain man that could carry you into the sunset like you were a baby lamb.

LedLaze5360 karma

When you released the poutine vid, did you expect that many angry people on how you made your poutine?

I love your videos btw, ur amazing :- )

OliverBabish6012 karma

Aw thanks! And yes I totally did - anytime I'm making something very specifically regional, I know I'm getting myself in trouble.

mugenhunt3776 karma

Will we ever get a Basics episode about making your own worcestershire sauce?

OliverBabish5656 karma

Are you trying to make me sprain my tongue?

drunk_drink3157 karma

Have you had a formal cooking education or is all your cooking self thaught ?

OliverBabish5441 karma

All self-taught! My hope is that people can watch the show and think "this guy is kind of a doofus - if he can do it, I can do it"

pyongyang_party_meat2491 karma

How much blood is there between you and Brad Leone for stealing Vinny?

OliverBabish2107 karma

Nah, we're still (happily) all boys!

thyrun2486 karma

Hey Andrew, big fan of yours. I've got two questions.

  • From all meals you've made, which turned out most challenging to you?
  • And which was most delicious?

Keep it up, I will surely continue to watch you on YouTube :)

OliverBabish3827 karma

Definitely hand-pulled noodles - Jess was there for the whole process, and she'll tell you that I was a man apart by the end of those two days. The most delicious was probably the mojo pork from the Cubano episode, and it's got a contender coming up soon: I put my own spin on Mirage's glazed pork chops from Apex Legends, and it was far and away the best pork I've ever made!

dsteere23032150 karma

What is your go to comfort food?

OliverBabish3749 karma

I'll call it by its fancy name: pasta al burro. Which is just pasta and butter. I grew up on it, and if it's late/I'm a lil tipsy/went to the gym that day, I might indulge in a childhood favorite.

Fr4mesJanco2000 karma

What’s a food trend you wish would die?

Also what’s a food trend you wish would become popular?

OliverBabish7619 karma

Die: burgers that are too big to fit in your mouth, or even physically pick up. Over-the-top instagram foods that would make you hellaciously ill if you were to eat them (double-deep fried, cheese-stuffed, served on a mountain of tater tots etc). Rainbow bagels.

More popular: offal. Savory pies. Using your fucking turn signal.

rstonex1964 karma

Is your soothing voice going to be coming to Waze anytime soon?

OliverBabish2000 karma

I've wanted to do that for the longest time...

Howcanidescribeit1947 karma

What was your least favorite episode?

Whether because of a food you didnt like, a recipe that wasn't worth the hassle, or even the backlash you got because of how you prepared someone's hometown staple.

OliverBabish4245 karma

Either apple pie (because I was stoned af doing the voice-over and you can DEFINITELY hear it), or the Harry Potter special (because I'm a dingus and didn't realize the pumpkin pasty was savory).

TMDaniel1622 karma

Definitely going to rewatch the apple pie episode now.

wittylittlepieceof783 karma

I'm really wondering how much the views for that episode will spike today.

OliverBabish1342 karma

RickPoppie1938 karma

I have never heard of you before. Mind describing yourself in 3 words?

OliverBabish6026 karma

Bearded cooking man

FeistySquirrel011882 karma

What cheap kitchen appliance works just as well as the expensive version?

OliverBabish3332 karma

Cast iron for sure - Lodge Logic pans are about as good as they get, and they're generally around $30 depending on the size. Nonstick as well, T-Fal Professional is relatively inexpensive and absolutely crushes All-Clad etc. Cutting boards - OXO utility board is still one of my faves.

Things that cost more/are worth the money though? Stainless steel pans, enameled cast iron, knives, stand mixers!

bloodypyro1864 karma

What is your "White Whale" recipe?

OliverBabish2899 karma

Reese's turkey-stuffed-in-a-monkfish thanksgiving

maxsta1231763 karma

What is the most frustrating dish you’ve made for a video and why?

OliverBabish2739 karma

Probably the Ube Roll actually - took a solid 8 tries to get the color right and make it roll without cracking! Hand-pulled noodles was definitely the most labor-intensive, but I felt more accomplished having made a bowl of noodles I stretched myself...even if I didn't do it very well.

laserlightcannon1301 karma

Well ya know what they say, if every pork chop were perfect we wouldn't have hot dogs.

OliverBabish1303 karma

Pork anus*

FeistySquirrel011635 karma

What popular foods do you hate?

OliverBabish4210 karma

Cilantro, cilantro, and even though it's used pervasively in myriad cuisines and cultures...cilantro :( it's genetic, I can't help it!

jhgray311432 karma

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

OliverBabish2746 karma

Oof probably Le Bon Georges in Paris - white asparagus with hollandaise, duck pate en croute, hamburger steak, cognac for dessert. Fucking unbelievable.

Rufuffless1267 karma

Love your show!

Who would you say is your biggest inspiration in cooking?

OliverBabish2452 karma

Thank you! Gotta be Alton Brown, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, and the folks over at America's Test Kitchen - all huge minds and vast resources of cooking knowledge.

lil_locomotor1249 karma

What is fast food you love even as a professional chef?

OliverBabish2371 karma

Arby's roast beef, curly fries, and a jamocha all day

vvi7ch1195 karma

What's your routine for keeping that luscious beard in top shape?

OliverBabish1715 karma

Every day: trim, shampoo, condition, oil, brush (100 strokes)

WorkKrakkin1099 karma

100 strokes

Okay no need to brag Andrew...

OliverBabish1354 karma

Gotta go till your arm gets tired!

Gomez360001148 karma

What kitchen items can you not live without? Besides tiny whisk, of course.

OliverBabish1741 karma

A wicked sharp knife, a big ol' fuck-off cutting board, an enameled cast iron dutch oven, a heavy metal spatula, and a wooden dowel - the possibilities are endless.

kazamasta311105 karma

Gordon Ramsey collab? A man can dream right?

OliverBabish1163 karma

You and me both!!

Hoot_Cake939 karma

Hey Andrew!

I know you've made videos on weeknight meals, which are a really great resource.

I was wondering if you have any plans to make a basics on meal prep days, lunch prep etc?

OliverBabish1105 karma

Definitely wanna do one of those in the future! Just trying to figure out exactly what I'm going to be able to add to the conversation; I don't want it to be too simple, nor too complex, and I'd like to come up with some tips that mealday preppers haven't heard of yet. Will definitely be coming soon!

komanti123889 karma

whats the best/cheapest recipe you can make on a crockpot for 2 people?

OliverBabish1509 karma

Probably pulled pork - crock pots run pretty hot, even on the low setting, so anything you let cook all day while you're at work is going to have the everloving shit braised out of it. Might as well use something super-tough and full of delicious connective tissue that can handle it!

SangEntar885 karma

Really liked the episode you did with the young family and the girl in the wheelchair who was your biggest fan. Fantastic to see the lengths you and your contacts went to to make her day. Must admit I spent a lot of the video crying because of it. Please keep on doing things like that, it was amazing!

Do you have plans to do similar videos?

OliverBabish846 karma

Hey thanks!! EDIT: link to the video they're referencing

Definitely, plenty more episodes of Being coming up - among which are buying my brother his dream car (coming out this Friday!), and surprising a family that's been affected by cancer in a very similar manner to mine.

LSagy872 karma

In a previous AMA done by the the late Anthony Bourdain, he said stated that one of his guilty pleasures is the Mac and Cheese served at fast food restaurants. What is your guilty pleasure that would be considered a “faux pas” among the culinary community?

OliverBabish1271 karma

Airplane food. Call me Elaine Benes, because...I kinda like it.

smoboaty839 karma

If the moon was made of spare ribs would you eat it??

OliverBabish788 karma

Hey! What if...hey!

chuanlee836 karma

You often feature either strange, rare, or extremely rare ingredients in your videos.

Which was the hardest one to source and is there a specific store you swear by?

OliverBabish1220 karma

Trying to source durian during the off-season was a goddamn nightmare - the only one I managed to find was whole, frozen, and in fucking Bay Ridge brooklyn (at the time, I lived in Harlem, so that was a trek). For most hard-to-source ingredients nowadays, I'm able to hop over to chinatown! They got all the coolest stuff there.

JavierLoustaunau769 karma

Have you ever taken a stab at tossed salad and scrambled eggs?

I discovered during one of my past keto diets that it is surprisingly good. Just let the eggs cool a little bit.

OliverBabish750 karma

Definitely gonna do that essential tribute to Frasier in the very near future!

iBikealot738 karma

I'm sure this is a long shot but.... Would you be up for getting some beers at a brewery (Buckledown brewing) close to the bookstore you'll be at in Lagrange, IL next week?

Regardless, thanks for all you do. You are the epitome of what we need in society today. Humble, funny, inspirational, etc.

OliverBabish1332 karma

Aw man that's so nice!! Thank you - and thank you very much for the invitation, but after the show, I'll be meeting a bunch of my girlfriend's family for the first time 😬wish me luck!!

LedLaze728 karma

How and where do you get or come up with the recipes that you use in your videos?

OliverBabish1154 karma

They're basically a mishmash of my favorite recipes/ones that I've found through research, and totally depend on the subject matter: for instance, apple strudel from Inglourious Basterds was the result of reaching a whole bunch of blogs where folks were posting their oma's secret recipes, and creating an amalgam of the things I learned there. Milk steak, however, was just me messing around the ol' kitchen late at night!

noteric528 karma

Do you have a favorite noodle dish?

OliverBabish790 karma


Seriously though, probably something spicy, broth-y, meaty - ramen or noodle soups from the Golden Mall in Flushing

Wiggie49499 karma

Have you gone to any real Chinese sit down restaurants in NYC? If so what’s your favorite?

OliverBabish535 karma

Pinch Chinese has been a nice place to visit for lunch!

vulvasaur001497 karma

Hey Babby,

  1. My boyfriend and I love your watch collection, but we always cringe at the idea of cooking while wearing an expensive watch. Do you ever get scared you'll ruin one of your (admittedly awesome) watches?

  2. You've collaborated with a few youtubers and chefs in the past. Is there any chef/youtuber you'd love to collaborate with but haven't been able to yet?

Lastly I would love for you to try your hand at a Francesinha (in my humble foodie opinion, it's the best sandwich in the entire world).

I love your show and watch every single episode! (and I will buy your book) Cheers :)

OliverBabish956 karma

  1. Yeah it's a fear, but nothing tends to get on/in the watches! I figured if my arms are one of the more visible elements of the show, I might as well make them fucking baller.

  2. Alton Brown, Chef John, Doug DeMuro, Definitely Gordon Ramsay - I want him to tear me a new one

That looks delicious - at the very least, I'll definitely try it myself!

steeloh464 karma

Hey Andrew, thanks for doing this! Your show is great, and it just keeps getting better.

Two questions:

  • Favorite season of The West Wing?
  • Has your voice always been that smooth and dreamy or did you do some sort of vocal lesson routine?


OliverBabish754 karma

Hey thanks!!

  • West Wing's Season 1 finale/Season 2 premiere episodes are some of the greatest hours in television history
  • If you go back and watch my first episode, then listen to my most recent, you will notice that it's gotten noticeably deeper, which is kinda freaking me out.

Pepe362435 karma

How did you think dunking your finger into a vat of boiling mash was going to turn out?

Sorry but it was fucking hilarious

OliverBabish655 karma

Hah I didn't realize people would take that seriously/that I was such an amazing actor! That vat was actually bubbling from fermentation, and was room temperature - if it were actually boiling, I mighta lost that finger!

brunerpl433 karma

How do you find time to cook quality meals when you have a 9-5?

OliverBabish614 karma

Meal prep is a must - you gotta have things either laid out or mostly prepared, so you're not cranking in the kitchen for 2 hours each night after a full day of work. Prepping individual meals or making big-batch recipes with multiple leftovers-applications (red sauce, whole roast chicken, meatloaf) is very helpful as well!

keilwerth422 karma

Do you and Dan (from Cook's Illustrated) have a thing going on?

OliverBabish502 karma

I certainly hope so

AdAstraPerMoney403 karma

Thanks for doing this!

When you hit the gym, do you use protein shakes, or craft a protein-nutrient diet?

And how do you figure out what to make to eat every day?

OliverBabish610 karma

Thanks for coming! I've actually been pretty garbage at going to the gym lately - prepping for this book tour meant marathon-shooting/editing 7 episodes in a row! This past Saturday, I woke up and realized I hadn't left my house in 6 days. It's been kinda intense.

But to answer your question, I generally toss a scoop of soy protein in a blender bottle after the gym.

As for making things to eat every day, it's really what looks good at the grocery store! I tend to cook very simple meals for myself (protein, vegetable, grain), and save the wacky creative energy for the show!

CaptainPatchie400 karma

Omg I love you! What’s your go-to drunk MacDonalds order?

OliverBabish696 karma

I love you more! 10 dank nuggs, buffalo sauce

maelchior176316 karma

Favorite go-to spot to eat in NYC?

OliverBabish481 karma

When I'm trying to be healthy, I appreciate that there's almost as many Dig Inn's as Starbucks nowadays - when I'm trying to sit down, I love Alvin Cailan's place The Usual (not just because he's my friend, it's legit awesome) - when I'm splurging, I hit Del Posto

potatoaster308 karma

What are your thoughts on Good Eats: The Return?

OliverBabish411 karma

Way overdue but glad it's finally with us

Alaskan2017252 karma

What are your plans for this brewpub? I’m excited for it and I don’t even live in NY

OliverBabish924 karma

It's going to be a brewpub, coffee shop, and production studio all in one - you'll be able to come in, have a beer, try some snacks from the show, grab a t-shirt if you want, and watch me make the show live whenever I'm filming. We also have a concept we're developing for a talk show, where you can be an audience member by visiting the brewpub on the right day/time! It's going to be a little YouTube ecosystem you can walk right into and be a part of.

It's also going to have some fucking sexy beer brewed by one of the best craft breweries in America, Southern Grist, and a rotating selection of coffees.

Right now the front-running name is "The Babish".

saimirinae250 karma

Of course there are the typical pastas and sandwiches, but what's an underlooked meal that is surprisingly simple and easy to make when you don't have any time/energy? Looking to stock the fridge with more variety!

OliverBabish293 karma

Hmm that's a tough one! I'm a New Yorker, so if I'm short on time, I'll admit that I just hit up Seamless 😬I guess stir fry and/or fried rice, you can generally whip it up with what might be in the fridge/freezer, and in no time flat! Oh and risotto - you can make it in a pressure cooker for a faster, no-stir method over on Serious Eats, check it out!

lifecereals212 karma

Do you miss being super popular on reddit, and has the shift in popularity on reddit affected you?

I used to see every single video you posted reach the front page, now I dont see any videos from you posted on here.

OliverBabish490 karma

Nah, /r/videos is more about finding the coolest new stuff happening in the world of internet videos, not sharing something that most folks in the community already know about - happily, it hasn't affected my viewership, as I've built my own audience on YouTube thanks to Reddit's acting as a springboard! Something for which I'll always be extremely grateful!

Also, /r/bingingwithbabish is a lovely community where folks share their recreations, memes, and any other fun content they come across

stephanie_io210 karma

Have you ever played Cooking Mama?

I think it'd be super fun to watch you play the game and recreate the recipes.

There's another YouTuber who's done it but I don't think he's updated the series in quite a while.

OliverBabish209 karma

I've not! I'm gonna be doing a lot of flying over the next week, so I will definitely get that downloaded to the ol' Switcheroo

raccoozie201 karma

What food/dish from a movie/show is at the bottom of your backlog that you keep putting off or refuse to recreate?

OliverBabish313 karma

It was hand-pulled noodles for the longest time - finally got that one behind me. I mentioned this elsewhere, but Reese's turkey-stuffed-in-a-monkfish is going to have to happen eventually...I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to it.

Ferv0ur182 karma

What's the 'low hanging fruit' of cooking that beginners might ignore or undervalue?

OliverBabish304 karma

Keeping it SIMPLE - lots of people (including myself) attempt to cook well above their "pay grade" when they're just starting out. Figure out the basics of how and why food behaves the way it does, and the rest will fall into place!

thedb48164 karma

What’d your favorite midnight snack? Btw your videos are amazing!

OliverBabish771 karma

Thank you!! Dark chocolate and peanut butter, especially if I'm...partaking. In something. Green. That you set aflame.


maitaihelpyou162 karma

Who is your favorite guest on your channel?

OliverBabish446 karma

Gotta be Jon Favreau - I mean he gave me the carving fork from Chef for godssakes!

chotaloda132 karma

How's life going?

OliverBabish217 karma

Hey thanks for asking! Pretty fucking crazy - the last three weeks (and the two weeks to come) have been the busiest of my life, but this is my absolute dream job, so you certainly won't hear me complain :)

TheSeattleSeven120 karma

Do you clean your workspace as you go along or is it usually a big mess all at the end?

OliverBabish168 karma

Definitely try to clean as I go along, but things inevitably pile up - I'm a procrastinator in and out of the kitchen!

MMCFrye115 karma

What is the most common misconception about you?

OliverBabish325 karma

That I wear a bald cap - this is 100% real scalp, fellas.

But for serious, that I'm a chef: I'm not, I'm an enthusiastic home cook, and if you watch the episode of The Burger Show where I get put through my paces in Alvin Cailan's kitchen, you'll know that I haven't earned that title.

Puns_go_here115 karma

How long does an average video take to produce? Like, do you do a brainstorming session and think of 10 recipes and work on the research and sourcing all at once? The videos with multi day recipes always impress me, so I wondered how long developing those takes.

Also, I used to enjoy cooking, but your videos have inspired me to go and play around with cooking and now I love cooking. It’s so much more fun now, so Thank you!

OliverBabish230 karma

I'm a horrible procrastinator, so I'm generally conceptualizing/shooting/editing/finishing any given episode in the days before its release. Really need to work on my organization and planning if I wanna expand this organization!

I'd say any given episode of Binging takes between 20-30 hours tail-to-snout. We film Basics in batches, since it requires a small crew to operate multiple cameras, so we marathon for a week 4x a year, knocking out 8-12 episodes at a time, which are then edited a la carte. Being is a whole other animal, since it generally involves a huge amount of planning and travel, so I couldn't count the hours on that one if I tried!

Shualdon105 karma

Any fan meeting planned in the future?

OliverBabish126 karma

Book tour's going on now! 10 cities over the next 10 days!

motherof_cats12 karma

Hi Andrew! Congrats on your book release and other successes. My fiancé Alex and I are huge fans and love to wind down in the evenings watching BWB.

We're getting married November 9th in Knoxville, TN! Wanna come??

OliverBabish18 karma

Thank you!!

Oof we are ships in the night - I'll be in TN in a few days for the book tour, and will probably be too exhausted to travel much more after that! Thank you for the invite though, and congratulations!!

Scurvy-Jones7 karma

How often do you cook for your friends? And do you have a favorite dish you like to prepare for friends/family? I love cooking and I love eating my food, but I love sharing my food more than anything.

OliverBabish13 karma

I throw dinner parties once in a while - my July 4th parties are outta control. Last time, I made pimento cheese double smash burgers, reuben hot dogs, german potato salad, watermelon salad, and brownie sundaes for dessert. I've learned to keep it simple - people generally don't want to be challenged at a dinner party, and they'll be way more impressed with an amazing burger than a conceptually aggravating 10-course tasting.

Sharing your food is one of the best parts of cooking!! Keep it up!

lukehere_4 karma

Would you ever do a Rochester NY episode?

OliverBabish2 karma

Went to Rochester for an upcoming episode of Being! And I did garbage plates a while back - but I'm always down to laud the Flower City (birthplace of Kodak, Susan B. Anthony, and John Lithgow) whenever I can in the future.