A Chick-fil-A employee has posted a video on TikTok purporting to show the amount of chicken nuggets that are thrown out by the fast-food chain daily.
In the footage, the worker can be seen by what appears to be another employee tossing away a full tray of chicken nuggets into the trash. The caption of the now-viral video read: “What they do every night with the chicken nuggets at Chick-fil-A.”
The video, which only lasted a few seconds, has since amassed more than 7.4 million views, per Newsweek.
The outlet reported that a user commented: “The amount of food we throw away and the amount of starving people there are just doesn’t sit right with me.”
One person who said they formerly worked at Chick-fil-A wrote that the chain’s workers were not allowed to take home uneaten food, or they would be penalized. “I used to work at [Chick-fil-A] and we would get written up if we took food home and didn’t throw it out. They were stingy [as f***] which is why I quit,” they alleged, according to Newsweek.
A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A told Insider in response to the video: “We aren’t able to determine which Chick-fil-A restaurant this occurred at but can provide some clarity to what may have occurred. Chick-fil-A restaurants have high food safety and quality standards, so when food falls outside a certain hold time we’re no longer able to safely serve it in our restaurants.”
According to Chick-fil-A’s website, the chain has a food donation program called Chick-fil-A Shared Table, which launched in 2012. The program is intended to fight hunger in local communities “by donating surplus food to local soup kitchens, shelters and nonprofits to feed those in need.”
It is unclear, however, if the Chick-fil-A location filmed in the video was part of the program.
A McDonald’s employee who worked at a branch in Louisville, Kentucky, apparently quit their job by posting a sign at a drive-through on Saturday night.
A photo of the sign read: “We are closed because I am quitting and I hate this job.” It was shared on Twitter by a user, Great Ape Dad, who spotted the posting the following morning.
He later explained in a follow-up tweet that the sign was stuck up by a night shift manager who had “suddenly quit” the night before and closed up shop early, Today reported.
Great Ape Dad told Today he was en route to pick up the new BTS meal for his wife, when he came across the note. “I took a picture, uploaded it to Twitter, not thinking much of anything about it,” he said. “And much to my surprise, it’s had quite a success.”
Apparently, employees were unaware of the note until he pointed it out to them.
“I used to work in the service industry myself,” the user added. “I think that people are just frustrated, especially the working-class people who are there in the front line … things that are in a boiling point where I can definitely see where someone on a Saturday night that doesn’t want to be working the drive-thru – wants to just call it quits.”
McDonald’s did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story.
Frustrated employees are often choosing to depart their roles, rather than wait around and hope things will change.
In an interview with Insider’s Áine Cain, a former employee at Dollar General rage-quit her job in the springtime of 2021, after finding her drowning in an increasingly fraught work environment.
“By the time you get down to that lowly stay-at-home mom that just wanted a part-time job – who is earning less than a hundred dollars a week because she’s making $7.25 an hour and only working 10 hours a week – it’s not worth it,” the employee told Insider.
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Ice cream is the perfect summer treat, and vegan options are more abundant than ever.
Sure, you may have heard of Oatly and So Delicious, but the world of artisan vegan ice cream is vast.
Here are 6 vegan ice cream brands you probably haven’t heard of but need to try this summer.
My picks include an olive oil ice cream, macadamia nut milk ice cream, and coconut meat ice cream.
I am a full-time food journalist and eat more ice cream than anyone I know. Over the years, I’ve published stories about the best ice cream parlors in the United States, gourmet soft serve, ice cream sandwiches and artisan ice cream makers that began shipping their ice cream nationally during the pandemic. I’ve even been invited to judge gelato festivals and weighed in on new flavors by cult favorite ice cream makers at company headquarters. Last summer, I received 60 pints of ice cream from nearly a dozen different brands delivered on the same day and all the liquid nitrogen fog permeated my entire house.
Recently, I’ve discovered more and more great plant-based ice creams popping up. I’ve tasted through flavors from more than 20 different vegan ice cream brands and have learned that vegan ice cream can be just as delightful and delicious as dairy ice cream. Even if you’re not vegan, trying plant-based ice creams offer unique flavor combinations you won’t find in dairy ice cream.
Sure, I’ve tried the usual vegan ice cream suspects you find in grocery stores, but I’ve been truly delighted by the small-batch artisanal brands, many of which are charting new territory in the world of plant-based ice cream. Below you’ll find six bespoke vegan ice cream brands that I love; many you probably haven’t heard of before.
Here are 6 vegan ice cream brands worth trying this summer:
The first and only macadamia milk ice cream
Mauna Loa Macadamia Milk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, $9.99 per pint, available on Instacart and Mauna Loa
Most vegan ice creams are made with coconut, cashew, soy or almond milk bases, but Hawaii’s most famous producer of macadamia nuts, Mauna Loa, has upped the ante, debuting the first and only macadamia milk-based frozen dessert this summer.
Higher in monounsaturated fat and lower in carbs than other popular nuts, macadamia makes for an ultra creamy base that’s also keto-diet friendly. Flavors like Kona coffee, vanilla orchid and mango liliko’i showcase more of Hawaii’s natural bounty and there’s even the cheeky Rocky Road to Hana, named for the famous winding drive on Maui. This is the most decadent flavor of all — a fudgy chocolate base studded with soft marshmallows and crunchy macadamias instead of almonds.
While you can purchase pints online, they’re also available at Sprouts in 23 states and Albertsons and Safeway locations in California, Texas, New Mexico, Hawaii and Seattle.
A small batch oat milk ice cream with inventive mix-ins
Oat milk is the plant-based milk alternative of choice among baristas for its thick, creamy texture in lattes and cappuccinos, so it’s no surprise that it also makes a rich ice cream base. Sisters Courtney Blagrove and Zan B.R. make their own oat milk for their new line of oat milk “ice crème” at Whipped Urban Dessert Lab. This stuff is better than Oatly and chock full of mix-ins like strawberry shortcake crumbles, chocolate cookie chunks, and cinnamon apple crisp.
This is the first ice cream brand that I’ve seen where the pint packaging is labeled upside down too. Apparently, storing ice cream (or ice crème!) upside down in the freezer helps prevent freezer burn because any partially melted bits will collect on the lid, which keeps ice crystals from forming.
Next time I’m in New York, my first stop will be Whipped Urban Dessert Lab’s Lower East Side storefront to try a swirl of sweet creme and chocolate twist at the world’s first oat milk soft serve shop.
A modern Mediterranean plant-based gelato
Wildgood Plant-Based Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, $9 per pint, available on Instacart and Wildgood
Olive oil has been a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet for millennia, but could it also be the secret to rich, creamy vegan ice cream that’s low in saturated fat? Rather than using nut milk, Wildgood relies on a blend of extra virgin olive oil, pea protein and chicory root fiber, sweetened with fructose, to achieve a soft and creamy consistency straight out of the freezer. All of the olive oil comes from Greek ice cream maker Sotiris Tsichlopoulos’ family’s ancient groves in Corfu.
For an ice cream so low in saturated fat and calories, Wildgood is surprisingly rich and you can really taste the olive oil in each flavor, adding a sophisticated savory undertone. Chocolate hazelnut is a favorite, reminiscent of the best gianduja chocolate spread I’ve ever tried in Piedmont.
With such a short ingredient list, the quality of each ingredient is paramount. Simple flavors without many mix-ins allow ingredients like Alphonso mango, California pistachios and Oregon hazelnuts to shine.
Wildgood is available in eight flavors so far, and you can find it on Instacart or order online to ship anywhere in the continental United States.
Scoops on Tap was created by two friends who love craft beer and ice cream and wanted to blend them together for a line of beer- and spirit-infused ice creams. Up until recently, their product was only available at farmers market and specialty retailers in Southern California, but now they’re shipping pints nationally with Goldbelly.
After Hours vanilla bourbon is a year-round favorite that I most enjoy with a shot of espresso poured over top and sprinkled liberally with toasted cacao nibs. The sumptuously smooth texture is a combination of a coconut cream and oat milk and don’t worry — it’s less than 5% ABV.
Seasonally, many more plant-based boozy ice creams are available, like Cocosaurus Rex, a toasted coconut ice cream with a fair trade dark chocolate fudge swirl infused with a coconut stout, and Madeline, a lemon and grape sorbet steeped on toasted oak chips infused with a grape sour ale. The latter is perfect as a refreshing float with prosecco if you wish to add more booze to the equation.
Hand harvested certified organic and fair-trade young coconut meat, plus coconut sugar and raw coconut oil forms the holy coconut trinity that is the base of all Sacred Serve gelato flavors. Superfoods like matcha green tea, Afghan saffron, chaga mushrooms and raw cacao are blended in for an ingredient list that’s so nutritious you’re almost suspicious that these could possibly taste good — until you take the first bite. This gelato is subtly sweet with a super creamy texture.
Sacred Serve’s newest flavor is a reinvention of childhood favorite cookies and cream with tigernut cookies instead of typical Oreos. The cookie crumble is darkened with activated charcoal and made with prebiotic-rich tigernut flour and adaptogenic mucuna.
The gelato is rock hard when you first pull it from the freezer, so you need to let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so to melt to a creamy consistency. You can find Sacred Serve in more than 150 stores across the country including Whole Foods, Foxtrot, Plum Market and Erewhon.
Lisa Stoy’s plant-based gelatos all have four ingredients or less, starting with a coconut milk base sweetened with maple syrup, plus fresh mint, vanilla beans, cardamom, turmeric or cacao depending on the flavor. The ice cream sandwiches at Green Girl Bakeshop have just the right ratio of cookie to ice cream, keeping the focus squarely on the ice cream with the cookies playing a supporting role.
Depending on the flavor, the ice cream is sandwiched between gluten-free chocolate chip, dark chocolate, or ginger cookies, made with cassava flour and applesauce. It almost sounds too healthy to be a cookie, but they freeze nicely, remaining soft enough to bite into without the ice cream squishing out the sides. The golden turmeric ice cream with ginger cookies and the classic vanilla bean ice cream sandwich with chocolate chip cookies are the best of the bunch.
Our testing methodology
I’m a food journalist with a predilection for ice cream and I’ve been known to regularly finish a pint in one sitting. Recently, I have been eating a predominantly plant-based diet and made it my mission to find the best plant-based ice creams that are just as satisfying as the dairy ice cream I’ve known and loved.
Flavor: Favorite flavors vary widely among ice cream lovers, so I included ice creams that recreated classic flavors impeccably as well as innovating new flavors. Most of all, I should be able to easily discern the flavor in a blind taste test and the ice cream shouldn’t taste muddied or cloyingly sweet. You should be able to eat a full scoop without feeling like you’ve developed a cavity.
Texture: A great plant-based ice cream should mimic the decadently smooth and satisfying mouthfeel of premium dairy ice cream. I chose ice creams that didn’t taste watery or gummy and didn’t develop too many ice crystals.
Ingredients: The best plant-based ice creams use high-quality ingredients, and I looked for shorter ingredient lists made with real foods rather than ice creams filled with emulsifiers and sweetened with corn syrup or glucose syrup. For example, Oatly’s frozen dessert, which includes dextrose, dried glucose syrup and rapeseed oil, did not make the cut.
Check out our other vegan and vegetarian food guides
The books cover the basics as well as how to master French pastries and temper chocolate.
It’s no secret baking is a science – only the right ingredients interact properly to create chewy cookies, flaky pie crust, and airy cakes. Pastry chefs work hard to get those measurements right, and many pass on their knowledge in beautiful cookbooks. But which ones belong on your bookcase?
I reached out to James Beard Award Winner Joanne Chang (owner of Flour Bakery and Myers + Chang in Boston) and “Chopped Sweets” Winner Amber Croom (owner of And 4 Dessert confectionary studio in Baltimore) to find out which cookbooks every beginner and expert home baker needs. Many of the picks are classics that have been around for years, with the best now in its second, revised edition.
For those who learn better by watching, I also combed through hours of videos to find the best YouTube channel for upgrading your baking skills, plus an online platform that brings some of the best pastry chefs’ classes right into your kitchen.
These baking cookbooks belong in any kitchen library, whether you’re looking to perfect your chocolate chip cookies, want to become an authority on French patisserie, or simply love a great homemade loaf of sourdough.
10 great expert-recommended baking books and online baking resources:
The original edition of the “Tartine” cookbook was published in 2006 and became an instant classic among pastry chefs, home bakers, and fans of the legendary San Francisco bakery. “It’s gorgeous, the pastries are both familiar and special, the recipes WORK,” says Chang. “It’s so inspiring to read and I love every page.” For the award-winning 2019 edition, Pruett and Robertson doubled the number of recipes with all-new photography, making this a must-have for any cookbook collection.
While new bakers may dream of macarons, it’s easier to start with simple American recipes and slowly learn the science behind your bakes. Those two reasons alone are why “BraveTart” is the perfect cookbook to start exploring in the kitchen. Parks not only incorporates great stories for each recipe; she composes each one in a way that professional chefs and home bakers can use, says Croom. “BraveTart is amazing — all of the pastries you grew up with as a kid, but made by a master baker,” adds Chang.
Jim Lahey turned the pastry world upside down with the publication “My Bread,” which proved bread machines and exhausting kneading techniques aren’t necessary. “He started a bread revolution with his way of baking bread and every loaf I’ve ever had from this book tastes just like it does in his bakeries Sullivan St Bakery,” says Chang. More than a decade later, its flawless recipes are still a must-have for anyone who wants to bake bread at home.
Every home baker has a story about a cake disaster since they are incredibly tricky to get right. Rose Levy Berenbaum’s classic “The Cake Bible” has taught a whole generation of bakers the mistakes to avoid, and everything else you need to know to turn out delicious cakes. “It has every single cake you can ever imagine and Rose is generous with her expertise and knowledge,” says Chang. “I’ve learned so much about cake baking just from reading and baking through this book.”
Chocolate makes gorgeous desserts that are a delight to eat, but it can be quite temperamental and frustrates even the most expert of pastry chefs. “Chocolate,” from the famous culinary school Ferrandi Paris, gives readers step-by-step instructions to master the medium. “It covers everything from utensils to tempering chocolate,” says Croom. “It’s like going to a chocolate academy without the price tag, but in book form.”
Mastering patisserie takes time, patience, and a lot of butter. Jacquy Pfeiffer, the founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School, created “The Art of French Pastry” as a comprehensive guide that helps readers with the fundamentals and gives easy-to-follow instructions. “You can tell from every recipe in the book that Chef Pfeiffer has years of teaching classic French pastries,” says Croom.
Erin Jeanne McDowell, whose work is regularly featured in “The New York Times,” Food 52, and on Food Network Kitchen, is one of America’s foremost experts on pies. In this pie cookbook, “she covers everything you could ever want to know about creating the perfect pie,” says Croom. That includes everything from making the flakiest crusts and picturesque decorations to mastering savory pies.
Baking with whole-grain flours can help home bakers create delicious desserts beyond the usual all-purpose flour. “Good to the Grain” features 75 recipes that cover a dozen different whole-grain flours, from buckwheat to teff. “You will learn so much about how different flours enhance both taste and texture of baked goods,” says Chang. Boyce does utilize white flour in her recipes, so this is good for those beginning to experiment with different flours.
Created by Chefs Sébastien Canonne and Jacquy Pfeiffer, The Butter Book is a portal to everything a burgeoning pastry expert needs. It houses more than 170 baking video lessons, articles, a glossary, and courses on bread making, classic pastries, and cake decorating. The platform is available for $25 a month, or $200 for a year.
Fast-food chain Taco Bell is the latest company to get in on the huge vaccination drive taking place across the state of California. It is offering free tacos to customers who have received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccines from Tuesday.
Customers who show their vaccination card at participating California Taco Bell restaurants will be eligible for a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos taco at no cost, the company said in a press release.
The company announced its offer as part of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Vax for the Win incentive program.
Mark King, CEO of Taco Bell Corp, said in the press release: “It’s been a tough year, and we are all ready to put COVID-19 behind us.”
“We are thrilled to do our part and give back to our home state with something everyone knows and loves to celebrate those who have made the decision to get vaccinated,” he added.
At least 70% of Californian adults have received at least one dose of immunization, according to Newsom. However, there is still a large population of young people who need to get vaccinated or receive their second dose.
The brand hopes the effort will increase vaccinations in these specific groups to help reopen the state in a safe manner.
Frasca told Fox that Straight Wharf Restaurant had been hit by other worker shortages in recent years but that the current problem was “particularly acute.”
“There are no applicants out there,” Frasca said. “Where we might, in the past, get 20 applicants a day, we’re seeing one or two and usually without applicable experience.”
Frasca said that the upscale restaurant needs experienced staff, and that it’s better to focus on the quality of new hires rather than the quantity.
“It’s always better to be down a man than we are putting someone in the position where they’re going to fail,” he said. “That being said, we are at the point where it is going to affect our business and it is impacting our operations.”
He said the restaurant planned to return to a seven-day schedule in a few weeks – but that this might not happen if it can’t find enough workers.
“Right now when we need to fill 11, 12, 13 positions, we’re pretty far away from that.”
I took 11 MasterClass cooking courses and made everything from Beef Wellington to huevos rancheros.
If you don’t have experience making complete meals day after day, it can feel overwhelming to search for a reliable recipe, complete multiple tasks at once, or roast everything long enough without burning or overcooking your dinner.
For $180 a year, or $15 each month, MasterClass gives you unlimited access to online courses from celebrities and world-renowned experts. It can be a pricey investment, but each course includes multiple lessons via episodes – sometimes as many as 36 videos – as well as a full-color PDF workbook featuring recipes and tips.
Additionally, there’s a community forum for each class where you can post questions, get extra info, and potentially interact with the instructor.
Also included in your membership is access to classes in film & TV, music & entertainment, writing, business, design, sports, and more.
The class is taught by the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star establishment widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in the world. Most recently, Bottura has gained additional notoriety during the pandemic with his free Kitchen Quarantine series on Instagram.
In this four-hour course, Bottura covers his modern twist on classic Italian dishes, incorporating causes that are important to him such as reducing food waste. He also invites members of Il Tortellante, a fresh pasta workshop for disadvantaged kids, to help make tortellini.
So far, I’ve made two dishes from the course. First was the Sogliola al Cartoccio, or Mediterranean-style sole. Due to grocery shortages during the pandemic, I had to substitute some ingredients, but the finished product was beautiful, delicious, and healthy. Plus, it was relatively easy to make and didn’t take long.
The other dish I made is less of a dish and more of a new habit. Bottura talks about a “Broth of Everything,” a vegetarian broth he makes using vegetable scraps. I started doing this using a gallon bag stored in my freezer. Once it was full, I dehydrated it overnight in the oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The next morning, I put all of the dehydrated, aromatic scraps in a stockpot along with some herbs and simmered it for six hours. The resulting broth is like liquid gold, and yes the name suggests, I use it in everything.
In his 17-lesson class that runs about three-and-a-half hours, Ansel, the inventor of the cronut and winner of several James Beard Awards, walks you through the steps of how to make mini madeleines, fruit tarts, a chocolate cake, bonbons, and croissants. He also delves into how you can use your new skills to make your own inventions. The class is supported by a 59-page, full-color workbook and an active discussion forum, where you can get help. While I was testing the class, Ansel hosted a live lesson which was really fun and informative.
I chose to tackle the four-lesson recipe for Ansel’s strawberry tart. Though you can complete the whole process in a full day of baking, I decided to do it over the course of a weekend.
I’d never made anything like this strawberry tart before and was a bit intimidated, but Ansel did an excellent job of putting me at ease. The only ingredient I couldn’t find was NH pectin, and I didn’t like the prices online so I used apple pectin instead, even though he says not to. The glaze didn’t come out as beautiful as it could have been, but the resulting tart was still visually-appealing and absolutely delicious. When I shared a picture of it with my local foodie group, I got several requests for the recipe.
‘Cooking I’ with Gordon Ramsay
Even if you’re just starting to find your way around the kitchen, “Cooking I” with Gordon Ramsay has a lot to offer with a balanced collection of lessons ranging from kitchen layout to making his famous Beef Wellington.
With Ramsay’s history of laying into chefs and restauranteurs who don’t live up to his standards on his various TV shows, I expected brusque advice and harsh instructions going into Cooking I, the first of his two MasterClass courses. However, this ended up being far from the truth – Ramsay exhibits the gentleness you see on the cooking competition for children, “MasterChef Junior.”
In the 20-lesson class, Ramsay gives a little history of how he got to where he is today. He covers the basics, including kitchen layout, knife skills, making pasta, and scrambling eggs before delving into fancier dishes.
I decided to take a crack at the Wellington, which took me about four hours. My favorite part of the process was learning how to make crêpes. The first couple I made were horrible, but by the fourth and fifth, I felt like an old pro. The Wellington looked amazing and tasted darn good – definitely restaurant-quality. In fact, I’d previously ordered a beef Wellington at an English restaurant and it didn’t compare to the flavor and quality of my effort. I plan on making this for special occasions in the future.
‘Mexican Cooking’ with Gabriela Camara
I absolutely loved the flavors of the huevos rancheros recipe Gabriella Camara shares in her Mexican Cooking MasterClass. It also encouraged me to make salsa verde for the first time, which was easy and delicious.
Her course is rather short compared to others – only 13 lessons and less than three-and-a-half hours of content. Also, the skills you learn don’t really translate to other cuisines.
Still, if you’re interested in learning how to make authentic Mexican dishes, including tortillas, this course is worth your time and money.
‘Cooking Techniques I: Vegetables, Pasta, and Eggs’ with Thomas Keller
Keller is best known for The French Laundry, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Yountville, California (and arguably the best in the world). This is the second of Keller’s three MasterClass courses, and it offers an overwhelming amount of content.
He explains different cuts of beef, pork, poultry, and lamb and what they are used for as well as how to wet- and dry- age. He touches on the different ways of cooking meat, including pan-roasting, frying, oven-roasting, braising, and grilling. In the process, he offers recipes that are accessible yet refined.
My favorite recipe was the Chicken Paillard with Arugula Salad and Sauce Vierge. I had an easy time making it, and everyone in the family enjoyed it. I was struck by how well the chicken and Vierge complemented each other. My teenager said it was his new favorite chicken dish and my wife was impressed by the presentation, so it’s now in our regular rotation.
‘Mixology’ with Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana
This mixology course focuses on making top-notch alcoholic beverages using readily available ingredients and equipment. There’s four and a half hours of content and a beautiful 53-page PDF giving recipes and more details about the drinks.
As a teetotaler, I was bummed that Marrero and Chetiyawardana didn’t provide many alcohol-free substitutes. Still, if you want to up your cocktail skills, this class is for you.
‘Texas-Style BBQ’ with Aaron Franklin
This is another course that will only appeal to a limited audience: those who have smokers and want to up their game.
From picking the right wood and maintaining the fire to choosing the right smoker design, Franklin dives into the details of what you need for a good smoke. He also shows you how to trim and season your meat.
I don’t have a smoker, but I tried the pork butt recipe in my oven following all of the same steps and the results were outstanding nonetheless. This class would be ideal for anyone who is just getting into smoking meat.
‘Cooking’ with Wolfgang Puck
In his cooking class, the celebrity chef walks you through his philosophy on cooking and business, how to train your palate, kitchen essentials, and even cocktails in addition to several inspired recipes. I liked that the skills you learn in the course can be used in a variety of contexts.
However, I relied heavily on the closed captioning due to Puck’s heavy Austrian accent. Also, I made his Béchamel sauce, an easy enough recipe, but found it lacked much depth of flavor.
Rather than go through countless recipes, Waters provides 17 lessons and nearly four hours of instruction on how to stock your pantry, outfit your kitchen, and get creative with the ingredients you have.
She also explores a few of her favorite home recipes, including tips on how to sub ingredients in and out. You can easily revisit the highlights in the 77-page full-color PDF workbook you receive with the class.
I made her oat pancakes, which were easy and healthy. As recommended by Waters, I topped the creation with a strawberry and pear compote. If I say so myself, the results were worthy of a restaurant in California. I enjoyed the depth of flavor (though it did not play too well with my kindergartener).
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What to know before taking a cooking course on MasterClass
In my hours of watching and testing the cooking courses, I picked up a few tips that might enhance your experience.
1. Watch the whole lesson before attempting to make a dish.
You don’t necessarily have to watch the previous lessons (though it often helps). However, you do need a good idea of the whole process before getting started on a recipe. I found it helped to bring my laptop to the kitchen with me, and I’d reference the workbook and the video – making frequent use of the pause button – while preparing meals.
2. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time.
All of the chefs are encouraging, but several stress the importance of practice. If anyone could quickly and easily produce restaurant-quality meals, these chefs would be out of a job. They break down the steps so you can easily learn them, but it may take a few tries before you can master Beef Wellington or perfect a fruit tart.
3. Feel free to use substitutions.
Fresh ingredients are also a must. Yet, the instructors understand that substitutions often need to be made based on where you live and make recommendations accordingly.
Some chefs suggest you turn to local sources for your ingredients when possible, such as a nearby farmers’ market. Or, you might consider signing up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, which is a subscription-based service that provides you with weekly boxes of fresh local farm products. In addition to the environmental and economic benefits, CSAs can help you minimize your time in grocery stores.
How we evaluated the culinary arts courses
The $180 price is very expensive for online courses, even if they are taught by award-winning chefs around the world. That’s why we tested and reviewed MasterClass with a more critical eye.
I spent hours and hours in front of the screen watching and following all of the culinary arts courses offered on MasterClass. I spent even more time in the kitchen trying my hand at following the tips and skills taught in the classes.
Here are the main attributes we look for and how we evaluate them:
Generalizability: Will what you learn in the course be helpful when you make other cuisines? Will it help you create your own dishes? For instance, learning precise knife skills is helpful when prepping any meal. However, learning to debone one specific species of fish that isn’t even available in your area might not be that useful.
Accessibility: Due to the current pandemic, I had a hard time procuring various ingredients – the stores in my area can be hit or miss. A good MasterClass course or chef will teach you how to cook with easy-to-find ingredients or offer suitable substitutes. Also, you shouldn’t need specialized equipment. If a class required devices that have limited applications, such as a grain mill or a tortilla press, it lost points in our evaluation.
Meal Quality: If you’re taking the time to learn how to cook from the best chefs in the world, you’d expect the resulting meals to be restaurant-quality. Based on the assessments from my wife, two sons, and myself, I used four criteria to assess dish quality: taste, appearance, likelihood to make again, and if the dish was good enough to serve in a nice restaurant.
Enjoyability: Does the instructor make it fun to make the dishes? Does it take a long time to prep and cook the meals? I looked at both of these questions when assessing how enjoyable a course was.
Quantity: How many lessons are there? How many minutes of video are there? How much info is in the PDF workbook that comes with the course? Are the discussion forums active? These factors all played a role in determining whether a course provided enough bang for your buck.
Narrator: Ketchup, it’s everywhere in the US. 97% of Americans have a bottle in their fridge. It’s the sauce we put on our hamburgers, our hot dogs, and our french fries. But the story of ketchup actually begins in Asia.
We think of ketchup as a thick red sauce, but it was something pretty different in the beginning. It originated as a thin soy sauce made from fermented fish most likely from a region called Tonkin, or in what we call Vietnam today. It was common throughout Southeast Asia in the 17th century. Ketchup was called kêtsiap, a Chinese word from the Amoy dialect that translates to “brine of pickled fish.”
Andrew Smith: I look at that and say, “How is it possible that this little product that starts in Indonesia goes to UK, comes to the US, and then, all of a sudden spread across this world.” The British had a colony in what is today Indonesia, and it is there that they first ran into the word kêtsiap, which meant to them soy sauce. Many other people visited them, they fell in love with soy sauce, and they would like to take the idea back to England. The problem was there were no soybeans growing in England at the time, so they began to experiment. “So rather than soybeans, let’s do mushrooms.” So they had mushroom ketchup. “Let’s do fish.” And so they had fish ketchup. And they said, “Let’s do beans, so let’s have bean ketchup.” So it became a long series of products that did not include tomatoes. So it really was something that was common and did not have a specific meaning other than it was a main product that was spiced.
Narrator: There are no rules for how the spell the word ketchup or for what defines it, so cooks experimented with a variety of ingredients to season meat, fish, bread, whatever needed flavor. Andrew Smith’s book, “Pure Ketchup,” contains 50 different historical ketchup recipes including Eliza Smith’s 1727 recipe which was the first one published in English. Some of the listed ingredients are anchovies, shallots, white wine vinegar, white wine, mace, ginger, cloves, peppers, a nutmeg, a lemon peel, and horseradish. So what happened to all those varieties of ketchup? Tomatoes. The 1812 recipe from James Mease is the first appearance of tomatoes in ketchup. But wait, what about Heinz, the ketchup we know and love?
Smith: H.J. Heinz was in the right place at the right time with the right product. So in one sense, it was just pure luck that he had a good product at the time that french fries came in, at the time that hot dogs came in, at the time that hamburgers came in. And it very quickly took over the market and it has dominated the market for the last 100 years.
Narrator: While tomato-based ketchup is the most common now, there are still specialty versions with spinach, carrots and butternut squash, cinnamon and cloves, jalapenos, Vindaloo spices, bacon, and truffles. So the next time you grab that bottle of ketchup, remember it wasn’t always tomato-based, and it traveled the world before it got to you.
Smith: Oh, look at that. It sticks. It doesn’t drip off. Let me have another one here to make sure the quality is as good as it should be.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in October 2018.
Aside from volunteering with or sending direct donations to nonprofits that make our world a better place, one way you can do your part throughout the year is to support businesses that give back. During these tumultuous times, giving back to those in need has never felt more urgent and necessary.
If you’re gifting your loved ones, it’ll only benefit more parties if you buy from companies with a social and environmental conscience.
When you buy a gift from these 32 companies, you’re also helping to plant a tree, improve livelihoods in underserved areas, save an animal, and more.
Shop at these 32 brands that give back all year long:
Popular shoe brand TOMS has expanded from its original shoe design and is now offering sneakers, sandals, heels, and even slippers. Philanthropy remains important to the brand, which continues to commit 1/3 of its profits to supporting various grassroots efforts.
Blk & Bold, a newly certified B-corporation, prides itself on prioritizing giving back as much as making a profit. The company donates 5% of its profits to supporting at-risk youth and works with over ten organizations with various missions to improve the lives of kids across the country.
Combine unique and fun finds with giving back through Uncommon Goods’ Better to Give program. Not only are you supporting small businesses by shopping with Uncommon Goods, but once you select a Better to Give partner, you’ll also be supporting the causes most important to you. Uncommon Goods currently works with organizations that focus on issues including forest conservation, supporting those whose lives have been impacted by conflict and natural disasters, and more.
Bookshop allows customers to support local bookstores from afar by allowing readers to purchase books directly from their favorite bookstores. If you would like to support a specific bookstore, use Bookshop’s store locator and your pick will receive 100% of the profit from the sale. Bookshop’s mission is to support independent bookstores by connecting them with potential customers.
Whether you’d like to gift athletic socks, hiking socks, or dress socks, Bombas has you — and the feet of someone in need — covered. For every pair purchased, it donates a specially-designed pair to a homeless shelter. It has donated more than 43 million pairs to more than 3,000 giving partners in the US.
When you buy a STATE bag, the company fills another with school supplies and gives it to a local student in need at a “Bag Drop” rally. It also shines a light on issues like mass incarceration, the Flint water crisis, and Black Lives Matter through its #WhatDoWeTellTheKids initiatives.
Leesa donates one mattress to a nonprofit for every 10 sold and has donated more than 37,000 mattresses so far. The gift of a better night’s sleep for your recipient (plus someone in need) comes in the form of four different mattresses.
For colorful outdoor and travel gear they’ll be proud to carry, shop at Cotopaxi, the B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation. So far, it has awarded 42 grants in six countries.
In line with its “Fewer, Better” philosophy, Cuyana encourages shoppers to clean out their closets by providing shipping labels to thredUP. Send in a box of high-quality apparel they no longer need, and they’ll receive a credit to shop at Cuyana. When that credit is spent, Cuyana donates 5% of the profit to H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma).
Skylar is a natural, eco-friendly fragrance company that makes candles and perfume perfect for gifting. It donates a portion of proceeds and time to Step Up, a nonprofit dedicated to mentorship for girls.
Thrive Market, a place to shop natural and organic products for less, offers a one-for-one membership program. That means that every paid membership gives a free one to someone in need, like a low-income family, student, teacher, veteran, or first responder.
Alltrue (formerly Causebox) stands out among the bevy of beauty and accessories subscription boxes by only featuring socially conscious products and companies that give back. Its main areas of impact are women’s empowerment, supporting disadvantaged producers, education and skill development, and poverty alleviation. The company itself also helps various charity partners raise funds and awareness.
Better-for-you snack subscription service Love With Food by SnackNation nourishes both stomach and soul by donating at least one meal to a family in need — through Feeding America — for every snack box purchased. Thanks to its subscribers’ healthy appetites for organic and all-natural snacks, it has donated over 1 million meals.
ThirdLove partners with Good360, I Support the Girls, and more organizations to donate its comfortable bras to women in need. It has donated more than $40 million of bras to date, and in the past, it has also donated a bra to a California wildfire victim for every bra purchased.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Warby Parker is only distributing glasses where where it can safely. In the meantime, it’s providing PPE and preventative health supplies to healthcare workers and communities in need for a portion of glasses purchased.
The conservation-minded outdoor brand pledges to remove one pound of trash from the planet’s oceans and waterways for every product sold. It has removed more than 3.5 million pounds of trash through organized cleanups, while also using more responsible materials like recycled polyester in its products.
Gone are the days of wasteful plastic haircare and skincare bottles. Ethique packs the essential ingredients into a concentrated bar that’s equivalent to three bottles of liquid shampoo, then donates 20% of profits to conservation, animal welfare, and environmental groups and “adopts” animals to pay for their care. It has worked with over 170 organizations worldwide and has ongoing partnerships with Rainforest Trust and HUHA, among others.
These eco-friendly mattresses are made from materials like natural latex harvested from sustainable tree-tapped sources and organic cotton. The company donates 1% of revenue to environmental nonprofits like Plastic Oceans International and Big Green.
Every purchase from this Japanese beauty-inspired brand helps fund girls’ education. Tatcha’s Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Future program with nonprofit Room to Read has funded more than 4.6 million days of school for girls in Asia and Africa.
Since 1985, Patagonia has donated $89 million to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups. It also donates to nonprofits through its Employee Charity Match program, invests in socially and environmentally minded companies through its own venture capital fund, and donates new and used clothing.
Yoobi partners with the Kids In Need Foundation to donate a school supply to a classroom every time you buy one of its products. We’re fans of its sturdy notebooks and weekly calendar planner pads. So far, it’s donated supplies to more than 4 million students.
Each month, this cat toy and treat subscription service donates a portion of proceeds and products to shelters, rescues, and other feline welfare causes. It supports more than 100 animal welfare organizations.
BarkBox has thousands of rescue and shelter partners that benefit from each subscription purchased. Be on the lookout for custom codes from your favorite organization. When you use the code, BarkBox donates $25 to that rescue or shelter.
Anyone who loves spending time at the beach should be more invested in protecting marine life. Sand Cloud, which makes Turkish cotton beach towels, donates 10% of profits to organizations that protect and preserve beaches and oceans.
Natori’s giving program is unique in that it’s customizable and gives you the power to support a cause you care about. When you add one of its bras or lounge products to your cart, you can choose the nonprofit org that will receive 1% of your purchase. There’s a whole directory of organizations but some featured ones include The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Equal Justice Initiative.
While a sharp knife can be dangerous if you’re not careful, a dull knife can actually do more harm. Dull knives cut poorly, causing you to apply extra force in the process, which increases the chance of injury. Additionally, dull knives tear up your food, rather than creating beautiful slices. Sharp knives have a longer lifespan, too, which is especially important for an expensive knife set.
The best knife sharpeners are easy to use and give you that desirable sharp edge. Because knife sharpeners exist in a variety of configurations, finding just the right type to best suit your needs requires a bit of research. If you’re a beginner knife honer, jump to the end of this guide for an in-depth explainer on how knife sharpeners work and a look at the different styles you may want to consider. If you already know what you’re after, dive right into our top picks.
Most electric knife sharpeners offer easy-to-use features, but the Trizor XV truly simplifies things with its three sharpening guides, starting with coarse before moving to fine and polishing. It also features a strong motor, which allows it to run smoothly during sharpening with no catches on the blade.
The Chef’s Choice sharpener creates a triple bevel on the blade, which allows it to work with both Asian and European/American knives. The bevels are at roughly 25 degrees, 20 degrees, and 15 degrees. This triple bevel design increases the length of time required between sharpenings.
Overall, we think it’s the best knife sharpener for most people with its multiple settings, clear instructions, and decent price.
Pros: Reasonable price point, excellent results versus other manual knife sharpeners, three guide slots for different types of knives, fits in a drawer, suitable for serrated knives
Cons: Not quite as versatile as some more expensive electric options
The Chef’s Choice ProntoPro 4643 is one of our favorite knife sharpeners on the market, providing outstanding results at a low price point. This manual pull-through knife sharpener offers a lot of the same features as our top pick, the electric Chef’s Choice Trizor XV, but does so at a far lower price point.
The design of the ProntoPro 4643 is a little different from most manual knife sharpeners because it has a curved handle with a soft grip. You can hold this handle firmly to achieve the best results. Additionally, the ProntoPro 4643 is only about nine inches in length, meaning it’ll fit easily in a drawer.
You can control the angle of the knife blade at either 15 degrees or 20 degrees, making it work well for both American/European and Asian knives. In fact, the manual sharpener uses different guide slots for each type of knife, as well as a third guide slot for serrated knives, making it one of the few picks on our list suitable for serrated blades.
The best knife sharpening kit
The Edge Pro Apex 4 sharpens all knives at precise blade angles for some of the best and sharpest results you’ll see.
Pros: Excellent sharpening kit, allows for precise multiple knife blade angles, includes multiple grit stones for fine polishing, all parts fit in a carrying case for easy portability, works with multiple blade widths
Cons: Expensive, requires practice to use well, doesn’t work well with thin-bladed knives
The Edge Pro Apex 4 gives you the ability to fine-tune your knives. The kit uses a guide system along with different sharpening stones to help you draw the blade at the right angle. It does require some know-how and practice to achieve the desired results.
Additionally, this completely portable kit fits inside a carrying case, allowing for easy transportation for camping or hunting. The kit can handle blade sizes ranging from small knives to machetes, however, the system doesn’t work as well with very thin-bladed knives, such as a fillet knife.
The kit ships with five water stones, ranging from 120 to 1,000 grit, allowing for coarse to fine sharpening. It also contains 2,000 and 3,000 grit polish tapes for honing. The stones fit tightly into the kit’s design, ensuring no slippage as you use the kit’s angle guide to draw the knife blade across the stones.
Using the Edge Pro Apex 4 involves a learning curve, but the time invested pays off with incredibly sharp blades. The kit ships with a DVD, providing detailed instructions on how to use it. Once you have mastered this tool, its results are impressive.
This kit costs quite a bit more than most knife sharpeners, but it gives your knives more longevity by removing less metal from the blades during the sharpening process.
Pros: Offers full control over the sharpening process, three different grit stones included, stones mounted on triangular block are convenient to access, easy to use for beginners
Cons: Takes longer to sharpen knives than an electric sharpener, longevity of the plastic frame is questionable
If you’re frustrated with the performance of electric knife sharpeners – or if you’re just a bit of a control freak like me – the Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening System allows you to manually sharpen your knives. The system ships with three high-quality sharpening stones and the included bracket holds the stones in place so you can work efficiently and safely.
The rotating triangle block on which the manufacturer has mounted the three different sharpening stones makes it convenient to just twist a knob and find the exact stone grit you wish to use.
Some people may be a bit intimidated by using a sharpening stone, rather than an electric sharpener, and it does take some practice to ensure you’re holding your knife at the right angle and applying proper pressure. But with some time, you’ll find that using a whetstone is one of the best ways to have precise control over how your blade is sharpened.
How knife sharpeners work
Several different gadgets and kits exist that will help you sharpen a knife. Some use electrical power, while others use a manual stroke. We’ll break down the different types of knife sharpeners in the next segment. If you need more information, we have further discussed knife care in a video.
As far as sharpening a knife blade goes, all types of sharpeners follow the same type of process. You’ll rub the metal blade of the knife against some sort of an abrasive surface that removes some of the metal to create a thin edge.
Knife sharpeners need to be able to create an exact angle on the knife’s edge. American and European knife blades use a 20-degree angle out of the factory, while Asian knife blades use a 17-degree angle. Hence, many people prefer a knife sharpening machine to a simple manual stone because the machine helps guide you to maintain the proper angle on the blade.
If the blade is only slightly dull, using a steel rod, called knife honing steel, can give the edge a quick touch up by realigning the edge, as shown by Cook’s Illustrated. Technically, using this method means you’re actually honing the knife, rather than sharpening it. For a dull blade, though, a knife sharpener provides the best method of obtaining a sharp edge again.
Types of knife sharpeners
Electric machine: An electric knife sharpener offers the most convenient sharpening tool design. You’ll pull the knife blade through the guide slot on the machine, and a motor applies the sharpening agent (usually a sharpening stone) to the metal blade. Many electric sharpeners will offer multiple guide slots that run from coarse to fine sharpening or that handle different blade angles.
Pull-through machine: A pull-through sharpener, also called a manual sharpener, works best with kitchen knives. You’ll pull the knife blade through the sharpener, which includes guide slots with the sharpening agent inside. Some pull-through sharpeners allow you to adjust the angle of the blade, which helps with different types of knives. Some provide multiple guide slots, ranging from coarse to fine sharpening.
Sharpening kit: Sharpening kits appear at the top end of the market for knife sharpeners, as they have multiple parts to ensure a proper result. The kit allows you to set the sharpening angle you want to use while working from course to fine sharpening. Using a sharpening kit properly requires some time invested in learning to use the kit. However, for those who demand a perfect blade, the sharpening kit achieves the desired result with full manual control. They’re great for both sharpening and honing.
Stone: With a sharpening stone, or whetstone, you drag the blade of the knife across the rough surface of the stone. Sharpening stones consist of a number of types of material, such as diamond stones, oil stones (also called Arkansas stones), water stones (or aluminum oxide stones), and ceramic stones. Yes, the diamond stone actually contains tiny fragments of diamonds, but it’s a little heavy to wear as an earring. The trick with a sharpening stone becomes applying the right amount of pressure and sharpening at the proper angle because using a sharpening stone requires a completely manual process with no guide slots. However, stones can sharpen many tools, including scissors and chisels.
One final item to mention: Serrated knife blades won’t work with all types of knife sharpeners. If you’re using a pull-through or electric knife sharpener, it needs to have a serrated setting or the blade will lose the serration during sharpening.