The current health crisis has forced us all to get creative in our everyday lives. If you’ve taken an interest in cooking and you’re looking to sharpen your culinary skills, a local foodie’s YouTube channel might be a helpful guide.
Jake McGlew, 23, launched his “Isolation Eats” channel in April to deliver cooking tutorials—like how to poach an egg, pickle foods and make pico de gallo—by creating dishes out of whatever he had on hand. Through the channel and a GoFundMe page, McGlew aims to raise money for fellow local restaurant workers.
He films the shows in his Philadelphia apartment, working with executive producer Dan Karlin and graphic designer Jordan Wagner (remotely, of course).
Here McGlew dishes on his inspiration and what’s cooking.
Jake McGlew: After being laid off and spending a lot of time in my apartment, I read a lot of stories from chefs across the country of how this is changing and shaping the restaurant industry. Everyone was facing some form of loss, and I wanted to help. I went to college for media production and figured that I could make a cooking show to raise funds for impacted restaurant workers with what I had on me. If nothing else, it might entertain a few people stuck at home.
JM: I started at Chick-fil-A and at Dolce & Clemente’s [a deli and market in New Jersey] when I was 14. In college, I worked for them on weekends, mainly catering to private events. [Later] I became a cook at Spice Finch, where I really learned the basics of cooking. That led me to be a part of the opening team at DE.CO in Wilmington and Constitution Yards last year. Managing these spaces with phenomenal coworkers has been extremely rewarding, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
JM: So far, we have a few videos ranging from two to 10 minutes in length, covering everything from homemade pickles to roasted red pepper hummus.
JM: Different ways to cook, food philosophies and formats for what a cooking show can be. I try to pull from the content that I enjoy and what works best for the format.
JM: A good many of us are stuck at home and might want to watch something that we can act on. I’ve watched so much content over the past few weeks of people showing off their hobbies and skills, and I think people want to engage with that.
JM: I just want it to provide some sort of relief to impacted restaurant workers. Once we get to a place where it is safe to reopen our homes, public spaces and restaurants, I would love to see it continue with fresher and more varied but still accessible ingredients.
Published as “On Camera” in the June 2020 issue of Delaware Today magazine.