Joshua Weissman started sharing his recipes to YouTube in early 2015, and since then, he’s become one of the platform’s most popular food channels. These days, he’s most known for "But Better," a cooking series in which he makes homemade versions of popular food items. Weissman crafts everything from Oreo McFlurries to Olive Garden Breadsticks and tweaks the recipes to make them taste and look even better than the original. It’s all thanks to his mastery of culinary techniques and food science, his refined palate, and of course, his passion for cooking. But as much as his fans love his food, it’s clearly his on-camera presence that people find so endearing.
Just glimpse at the comment section of any of Weissman’s YouTube videos or TikToks, and you’ll see an outpouring of positive feedback about his contagious enthusiasm, the way he goes out of his way to say "cwispy" instead of "crispy," his habit of describing ingredients as "thicc bois," and his obsession with flakey salt. With subscribers in the millions and new videos every week, Weissman’s influence in the social media cooking space is growing each day. Whether you’ve been following since the beginning or just hopped on the flakey salt bandwagon, here are some of the lesser-known facts about the YouTube chef.
Joshua Weissman never went to culinary school
For as much as Joshua Weissman talks about the science behind baking or why certain ingredients produce more favorable textures than others, it’s easy to assume that he has a formal degree in cooking. But while Weissman has spent a considerable amount of time studying culinary arts, it wasn’t in the traditional sense. When asked what school he attended by a fan on Twitter, Weissman clarified that instead of going to culinary school, he gained firsthand experience by working in the restaurant industry — a revelation that surprised many.
It’s well known that Weissman quit his restaurant job to pursue content creating full-time, as he talked about the decision in a YouTube video that is now among his most viewed. But most viewers don’t know that it’s where he gained a great deal of his professional expertise. He further elaborated in an interview with Harper’s BAZAAR that the restaurant he worked at in Austin, Texas is still one of his favorite places to eat. "I worked at Uchiko for a number of years as a lead cook," he explained.
Joshua Weissman lost over 100 pounds
Before Joshua Weissman became the YouTube chef we know and love, he was about a hundred pounds heavier. "Being overweight was a huge hindrance on my life, but I didn’t want to be overweight," Weissman recalled in a YouTube video about his first cookbook, "The Slim Palate," which was inspired by his weight loss and newfound love of cooking. In particular, "The Slim Palate" focuses on the paleo diet that Weissman followed in order to drop 100 pounds. However, it was this diet that also caused him to go from being extremely overweight to dangerously underweight.
"I experienced intense body dysmorphia, orthorexia, and created several food fears along the way (carbs being one of them, which I’m sure is a commonly feared food amongst the paleo and keto community)," Weissman admitted in a Facebook post. "I came to the ultimatum that while I still respect paleo, it was no longer a thing that was working for me, my physiological, or mental needs." Weissman may have decided to forgo the paleo diet, but as evidenced by his "But Better" series, he still maintains the same approach of cooking with fresh ingredients and eating whole foods to a reasonable degree.
Joshua Weissman was only 17 when The Slim Palate was published
In October 2012, Joshua Weissman — who was a teenager at the time — started a blog called Slim Palate, which would later turn into his debut cookbook of the same name. Though it started off as an advice blog where Weissman shared his weight loss journey and eating habits, it eventually evolved into an archive for all the recipes he created and took on a life of its own. "I thought it would be popular at first then just die off like blogs usually do, but instead, it took off," Weissman told Spoon University. "After about seven months, two publishers who wanted to help me create a cookbook contacted me."
What made Weissman’s content stand out to publishers was his impressive food photography. Instead of using his phone camera to capture his food, Weissman’s photos were editorial quality. In fact, all the photos in "The Slim Palate" cookbook were taken by Weissman himself, not by a professional photographer. "I went out and bought a basic DSLR camera and started experimenting," he told Spoon University. "I just kept on practicing and got better at it."
Breakfast is his least favorite meal
Though Joshua Weissman covers pretty much everything in his channel, features tons of breakfast foods in his videos, and even did an entire special called "American Vs. Full English Breakfast," he actually isn’t a huge fan of the meal. "Sometimes, I try to get in a piece of toast and maybe a protein shake. But other than that, usually nothing and water," he told Harper’s BAZAAR. The most he’s willing to have for breakfast is four sunny-side-up eggs, to which he’ll add some grated cheese. It’s a stark contrast from the types of breakfasts he prepares on camera, but apparently, for Weissman, breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day.
But there is one thing Weissman avoids more often than breakfast food: blue cheese. Weissman rarely avoids ingredients — he will try almost anything and has even eaten bull penis, but he refuses to eat blue cheese in any form, whether it be by itself or disguised in a dressing. "Anyone who knows me deeply understands that," he explained to Harper’s BAZAAR.
Joshua Weissman comes from a long line of talented chefs
Joshua Weissman may have made it big in the food industry without actually going to culinary school, but his family history might have something to do with his natural skills in the kitchen. "My entire family is full of passionate and skilled cooks/bakers," Weissman told Forbes. "My mom got me started on cooking when I was about three years old, and it really took hold of me when I was five. From then on, I was very focused on getting very good at it."
In the "My Story" section of his website, Weissman further elaborated that his family dynamic revolved around food and good eating and credited his current cooking approach to how he grew up always preparing meals from scratch. Unfortunately, Weissman’s passion for food wasn’t taken seriously by his peers until "The Slim Palate" became successful. "I was constantly laughed at and made fun of for my love for cooking," Weissman wrote on his website. "It got to a point where it was so bad that I ate lunch in my mom’s car for the majority of my schooling career." But as we all know, Weissman has come a long way from eating lunch by himself.