John Mitzewich — aka Chef John — has produced more than 1,500 cooking videos for Allrecipes. But you might not recognize him on the street. He’s the actor, director, and screenwriter whose hands and voice confidently walk you through techniques. Meet the man behind the camera.

By Allrecipes Magazine

Get to Know Chef John

Also known as: John Mitzewich, 56, of San Francisco. I grew up in Shortsville, New York, worked in restaurants for years, and have been an instructor at the California Culinary Academy.

My best advice:  Home cooks generally try too hard, expect perfection, and forget they're just supposed to be making something tasty to eat. Relax and never cook scared. Under-salting is also a problem.

Why I got into doing food videos:  I love to teach and to share my favorite recipes. My approach is to let the food be the star of the show, which is why I stay out of the videos and just do a voice-over. I think this allows the viewer to become more immersed in the recipe. 

Who I cook for:  My wife, Michele. Oh, and there's also the huge food community on Allrecipes.com.

Obsessions:  The Great British Baking Show.

Rare talent I possess that no one will pay me for:  I can look at a restaurant menu and tell which items are made with leftovers and maybe should be avoided. (The secret? Just see which items on the lunch menu are chopped-up versions of things on the dinner menu, and vice versa.)

If I could have a superpower, it would be: On-demand invisibility.

My closest thing to an actual superpower: Making people laugh.

What I like most about Allrecipes: The content comes from real home cooks and not professional chefs — besides me, of course. 

Fascinating fact about me that few people know:  As a kid, I wanted to be a weatherman.

For my last meal on earth, I want:  Roast chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Kitchen tools I can’t live without: Bench scraper, metal tongs, Silpats, restaurant-quality sheet pans, sharp knives, and stainless-steel bowls.

In my fridge right now:  Not much! Some leftover spicy tofu and rice. And a bottle of rosé.

I could tell you my secret recipe for:  Barbeque sauce. But I won’t.

Food discovery that changed my life: Thai food. I love the heat and intensity of flavors and textures. 

On my bucket list:  To eat my way through France.

My favorite sayings:  Follow your bliss. And also: Game recognizes game.

Recent cooking success:  Homemade phyllo sheets

In Chef John's kitchen, anytime is the right time for a joke. A hollandaise can sense fear," he quips as he instructs viewers to tackle a velvety egg sauce head-on.

Luck o' the Irish

"My wife is half Irish and half Italian, as was pretty much the entire town I grew up in. My family ate Italian and 'American' food all year, but it was corned beef, cabbage, and biscuits like these on St. Patrick's Day."

Try Chef John's recipe for Irish Cheddar Spring Onion Biscuits

"Regular biscuits are already a perfect thing, and cheese is one of the few things that can make a perfect thing even more perfect."

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Get All of Chef John's Recipes

This article originally appeared in the February/March 2020 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.

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