Vincy Chef Rawlston Williams In New Slate Of Bon Appétit Chefs


(variety) – Condé Nast hopes to revive Bon Appétit’s YouTube channel with a new, diverse slate of eight new chefs, coming after seven hosts quit the food publication’s video roster over allegations of racial inequity.

Bon Appétit announced the new talent — DeVonn Francis, Tiana “Tee” Gee, Melissa Miranda, Samantha Seneviratne, Christian “Chrissy” Tracey, Harold Villarosa, Rawlston Williams and Claudette Zepeda — along with the return of previous hosts Brad Leone, Chris Morocco and Andy Baraghani. (Watch the teaser trailer below.) Condé Nast said several BA series will resume production this month and premiere this fall, with Bon Appétit’s popular “From the Test Kitchen” slated to relaunch in 2021.

The reboot of Bon Appétit’s video programming comes after months of turmoil at the food title. Bon Appétit’s YouTube channel has not uploaded any new videos since controversy first erupted at the mag in June. The BA channel on YouTube, with about 6 million subscribers, has been one of Condé Nast’s biggest video outlets.

The Bon Appétit blowup began in June when former editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport was ousted amid allegations of racial discrimination. Then in August, multiple “Test Kitchen” stars including Priya Krishna, Sohla El-Waylly, Rick Martinez, Gaby Melian, Molly Baz and Carla Lalli Music said they refused to enter into new deals with Condé Nast over what they claimed were unfair terms offered to people of color.

Last week came one more departure: Pastry chef Claire Saffitz announced that she is no longer working with Bon Appétit.

Attempting to right the ship, Condé Nast installed new leadership at Bon Appétit. It hired book publishing veteran Dawn Davis (who officially starts Nov. 2) as the brand’s new EIC and tapped Eater’s Sonia Chopra as executive editor, along with enlisting award-winning chef and author Marcus Samuelsson as an adviser and guest editor of BA’s 2020 holiday double issue.

Here’s more info on the eight new chefs announced for Bon Appétit’s YouTube channel programming:

  • DeVonn Francis: The first-generation Jamaican-American chef and artist with a background in design and performance studies founded Yardy, a community space for private dinner parties and performances focused on holistic wellness.
  • Tiana “Tee” Gee: The Los Angeles native’s cooking style is inspired by her cultural background and experience working in kitchens across the L.A. food scene.
  • Melissa Miranda: After starting her culinary career in Italy, she spent time in the New York City food world before returning to her hometown of Seattle, where she created a series of pop-up restaurants, which later became Musang, her Filipinx-inspired restaurant.
  • Samantha Seneviratne: The author of “The New Sugar & Spice” and “The Joys of Baking” is a baker, cookbook author, food editor, food stylist, recipe developer and mother.
  • Christian “Chrissy” Tracey: The lifelong vegetarian chef from Cheshire, Conn., creates recipes for plant-based protein alternatives.
  • Harold Villarosa: Born in the Philippines and raised in the Bronx, he started his career at McDonald’s and worked his way up to cooking at top-rated restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. He continued developing his culinary skills at Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City and was the executive chef at Freeman’s Restaurant on the Lower East Side. He also is the founder of Insurgo, a community organization focused on bringing the farm-to-table movement to inner-city food deserts.
  • Rawlston Williams: Born on the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and raised in Brooklyn, he offers his own take on Caribbean classics. After training at the French Culinary Institute, Williams opened his own restaurant, the Food Sermon, in Brooklyn.
  • Claudette Zepeda: The “Top Chef” alum is known for her time as executive chef and partner behind El Jardín, a regional Mexican restaurant in San Diego.

In addition to the lineup of new chefs, Brad Leone, Chris Morocco, and Andy Baraghani are each returning to the Bon Appétit channel, continuing their series “It’s Alive,” “Reverse Engineering” and “Andy Explores,” respectively, while also participating in new collaborations.