I love pressing my face against the window pane at dumpling joints where you can watch the professional dough handlers at work. The combination of the everyday alchemy of food plus the sure hands of a professional is hypnotic. The seemingly magical properties of gluten and dough can keep me entertained for ages, but so can the quick kitchen grace of someone like Jacques Pepin, who makes daunting pro-chef techniques look easy. Check out these 8 mesmerizing food videos. Then tell us: what food videos do you love to watch? Leave a comment and let us know.
Jacques Pepin Galantine
This is the ultimate Pepin clip, in which he totally debones a chicken and forms a galantine in less than 10 minutes. (He probably could have shaved three minutes off if he weren’t spending so much time explaining the details to the viewers.) Check out the bonus chicken “lollipop” technique at 0:50.
Hand-pulled Noodle Technique
In this New York Times video, Master Chen at New York’s Hung Ry pulls organic flour dough into a stretchy cat’s cradle of springy noodles.
Eat Drink Man Woman
This is one of my favorite movie opening scenes. Not a single movement of the asbestos fingers is wasted. I love the julienne technique at 1:00. And I want to eat the food in every single shot.
In this Japanese TV show clip, mochi pounders grunt and whack the stretchy rice flour dough into submission. It gets scary when one guy sticks his hand in the barrel to slap and fold the dough, but I love the hilarious slow-mo shot at 0:45. My favorite YouTube comment: “THEY’RE KILLING FLUBBER.”
This amateur vid features a roti maker doing what he probably does all day, every day—throwing oil-moistened, elastic roti dough. The ever-expanding round makes a very satisfying slapping sound as it hits the work surface.
This is a pretty clip of a guy carving a watermelon in classic Thai-style, sped up. The red flesh slowly emerges from the white rind canvas as pink roses. He makes it look so easy.
Hand Dough Kneading
This handsome French guy takes a wet, shaggy dough and slaps it into a smooth, elastic loaf. The kneader says the process of should take a whopping 20 minutes. Looks like a hefty workout.
Julia Child Omelet
In this classic video opener, Julia Child swirls, rolls, and plates an omelet in 30 seconds.