By now, you’ve probably seen at least one TikTok cooking trend, either on the app itself or through societal osmosis. Whether it’s cocoa bombs melting into milky oblivion or, perhaps most notoriously, feta melding with tomatoes before being tossed with pasta, there’s a chance at least one of these trends has entranced you. But what do chefs think?
Maria Covarrubias, founder of Cien Chiles and culinary specialist for Chosen Foods, loves these trends taking place on TikTok. People might not be cooking the most delicious food, but they are cooking.
“These trends have helped people that maybe didn’t have the courage to go into the kitchen to try simple recipes that are more approachable,” Covarrubias told HuffPost. And at a time when we’re all running a little low on energy, these hacks make life easier.
From egg-cracking to cocoa bombs, here is what chefs really think about the cooking trends taking over our small screens and kitchens.
“Apparently if you drop an egg into a pan, it cracks perfectly,” a deep voice says at the beginning of a TikTok video while a person drops an egg into a pan. Most of the time when someone does the egg-cracking challenge, it does crack perfectly, allowing the person to easily pluck the shell’s halves out of the pan.
But is it that much easier than cracking an egg … not in the pan?
“People always think they should crack an egg on a bowl, but really it’s best to crack an egg on a flat surface and get that shell loosened up so you can split the egg,” Zach Spott, chef of Denver’s Green Seed Market, told HuffPost.
Spott isn’t sure whether there’s actually an advantage to cracking the egg in a pan instead.
“Typically you’d want your pan to be somewhat hot, just to create some sort of barrier between the pan and the egg with some fat. But then you’re picking the shell out of the pan. I’m not sure I understand the idea of doing that versus just cracking it on the flat surface,” Spott said.
Try it if you want to, but keep in mind that whether it works or not is highly dependent on the egg itself.
“You can get a dozen eggs and get a shell that’s really hard, give it a tap, and it breaks perfectly. Then you can get an egg that feels almost like tissue paper, give it a crack, and it crumbles and spiderwebs,” Melissa Gaman, a recipe developer based in New York, told HuffPost.
Cocoa bombs made waves especially around the holiday season. In these videos, people pour hot milk over chocolate spheres and watch in awe as the chocolate melts away, revealing an interior filled with marshmallows and cocoa mix. There are even cute varieties like white chocolate unicorns.
They’re exciting at a time when everything is boring — and they’re aesthetically pleasing, which is the big draw, Atlanta-based pastry chef Claudia Martinez said. But they aren’t necessarily more timesaving than a packet of Swiss Miss, and they’re only as good as the chocolate used to make them.
If you’re tempted to make your own cocoa bomb creation (hey, it’s still chilly in many parts of the country), Martinez advises choosing quality chocolate and melting it properly. Instead of melting your chocolate in the microwave, put a heatproof bowl over a pot of water, “then get a thermometer to temper the chocolate, so that when [you] make the little shells, they stay together and they have that snap when you pour the milk,” Martinez said.
Our brains are mushy from living through a pandemic and a grueling winter. It’s no surprise, then, that baked feta pasta has captured the attention of home cooks. It’s easy, it’s comforting and it’s probably the trend that evokes the strongest feelings ― critical or otherwise.
Gaman understands how most food trends come to be, but she was baffled by the baked feta pasta trend.
“Feta, I think, is a little bit of a divisive cheese because it can be really intense or it can be really flavorless and kind of waxy and tacky. So it’s surprising that so many people were gravitating to it,” Gaman said.
Feta, she pointed out, comes in myriad variations that range from salty and creamy to tangy and dry. It’s not a one-size-fits all cheese the way that the videos tend to imply. Gaman said she likes the ingredients of this dish individually, but that she doesn’t think combining them all together in such high quantities is the best way to showcase them.
“I would probably focus on making a delicious roasted cherry tomato sauce and then use the feta as that accent to kind of get stirred in at the end, because then you’re bringing out the best qualities of the feta,” she said.
Another option is to omit the pasta. Craig Richards, chef-owner of Lyla Lila in Atlanta, thinks the sauce could make a great dip.
“I thought this would be really good on bruschetta or grilled bread rather than with pasta, because the bread would be a better carrier for that type of thing,” Richards said. He would add garlic, chile flakes and basil, and he wouldn’t skimp on the olive oil because feta is dry. If you still want to use pasta, he suggests rigatoni to hold on to those bits of cheese.
TikTok Tortilla Wrap Hack
The tortilla wrap trend, started by TikTok user @ellcarter1, involves cutting a slit down the center of a tortilla to one edge and creating four quadrants. Place different fillings — such as proteins, aioli, guacamole, cheese, beans or anything else you desire — in each quadrant, fold it up, warm it in a pan or in the toaster oven and enjoy.
Some people rebuff the trend in favor of a traditional quesadilla, but Covarrubias loves the wrap.
“I feel it’s less bulky than a burrito and it’s the same ingredients, so I really enjoyed doing that one,” she said. “I even did a sweet one with Nutella, and one with peanut butter and jelly, and just fresh strawberry.”
To make the perfect TikTok wrap, Covarrubias suggested leaving the cheese and protein in the outside quadrants to ensure the cheese melts when it hits the pan.