Some advice raises more questions than it answers. Unless your question is ‘How, exactly, do I combine corn chips, cheese wiz and a can of beans to make a toothsome serve of nachos?’, the Cooking with Weber web series will raise more questions than it answers.
“Hello, wildcats,” Steven Reed welcomes his viewers at the start of each webisode in his comforting monotone, always slightly out of breath. He always wears the same freshly-pressed shirt in a pleasing shade of blue and a tie because he means business. Both are too large for him, like he borrowed them from his dad. Which is weird because he’s about 67. It’s hard to know his actual age. The effect of his microwave addiction could have prematurely aged him – he could be an enterprising 16 year old. Then again, he could be a well-preserved 150 year old.
Using his trusty microwave, a can opener, water, and “food” that comes in cans, jars, packets or boxes, Steven guides us through the preparation of a variety of “meals” that will feed you for about a dollar and probably give you cancer. He always looks confused, determined and moist.
But back to those questions that this series raises. Here are some of mine:
Is Steven Reed the culinary king of quick and dirty practicality or a master of ironic performance art?
How broad is the term “chef”?
Who is the intended audience? Who are these people too illiterate to follow the instructions on a can of chilli but sufficiently literate to Google for an instructional video? Latchkey kids? The lobotomized? Highly-evolved indoor cats?
Has the gargantuan amount of microwave radiation coursing through his body shortened his life or, alternatively, given him superpowers?
Does his casual contempt for fresh food mean that he knows something about the Apocalypse that we don’t? If so, it’s comforting that the survivors will have access to electricity, right?
Is this Steve Brule’s actual human brother?
The production on these videos is exquisite. The way the camera zooms in and lovingly lingers on a bowl of cheese dip and canned chilli (at 2:45):
The time lapses as graceful as a missed High Five (at 2:35):
The terrifying, galactic siren singing his name, and the perplexing background music:
When Steven has a bit of stubble in one episode and his hair is mussed up in another, I wonder if he is ok. And, watching mesmerized as he mashes a devitalized potato with a plastic fork, I wonder if I am.