Our December CrateChef box features Sam Zien, The Cooking Guy, who is known for his friendliness and casual approach to cooking. Sam is a television chef, YouTube personality, restaurateur and cookbook author, many times over. Not to mention he has won 15 Emmys.
Sam fancies himself an everyday guy (besides the awards and critical acclaim) who wants to make cooking more accessible. He speaks English, rather than “chef-speak,” and uses regular kitchen equipment to prove that you can create dishes that are “big in taste and small in effort.” This fresh take has been deemed cooking for the rest of us.
After quitting his biotech job in 2001, Sam set out to host a travel show. But a month before his scheduled trip to Tokyo, September 11th happened and that changed everything. He decided to stick with TV but focus on cooking from his own kitchen. What started as a 2-minute segment successfully evolved into a 30-minute show appropriately titled Sam the Cooking Guy, which irreverently mixes humor and easy-to-replicate recipes. Since then, Sam’s culinary career took off and his growing audience has welcomed the energy and creative sensibility he brings to everyday cooking.
In June of 2018, Sam finally dipped his toe into the restaurant world. He opened Not Not Tacos in the San Diego Little Italy Food Hall where he serves Korean Short Rib, Meatloaf, and Mac and Cheese tacos, to name a few. If you ask Sam whether they’re tacos or not, he’ll respond with a retort that they’re not not tacos. In March of 2020, he opened a second restaurant, Graze by Sam, in the same food hall. While hundreds of his dishes can be made at home in just a few steps, Sam’s made it even easier by bringing them directly to you.
This year Sam also published his most recent book, Sam the Cooking Guy: Recipes with Intentional Leftovers. His favorite so far, the collection of recipes borrows its name from his long-running TV show and newer online show STCGO, and highlights 20 master recipes that yield over 100 dishes. Say goodbye to fourth-night-in-a-row meatloaf and identical containers of tragically “meal-prepped” chicken thighs. If you cook roast chicken once, you’ll have several corresponding follow-up meals – each different in flavor to help you benefit from the work you’ve already done. Sam ensures that you’ll never be bored in the kitchen again!
Sam’s belief in everyday food for everyone rings true, especially this year as everyone has learned to navigate home cooking and the monotony it may entail. His sincerity and spirit makes reality cooking seem all the more possible. And this relatable approach has resonated rather well with the masses.
We are fortunate to partner with Sam Zien for this month’s box and are excited to bring his ordinary expertise to your dinner table. Order your box today to reinvent your cooking and make life a little easier and a whole lot more delicious.
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