In the 2009 Luca Guadagnino film I Am Love, food forces Tilda Swinton to have an awakening that ultimately leads her to abandon her family. This is similar to the effect that certain food Tik Toks have on viewers today. You’ve probably heard of some of the biggest food-fluencers from the app, like Emily Mariko, who inspires us all with her clean kitchen, silent knife skills, and incredible ability to utilize leftovers, or Tabitha Brown, who taught us how to make vegan bacon out of carrots. But in order to fully immerse yourself in the vast world of culinary TikTok, you have to push further, into the unexpected depths of the app. Real-life relationships be damned.
Below are some accounts that take food content to the next brilliant (and sometimes terrifying) level.
For restaurant recommendations
Jackson and Dakota are a North Carolina couple who frequent a variety of fast-food and fast-casual restaurants and bring their gay friends along to tell you what they’ve ordered. Special appearances by Emily, Brandon, and Jackson’s mom are always treats. A sample order includes an appetizer (for the table), a main, sometimes a dessert, and of course something “for to drink” to “WORSH it all down.”
Kazoku for lunch with my hubby and best friends for Benson’s birthday!♬ original sound - dakota
They’re the new generation’s Guy Fieri. An inspiration for everyone.
Roz the JerZ Queen, regent of the shore, is a Florida/tristate lifestyle influencer and Pitbull superfan, who in addition to going to Ulta and Starbucks also shows you how to travel and dine in style. Whether it’s where to get a cheesesteak in Miami, how to order at the bar, or how to make the most amazing potent yet low-calorie drinks to bring with you to the beach (Ocean Spray LITE, not diet), she’s got you covered.
If living the beach life is on your agenda, Roz is the guide for you.
A food and lifestyle king who wears a sleep gown and uses a selfie stick to document his life. His page features his cat Sesame, a really big candle, instructions on what to do with parsnips, bergamot-infused vodka, egg salad, and our favorite, his clam chowder canoe. Here he is explaining how to source wick for your butter candles.
Quincy’s Tavern is a man in Florida who cosplays as a tavern keeper in a video game; you stop by while on your mythical journey, and he makes you really comforting food. Health Potions, Shroom Creme Soup, and Sunrise Breakfasts are often served up with a healthy dose of ASMR and a sidequest. If you’re feeling lonely, don’t worry — he’s happy to sit and eat with you.
If you’re ever like, “Okay, how do I even grocery shop?” August from @theres.food.at.home is a must-follow. Whether it’s basics like sharing her weekly grocery list and meal planning, a “how-to” for cleaning shrimp, tips on getting the most juice out of your limes, or a guide to making meals like Panera-inspired broccoli cheddar soup, garlic rosemary mashed potatoes, and shepherd’s pie, her page has everything. She also takes you behind the scenes to see how she runs her restaurants. She just opened an erotic dessert bar called Kinky’s, and we can’t wait to try one of her Dicky waffles.
Erika documents the life of a Chick-fil-A wife. Her husband is also her boss at Chick-fil-A, and she gives us updates on things like the fact that men can now have beards while working there. She has only nine TikToks and hasn’t posted in more than a year, but she has a lot on her plate, so we understand.
For organ meats
A recent entry in the food-recommendation sphere, Heidi posted a video of herself munching on raw liver while explaining all the dietary benefits it offers. The video is doing great numbers, so we expect to see more. She also once shared a recipe for a fabulous margarita.
Perhaps Heidi was influenced by the Liver King, who is a really rich man who exercises all day and then breaks his fast with a “liver king concoction” along with protein shakes, liver and other organ meat, bone marrow, tomahawk steaks, etc.
Sometimes he eats potatoes, but if he sees fruit, he gets mad. He uses a standing desk, he sleeps on wood, and his wife doesn’t allow cellphones in the bedroom unless they’re in a special bag. He has two sons, “Striker” and “Liver Boy.”
Heidi Montag still eats fruit, though.
For vegetable lovers
If you’re full of meat and need a veggie break, Baked by Melissa, known in New York for the tiny colorful cupcakes that you buy in Flatiron, is on TikTok making the most vibrant, colorful, finely diced salads and dressings. She furiously dices every vegetable into cubes and talks to you like you’re her absolute favorite assistant. It’s comforting and motivating all at once.
Alexis forages for things in nature and then makes incredible things out of them. She also teaches you how to do it yourself. Could you have ever imagined you could make Puffball Meringues, Dandelion Pudding, or Forest Nuggets after a quick stroll through a nearby park?
While we may not trust ourselves to not accidentally pick something poisonous, it’s incredibly fun imagining what treats are living on trees near you. Here’s her video on how to eat pine cones.
Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen are the curators of the THNK1994 Museum (@THNK1994). They support Heidi Montag in eating raw liver if that is what she chooses to do.
Marylu E. Herrera is a Chicago-based artist with a focus on print media and collage.
Copy edited by Leilah Bernstein