A pair of hands donning blue surgical gloves slowly draws a scalpel through the soft surface of a Reese’s, creating a circle that is then carefully, methodically, peeled away with a pair of tweezers to reveal the peanut butter within. Soon, those same tweezers fill the chocolate body with the frosting innards of an Oreo and replace the candy’s top to its rightful place. Why? Well… we’re not really sure. Welcome to the world of The Food Surgeon.
YouTube’s newest food sensation is — depending on who you ask — a calming, funny, captivating, or creepy close look at the insides of foods. The Food Surgeon’s account, which joined the video sharing site on Jan. 19 and has only uploaded 2 videos to date, already boasts nearly 10,000 subscribers. Its most popular video, “Reese’s Peanut-Butter-Ectomy with Oreo Cream Transplant” has garnered over 56,000 views in its first 2 days.
The “surgeries,” which are performed void of background music to emphasize the natural sounds, have gained a rapidly growing following of fans, leaving praising comments like, “You are a gift to the OCD fat people of the world. Brilliant” and “It’s just so oddly entertaining.” Others have found the quiet, transfixing operations off-putting, commenting, “This creeped me out for some reason,” and “Does anyone else find this oddly disturbing?”
So who’s the face behind the latex-covered hands? We caught up with The Food Surgeon himself over email to get his take on his sudden success and mysterious identity.
I’d prefer to stay anonymous. My videos aren’t about me; they’re about the food, the sights, the sounds, and the tools. The less the focus is about the actual surgeon, the better.
The idea for this channel came to me while I was on a late night YouTube binge. I was watching Chef John of Food Wishes and was thinking to myself that my favorite part is when he carefully and precisely prepares the ingredients. I decided to take this idea to the extreme. I don’t have any surgical experience, nor do I have filmmaking experience. However, that not-so-unique lack of skills has allowed me to explore The Food Surgeon freely without feeling like I’m doing anything incorrectly. I’m learning as I go.
Admittedly, I’m surprised by the response. I really think it’s a combination of factors. For me it’s the careful cuts, camera angles, and sounds. Others have commented that they find the videos dark and Dexter-esque. Whatever the reason is, I hope to keep my subscribers hungry and happily disturbed.
Though I lack (read “have no”) filmmaking experience, I purchased a camera a few years back for casual photography. I’ve been using it to film the videos and have been happy with the results. I’m a one-man show; I own the whole content creation process.
There’s always been something mesmerizing about watching skilled hands perform tasks, while also listening to the sounds that they create. Music would take away from that. I choose not to talk in my videos for the same reason. I want the entire focus to be about what’s on the surgical table. One of my favorite YouTubers, Cooper Nelson, has a Silent Cooking series that was an inspiration for this style. Evoking ASMR is an unintentional, but known, byproduct of the filming style.
The sin of gluttony? I don’t know. My first operation, the dissection of a Cutie, came about because I had just purchased a large bag of clementines from Costco. The Reese’s/Oreo operation with a bit more thought out — I assumed cutting into the Peanut Butter Cup would make for a great shot. Filling the cavity left behind with Oreo Cream seemed like the obvious thing to do. That, and I also was craving something sweet (notice the Oreos already missing from the bag?).
Doctor-patient confidentiality does not permit me to go into much detail about my upcoming surgeries. What I can say is that I’ll be drastically changing the life of an avocado, hopefully for the better. I also have a special episode planned for Valentine’s Day.
I have a few camera angels planned for upcoming videos where you might be able to see my part of my face. Though it wasn’t obvious in my last video, I wear full surgical scrubs, including a surgical mask and cap, while performing my operations.