Andy Baraghani’s favorite YouTube videos include Oscar speeches, Jinkx Monsoon and Janet
Andy Baraghani is many things, but he wouldn’t call himself a content creator. The amiable Iranian chef worked at Alice Waters and Nolita’s favorite Chez Panisse restaurant, before spending six years as an editor at Enjoy your meal, where he became a mainstay on the brand’s YouTube channel. Because of that, he says, “people probably refer to me as the content creator, but I don’t feel the need to keep adding hyphens.”
He may ignore the label, but it looks good on him. In recent months, Baraghani has been promoting her cookbook, The cook you want to be: everyday recipes to impress, which happened in May. A newsletter is in the works and he plans to start his own YouTube channel to post videos of his cooking and his “other love” of interior design. And he has already merged these two passions by creating a personal website (created with Squarespace) that is as vibrant as its dishes.
What is multilingual globetrotter Damon Dominique watching online?
When we asked Baraghani to send us five of his favorite internet videos in no particular order, we sure were expecting a few about food. But it turns out that Baraghani is just as much a pop culture buff as he is a content creator, writer, or cook. He spoke to Mashable from a train at Penn Station, bringing back memories of movies from his childhood and the icons he admires and adores.
1. “Best 6 1/2 minutes of Dear Mum“
Mashable: I must confess that I had not seen Dear Mum until you send me this. I watched it and honestly didn’t like it too much.
Andy Baragani: I mean, it’s a ridiculous, total camp movie, overdone on all fronts. But it has become iconic in the queer film canon. I think so [has to do with] Faye Dunaway, I love so many of her films before Dear Mum. And the fact that the film was adapted from a book by Jane Crawford’s adopted daughter…there are so many aspects that are just, oh my God, it’s so delicious to me. And so cheerful.
My only point of reference to Faye Dunaway was…
Don’t say it The Oscars!
Because Bowen Yang’s Instagram Handle is Faye Dunaway!
I like this! I’m friends with Bo, I feel like I have to ask him why exactly, but I’m gonna put money on it having something to do with Dear Mum.
I like “Las Culturistas”, his podcast with Matt Rogers. Given your interest in pop culture, they need you. Where is this collaboration?
I would like! I love both of them, they are so awesome. I feel like we would just laugh and not get through the segment, but it would be so much fun.
2. “Maya Rudolph & Kristen Wiig Present ‘Little Women’ Wins Best Costume Design”
OK, so another great performance here.
Yes! To go to bed, I used to look old SNL sketches with Maya Rudolph, Kristin Wiig or Amy Poehler. There are only certain women of SNL which I love and adore and will be watching their work outside of the show as well. That, along with Oscar speeches, is how I usually go to bed. I tend to look at things that make me smile before bed.
Why the Oscar speeches?
Oscar speeches, award speeches, excellence awards. I watched hundreds of them. I don’t know exactly why. As a child, I was passionate about cinema. I still love movies. The idea of an individual being overwhelmed at some point in their accomplishment and being rewarded for it is something I find very satisfying.
Growing up, what was your favorite movie?
I think for a while – I’m so gay – it was The wedding of my best friend. I was very attached to Julia Roberts and thought Dermot Mulroney was the most handsome man on the planet. When you’re younger, I feel like you end up watching a movie over and over again. Hocus Pocus, Casino, Goodfellas, a lot of gangster movies. I definitely spent a lot of time watching old movies, horror movies, just because I wanted to see [things] from a different cultural perspective
The thread of gangster movies is interesting.
I think it had to do with my older cousins in Vancouver where I vacationed. They would always watch Freedmenthe Godfather series, Casino, Once Upon a Time in America, Main Streets, all those.
3. “Biggest regret from the Barbara Walters interview”
I’m so intrigued by this side of your life because I’ve always associated you with food, but given what you said about your love of acceptance speeches, it makes sense that you love Barbara Walters. I watched a clip of her interviewing Oprah where Oprah realized mid-interview that she was proud of herself and had achieved everything she wanted when she was younger.
There is a direct line for sure. I love the ridiculous moments of comedy and the other side of people being vulnerable, opening up and being overwhelmed with emotion. In my own little way, I try to address this in my own work. I developed over 400 recipes before writing a book and when I wanted to develop a recipe or write a story about a particular person or restaurant, I really wanted it to have substance and emotion. behind. I really try to think about the perspective, the story and the meaning that I bring.
It’s very, very difficult for me to write about something that I have no connection to. And I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily a positive or a negative thing. There are so many people I know who are able to do a lot of work that they are not connected to and who are very successful, and I commend them. In some ways I am envious. It was very difficult for me to do things that I didn’t like. Not from a stubborn place! Just like, “It’s not enough.”
4. “Janet Jackson – ‘Love Will Never Do (Without You)’ (Official Music Video)”
I don’t really feel like I need to ask “why Janet”, but why Janet?
There are a lot of videos of her that I could have put on, and I really thought about this one. I truly believe that Janet is underrated and she represents a lot of fond memories for me. His music brought a lot of joy throughout my childhood and adult life. I remember seeing her in concert and I think that’s the only time I got up.
There’s something about her that really appeals to me and I think she’s had such an impact in so many ways on a range of artists that she really doesn’t give enough credit. I remember watching the Love Will Never Do music video and thought it was just the sexiest music video. There’s so much about it – the silhouettes, what she’s wearing, Antonio Sabàto Jr. and Djimon Hounsou, all the shapes – it’s very 90s. Herb Ritts did the video. He is one of the great photographers and directors [of that time]and he died of AIDS in the early 2000s.
When do you usually listen to Janet?
I listen to Janet pretty much anytime. There’s no bad time for Janet. I feel very close to certain women of a certain age — like many homosexuals — who have gone through a lot of difficulties in their lives. And he is certainly someone who has experienced a lot of difficulties. Not that my life resembles that of Janet Jackson! But when I think of the singers that I really love and admire, by which I swear, they’re all a certain age or older: Diana Ross — I mean, it’s pretty gay – Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Madonna, Aretha, Patti. Now I stick to first names. Joni Mitchell. Courtney Love.
5. “Jinkx Monsoon Kill Roast Challenge”
I feel like drag race would be right up my alley, but that I can’t commit to becoming a stan. I feel like it’s too far now for me to jump on that train.
I’m going to make a case for you, because I love making cases. And that’s if my stubborn boyfriend, whom I love more than anything on this planet, is able to change his mind when it comes to drag race, you can also. He was just like, “Ugh, God, What are you looking at? He would get angry. He wouldn’t even be in the same room. And now it will play clips of drag race without me around. It’s never too late, there’s no right or wrong time to get started.
I’ve been a dedicated fan for a long, long time, and this past season has definitely been one of the best. Very different obviously, but he definitely stood out. And it was very clear that Jinkx was a brilliant, very intelligent, fast person.
I’m a big fan of Trixie and Katya. They are my queens.
To like! I love Trixie. I really love Katya.
I also feel an affinity for Katya, because of her strangeness. Trixie is a bit more mainstream. What did it take to get your boyfriend in drag race?
It happened gradually. I think I just said, “Look at this!” and one thing made him smile, laugh or smile. Then there’s a bit of instilled curiosity. And I think that’s with anything in life. You have to hope that there is still some level of openness from the receiver. Him not being in drag race maybe someone who doesn’t like anything – the tomato, a particular craft or aesthetic – you just have to find one thing.