A pair of hands in 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 whom 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 uploaded only two videos to date, already boasts nearly 10,000 subscribers. Its most popular video, “Reese’s Peanut-Butter-Ectomy With Oreo Cream Transplant,” has garnered more than 56,000 views in its first two days.
The “surgeries,” which are performed devoid 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 by email to get his take on his sudden success and mysterious identity.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
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.
What first inspired you to start performing surgery on food?
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.
In the first few days of your videos being out, they’re already a hit. Why do you think they appeal to people so much?
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.
How do you film your videos? Do you have any assistance?
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.
Why did you choose to let the natural sounds come through, rather than background music? Are your videos meant to evoke an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)?
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.
What was your inspiration behind the Oreo-cream-filled Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup?
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 was 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?).
What other foods do you plan to perform surgery on in the future?
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.
Will you ever reveal your face to the public?
I have a few camera angles 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.
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