Updated: Oct 13
From humble beginnings on Reddit to the obscure origins of his handle, Andrew Rea has two very distinct loves: film and food. A self-taught chef and filmmaker, Rea opted to combine his passions into a short passion project that was his recreations from the burger cookoff, as seen in Parks and Recreation. What was meant to be a one-shot turned into four years of (mostly) faithful recreations, spinoff series such as Basics with Babish and Being with Babish, and a recent expansion into what is now known as the Babish Culinary Universe.
As far as horror goes, you’d be amazed just how much food there is to be found in our favorite genre. Out of several hundred episodes of Rea’s flagship series Binging with Babish, there are a handful of iconic foods that the Harlem native has recreated, from the delectable to the diabolical and everywhere else in between. While there are morbid dishes like the Tenorman chili from South Park or the Dothraki blood pies from Game of Thrones, there are plenty of unsettling dishes coming out of the Binge Entertainment kitchen.
Clay-Roasted Thigh from Hannibal
For a Halloween re-imagining of a disturbing scene from season two of the beloved NBC series, Rea tags in the man behind You Suck at Cooking to see just how in the hell one can cook using clay. The idea behind this technique is to, to quote YSaC, “lock in the moisture and flavors,” only he himself got the wrong kind of clay for the job.
What is accurate is the use of pork in place of human flesh, as apparently that is the closest-tasting comparison. The entire bloody affair gets wrapped in a lotus leaf, then the clay, in order to give a protective barrier to the meat. While it succeeded as a dish, the filling for the roast wasn’t up to Babish’s standards, but when one has a friend for dinner, not everything may go according to plan.
Key Lime Pie from Dexter
As one of the top comments on this video pointed out, “this is the perfect key lime pie. No one complained after eating it.” And well, fair enough, as Rea makes the perfect pie from a harrowing scene of the contentious and gory Showtime series. Morality and mercy killing aside, Rea zeroes in on the Floridian dessert, with a not-so-rare blooper involving the food processor used to grind the graham crackers into a crust. Add to this the attempt at decorating and styling the pie once it’s finished, and my can’t bake for a damn self is amused and relieved. It’s nice to see someone as sophisticated in his methods as Rea make a mistake here and there, as he demonstrates that shit happens, even to the best of us.
Ram-Don from Parasite
Durig the making of this mash-up from the South Korean smash hit film, Rea finds that the over-the-top dish is a mash-up of two different kinds of packaged ramen, with obscenely expensive add-ins simply because they can. As a “fifty dollar version of a fifty cent noodle dish,” it is undeniably good, even as overkill as it is. For a Babish version, Rea opts to make both components, the Neoguri and Chapaghetti, from scratch, before combining them to make the “Chapaguri,” otherwise known as ram-don. The hilarity ensues in his employing traditional udon-making methods, as he stomps out the dough on top of his typical cooking surface, because when we’re already dealing in ridiculous culinary circumstances with the source material, let’s just fucking go for it, right?
Diner Breakfast from Twin Peaks
According to Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks, nothing beats the taste sensation when maple syrup *smack* collides with ham. As such, Rea welcomes the challenge and makes the diner breakfast from the legendary David Lynch-created series. While leaving the coffee to Cocktail Chemistry’s Nick Fisher, Rea whips up some pancakes and a ham steak before learning the magic of pour-over coffee. The whole affair commemorates the return of Twin Peaks to television, and as an added bonus, Fisher invites Rea to his channel to make a series-inspired Black Yukon Sucker Punch cocktail. That said, Rea promises a look at cherry pie, which he has yet to cover on the main Binging series, though he has done a Basics with Babish episode on pies.
The Perfect Bite from YOU
Serving as his most recent Valentine’s Day special, Rea recreated the “perfect bite” from the thrilling Netflix series. Consisting of roast chicken prepared with compound butter, crispy fingerling potatoes, glazed carrots, and a balsamic reduction, the show-accurate version was good by Babishian standards, but both he and his girlfriend Jess agreed that it wasn’t necessarily perfect. The balsamic reduction is what more or less killed the experience, so Jess instead requests a specially-made duck carbonara, featuring cured duck egg yolks a la Brad Leone, smoked duck bacon, and handmade pasta. While part of me feels like this episode was specifically made to make the head of his critics, who threw a fit over his previous crafting of carbonara and pasta aglio e olio, explode.
But it satisfied the man’s girlfriend, and that’s what counts, right?
Triple-Decker Eggo Extravaganza from Stranger Things
In the first of two visits to Hawkins, Rea attacks a cloyingly-sweet breakfast treat in the form of Eleven’s Eggo Extravaganza, which features whipped cream, Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Pieces, and jelly beans. In his Babish version, Rea makes homemade waffles and crushed freeze-dried fruit, the latter of which provides the oddly satisfying concept of “fruit smoke.” Add in a maple butter sauce swatch across the plate, as well as chocolate and peanut butter drizzle from the infamous Michael Scott pretzel, and the jazzed-up eleganza extravaganza looks absolutely insane in the best ways.
That said, this is supposed to be on the breakfast menu of his fantasy restaurant, and this episode was from 2017. If that fantasy ever becomes reality, it’s New York or bust, bitches.
KFC Bucket Meal from Stranger Things
In Babish’s most recent Independence Day special, the Colonel’s iconic eleven herbs and spices are contended with, although Rea insists that there is a twelfth in play: monosodium glutamate, known colloquially as MSG. He proceeds to break down an entire chicken into the classic eight-piece bucket meal, complete with mashed potatoes and biscuits, closing the book on what he considers to be a “fast food master class.” For the makeover that is the Babish version, he uses a buttermilk brine for the chicken, as well as homemade mashed potatoes and buttery biscuits to improve a great deal on the genuine article that is that finger lickin’ goodness.
Now maybe he should take on Captain Spaulding’s chicken, cuz it just tastes so damn good.
Fish Dinner from A Quiet Place
In an effort to recreate the circumstances of the John Krasinski masterstroke that was A Quiet Place, Rea soundproofs his kitchen in order to stay below an 80dB level, so as not to disturb his friend and business partner Sawyer, who dons a pair of noise-cancelling headphones while enjoying the film. He prepares rainbow trout, roasted smoked garlic (some next level shit, as he asserts) for a vinaigrette, a tomato salad, and kale leaves as a serving dish for the sustainable, silent sustenance. No spoilers on whether he maintained a quiet enough kitchen so as to not end up as alien food.
Chilean Sea Bass from Jurassic Park
The dish that very nearly drove the species to extinction, this may be one of the more expensive episodes of the show, as Rea claims that it’s nigh-impossible to find any Chilean sea bass for less than $30/lb. While his signature sous vide method of cooking the fish results in things being too tender, a pan roast does the trick to keep things lean and clean, with a nice erupting flame to boot. The lemon jus sees an appearance from the one and only Tiny Whisk, which I’m amazed doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page by this point. In the end, the whole affair ends up in the much-ballyhooed clean plate club, which again, where the hell is that Wiki?
Carol’s Beet and Acorn Cookies from The Walking Dead
After a foraging expedition with Ashwin Ramdan (aka Ashwin Enjoys Nature), Rea re-created the cookies from the iconic zombie television drama. Using the visible beets, acorns, and cacao nibs, Rea stays faithful to the original recipe to less than satisfactory results. As such, we get the Babish version of the treats, adding sweeteners like brown sugar and vanilla extract, as well as chocolate chips for shits and giggles. The final product is a crinkle cookie that gets a small food shake of satisfaction, though ultimately he recommends making any other kind of cookie but this, assuming the viewer isn’t watching this clip during the apocalypse.