Daddy Jack’s: Bringing restaurant cooking home
There are two things in life Jack Chaplin loves: cooking and people. A seasoned restaurateur, “Daddy Jack” opened his first establishment in 1992 and never looked back. But unlike other chefs, Chaplin isn’t afraid to share his secret recipes with his customers — in fact, he welcomes it.
To share his years of knowledge with home cooks, Chaplin launched a YouTube channel called “Cooking with the Blues” in 2009. In his popular video tutorials, Chaplin keeps it real: no special lighting, no microphones, just himself and a cell phone camera. Despite the basic production, his videos have been a raging success.
“I never expected that in my wildest dreams that it would have progressed as fast as it did,” Chaplin says.
When COVID-19 forced restaurants around the country to close, Daddy Jack’s YouTube channel took on new importance. Without the ability to connect face-to-face, Chaplin stepped up his video production with new content for people looking for connection from home.
“During the quarantine, we’ve switched to doing our videos at home instead of down at the restaurant,” he says. “Our [subscribers] are really enjoying the fact that we’re cooking out of a home kitchen, especially because there are a lot of people in the world that have been locked down, that are lonely and they’re turning to watching the videos to find relief. It makes me feel so good to be able to help people in a time of need.”
Food cuts across all cultures, all religions, all races. To me, when somebody from say, Brazil, connects with me, it's almost like food is offering peace in a way … especially through these times of crisis, because we’re all in the same situation.”
Daddy Jack’s has also donated house-made pizza kits every day to community members in need, and they’ve documented the whole journey on YouTube. Many of those who’ve received a kit have recorded videos of the pizza assembly process — content Jack has enjoyed sharing with his audience.
He’s also inspired friendly competition and thus, a stronger online community among many who became regular viewers during quarantine. One of his fans’ newest pastimes is challenging each other to who can best prepare the recipes Jack posts from their own home kitchens, in the US and around the world.
“Food cuts across all cultures, all religions, all races. To me, when somebody from say, Brazil, connects with me, it's almost like food is offering peace in a way … especially through these times of crisis, because we’re all in the same situation.”
The videos have been a lifeline for Chaplin and his digital community that spans the globe — especially during COVID-19. In combination with the revenue brought in through his channel, the generous donations of his wide viewing audience have helped Jack continue to serve the community and keep the restaurant afloat.
But perhaps what brings him the biggest joy is his interactions with those who tune in.
“I wake up every morning and there’s replies and comments that are like diamonds to me. The ability to help, to have been a comfort to people…that, to me, is so powerful and magical.”
Find out more about Daddy Jack’s in the video above, and be sure to check out Jack’s YouTube channel to learn delicious recipes you can make at home.