The Food Network better get ready because there’s a new celebrity chef on the scene — and he can’t even talk yet.
Kobe, a 1-year-old food lover and culinary star known to his fans as “Chef Kobe,” has quickly become a very popular presence on social media thanks to his adorable (and practical) cooking videos.
The hands-on chef, who seems to enjoy playing with his food as much as he does eating it, prepares everything from classic comfort foods, like macaroni and cheese and pizza, to decidedly more complex dishes, including lamb chops and Thai beef bowls with basil.
With a little help from his parents, Kobe has quickly amassed a following of 1 million people on Instagram within the last few months. To put that in perspective, chef Jose Andres (whose restaurants have been awarded prestigious Michelin stars) has 514,000 followers. Guy Fieri has 1.4 million followers.
Chef Kobe’s mom, Ashely Wian, told TODAY Food that cooking is just one of the many practical things her son does at home, but it’s something in which he’s already taken a big interest.
“He has so much fun doing it and such a big, animated personality, I decided to record it to share originally with friends and family,” Wian said. “I wanted them all to see his excitement in the kitchen and also illustrate all the things he’s learning.”
When it comes to the types of cuisine the little chef prepares, he already has an affinity for a wide array of foods.
“Kobe had 100 different foods by the age of one. People loved seeing him try new foods when we started at six months, so it then evolved into him preparing those foods,” Wian told TODAY.
At the moment, his absolute favorites are blueberries and bananas.
While Kobe will happily try anything once, he particularly enjoys recipes made with cheese for the very relatable reason that “he gets to eat it” while he cooks, his mom said.
Kobe also enjoys preparing new recipes suggested by his followers, like a Turkish dish called menemen, made with eggs, tomato, green peppers and spices such as black pepper and red pepper, which he just tried for the first time.
Wian said the reactions to her son’s videos have been incredibly positive and she’s so happy to hear he “puts a smile on so many faces all over the world during such a difficult time.”
“I love that this quality time with my son turned into something inspiring for the world. These silly videos of us cooking together turned into something we never imagined!” she said.
Wian said she’s also heard from other parents who say these videos are inspiring them to get their own kids involved in the kitchen. It also inspiring people to take the time to sit down together as a family and enjoy a meal together, something Wian said is “extremely important” in her home.
“There are so many benefits to cooking … so many lessons, practical skills — and memories can be made,” she said.