There’s a new social media chef in town and he tries very hard not to get fur in his culinary creations. Chef Badger, a golden retriever who often wears a chef’s hat and coat and features Crocs in his cooking videos, has more than 170,000 fans following his Cooking with Badger Instagram account. The followers are gone bastards over the dog, watching as he “cooks” hundreds of meals — from spaghetti and meatballs to clam chowder — in hilarious short-form videos set to music.
“He’s the best dog in the whole world,” shares his dog-mom Jessica, a private chef who prefers to keep her last name anonymous to protect her clients’ privacy. Badger is an adorable 18-month-old male Golden Retriever whose breeding line wowed Jessica and her husband when they spent time babysitting Badger’s uncle and were taken back by the dog’s incredible temperament.
“We need one of these,” Jessica remembers thinking. It would take nearly two years for the couple to adopt Badger from the small rancher, who mostly caters to family and friends. Today the family lives happily together in Lake Tahoe. In the adorable account, “Badger” refers to his mother and father as “parents.”
“It was my lifelong dream,” Jessica says of having a golden retriever.
The couple behind Badger’s account have no professional social media experience, but Jessica has over 10 years of experience in the culinary industry. Before starting a family, she spent her professional career working as a personal chef. The idea to bring Badger into the kitchen came spontaneously: “I just thought it would be fun if Badger became Our personal chef,” he shares.
“Since I cook all the time,” she says, “[Badger is] just standing there and looking at me. I thought it would be fun to pick him up and see how much he wanted to be involved.”
The couple and Badger were on vacation in the family RV when they decided to give it a shot. Much to their delight, Badger cooperated fully. During filming, Jessica’s husband helps Badger by hugging him from behind and waving his arms while Jessica controls the camera. “He was just happy to be closer to us,” she recalls of our early days of filming together.
They weren’t sure what would happen after they posted footage of Badger on social media, but the account quickly took off. For the production, Jessica tests her skills as a chef and is responsible for all food prep and cutting. Before shooting, they organize everything in locations around their kitchen. They also try to limit filming to no more than 10 minutes at a time to keep Badger’s interest from fading. During that time, they try to film as many scenes as possible before taking a break.
Luckily, there’s no hungry chef to contend with: Badger surprisingly never tries to eat the food they’re cooking. “He is AS polite,” Jessica says. “I don’t even get it. He’s not really food-motivated, so it worked in our favor.”
If they’re cooking steak or chicken, they Want feed Badger after filming – a fitting reward for his culinary mastery. Badger’s favorite food? Raw filet mignon. “She’s very elegant,” Jessica tells Yahoo Life.
Since launching less than a year ago, the couple has posted hundreds of recipe videos on Instagram, many of which have received millions of views. While Badger spends most of his time cooking in the family kitchen, he also enjoys cooking while camping, such as on a recent RV trip to Colorado. Most of the videos shared on the account are of Badger cooking, but Jessica says she also helps out around the house by cleaning and organizing the pantry.
“It’s very versatile,” she says. “Coming from my background as a personal chef, you basically have to cook what the customer wants that night, and they can cook it All.”
Badger loves to cook his father’s favorite dish: wild Atlantic cod maple miso with sugar snap peas and bugle, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. But what else does the future hold for the charismatic pup? Jessica believes that everything is readable for his dog. “I would absolutely love to do a cookbook with Badger,” she says.
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