There have been many food-themed dance crazes through the ages, from the Mashed Potato to the Peppermint Stick. But none captures the joys of culinary creativity as fully as the cooking dance, a trend that can be traced back to rapper and Internet legend Lil B (a.k.a., the Based God).
Lil B refers to many of his songs as Cooking Music, and they’re helpfully labelled as such on his YouTube page. These songs provide the ideal soundtrack for the cooking dance, which essentially involves simulating various kitchen maneuvers—whipping a pot, putting a tray into the oven, spooning food onto a plate—to the beat of the music. Part of the fun is trying to figure what, exactly, the dancer is imagining he’s doing while performing each move. Pounding out a schnitzel? Slicing pineapple of the top of an al pastor spit? Plating a modernist dessert?
After the Based God set the table, the cooking dance exploded as a viral sensation around 2011, starting with amateur YouTube videos and spreading to athletes and other celebrities who busted it out as shorthand for cultural savvy. But what’s most remarkable is it’s longevity—from Little Leaguers to the Aubrey “360 with the wrist” Graham, people have embraced the simplicity of the dance and transformed it from a flash-in-the-pan meme to something far more powerful.
Here at First We Feast, we believe there should be more dancing in the food world. Why don’t more “rock star” chefs have rock star moves when they’re tweezering microgreens onto a plate? And why don’t more restaurants have impromptu 50 Cent dance breaks like Ricardo’s Steak House in East Harlem?
If you love the kitchen and you love to dance, the cooking dance is for you. Here’s what you need to know to master the art.
There are only two appropriate things to say while doing the cooking dance.
One is “let that boy cook.” The other is “swag.”
Garish, impractical jewlery will only enhance your chances of cooking-dance success.
Soulja Boy, tell ’em.
You can flaunt your cooking cred by incorporating moves from your favorite celebrity chefs.
Emeril was doing the cooking dance long before Lil B uttered his first “swag,” tbh.
The cooking dance is appropriate for celebrating life’s triumphs, like scoring a goal in an international soccer matches…
Spread the cooking gospel to the world.
…or scoring a touchdown.
NFL Sundays are practically dancing feasts.
The most important ingredient you can bring to the dance is energy.
Self-consciousness has no place on the culinary dance floor. This guy knows.
Don’t limit yourself to the cooking music of Lil B.
Dig deep to find songs to cook to, like this gem from Dangeruss—the Florida rapper who inspired James Franco’s character in Spring Breakers.
It is acceptable to do the cooking dance while holding actual food.
Some fine Internet denizens have created these GIFs to demonstrate.
When possible, coordinate your cooking with friends.
Every chef de cuisine of dancing could use a sous chef.
Or a whole brigade of sous, sauciers, and chefs de partie.
The VCU men’s basketball team shows us how it’s done.
When in doubt, look to the Based God.
Lil B is the Thomas Keller, Jacques Pepin, and Rene Redzepi of the cooking dance.
Don’t forget that eating is a part of cooking.
This move is particularly good for beginners with no rhythm.
Remember that the cooking dance is sort of about drugs, but it’s okay.
When 2 Chainz said he “made a million, off a dinner fork,” he wasn’t talking about making soufflés. He was talking about cooking crack. When visualizing your own cooking dance moves, you should probably focus on motions you’re more familiar with, like beating Betty Crocker brownie mix.
Keep it G-rated.
C’mon, Nicki—the cooking dance is for the kids!