Chef Sanjay Thumma is my current favorite time suck.
It's refreshing to watch someone demonstrate mouth-watering dishes with uninhibited joy, a matter-of-fact globalism and minimal make-up. It helps that I love so many cuisines in India, but what immediately appealed to me is his stance as a teacher. It's a very different experience to learn about traditional foods from someone who assumes, from the beginning, that his audience is not comprised of outsiders. Like a student whose teacher sets high expectations, viewers and home cooks rise to the challenge.
His balance of expert advice with friendly reassurance is neither oversimplified nor condescending. He's a professional who knows his stuff, yet he doesn't gleam with that over-polished, over-packaged look of television. Each video, from 2 to 10 minutes, covers one specific dish -- just enough for a mouth-watering work break if not dinner inspiration.
Don't expect super-high production value. Two still cameras and a complete lack of location shots does not a sexy food show make. But what Thumma's demos lack in glamour, he more than makes up with passionate enthusiasm (a taste of Hydrabadi mutton biryani literally brings him to tears), humor and generosity. Both veg and non-veg recipes appear in his demos, and he discusses the food of diverse communities across India.