Bon Appetit chef Brad Leone defends ‘atrocious’ recipe: ‘Sorry for your diarrhea’


This pastrami is starting an internet beef.

Dicey celebrity chef Brad Leone — who hosts a series of cooking videos called “It’s Alive” with Bon Appetit — is getting some serious foodie flack on his most recent tutorial, “Brad Makes Pastrami.” In the video, posted to YouTube on April 4, the bearded, beanie-wearing bro gets a little too creative when it comes to his food handling, critics say.

After trimming up a 10-pound slab of brisket, Leone introduces “a little bit of experiment.”

“The next step is corning our brisket, corning our beef. Traditionally it’s done with a pink curing salt. I’m gonna go away from that,” he says in the segment. “We’re gonna use some celery and some sauerkraut juice along with some traditional spices.”

Leone’s process for making pastrami has been criticized.
Bon Appetit/YouTube

YouTube commenters quickly rushed to chide him and the dubious technique. “I love Brad, his recipes are giving straight up botulism 24/7,” one viewer commented.

“This is honestly not a safe way to do pastrami,” another wrote. “Disappointing that BA keeps allowing Brad to keep putting out unsafe food practices in videos.”

Food media quickly piled on, with the San Francisco Chronicle reporting that Leone’s approach is “extremely dangerous” and “a botulism party.” Gawker chimed in with their own spicy take: “Bon Appetit wants to give you botulism.” This isn’t Leone’s first brush with controversy — last year, Bon Appetit removed his tutorial on seafood canning, after experts pointed out that his unconventional approach could potentially poison home cooks. Leone later apologized on Instagram.

Leone said in his video to "use some celery and some sauerkraut juice along with some traditional spices."
Leone said in his video to “use some celery and some sauerkraut juice along with some traditional spices.”
brad_leone/Instagram

Yet so far, he hasn’t backed down on his pastrami pointers.

On Leone’s Instagram, where he has more than 850,000 followers, one user shared that she got sick from Leone’s recipe. “I made the brisket recipe just as you described and now I have absolutely atrocious diarrhea — I mean mind boggling diarrhea,” she wrote. “Did this happen to you after you ate it thanks.”

The chef was quick to defend his wild ways, responding to the loaded question: “I’ve never gotten sick from any of my ferments or cooking experiments.”

“Not sure where you live but there’s a crazy stomach virus going around by me,” he continued. “Sorry to hear about your intense diarrhea. Stay hydrated.”

The pastrami.
The pastrami.
brad_leone/Instagram

But experts refuse to meat Leone halfway.

Food influencer Joe Rosenthal replied to Leone’s dry response: “It’s worth noting that playing Russian roulette for a few rounds doesn’t mean the gun isn’t loaded: it means you’re lucky and shouldn’t be playing Russian roulette, or more importantly telling your massive audience to do it,” he wrote. Rosenthal posted a screengrab of this critique on Twitter after figuring out that Leone had “restricted” his account on Instagram, automatically hiding his comments. He also published not one, but two separate Instagram highlights dissecting the dangers of Leone’s pastrami instructional video and calling out the chef directly.

The chef with a fish.
The chef with a fish.
brad_leone/Instagram

In the San Francisco Chronicle article, culinary scientist Ali Bouzari agreed that using celery juice instead of salt to cure the pastrami is highly risky.

“Just like every peach varies in sugar content or every lemon in acid, every stalk of celery is prone to different nitrate load depending on how it was grown,” Bouzari told the outlet. So while this could work in theory, he suggests, it’s not worth taking the chance that some bacteria — especially strains that cause food-borne illnesses including botulism, which is highly toxic — might survive.

The stern warning was reiterated by San Francisco chef Adam Rosenblum, who is known for his decadent pastrami dishes.

“I’ve heard horror stories of someone using the wrong nitrite and too much of it and people getting sick,” he told the Chronicle.

As Leone’s commenters have pointed out, the risk of eating improperly cured meat ranges from gastrointestinal distress to the rare-but-serious condition of botulism, which can cause muscle paralysis — and worse.

Pastrami
In the San Francisco Chronicle article, culinary scientist Ali Bouzari agreed that using celery juice instead of salt to cure the pastrami is highly risky.
brad_leone/Instagram

“Under certain conditions, these spores can grow and make one of the most lethal toxins known,” the CDC reports.

Condé Nast, the parent company of Bon Appetit, did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.

While the backlash has yet to get Leone’s pastrami video taken down, a new disclaimer had been added on YouTube.

“Although we all enjoy the discoveries that come with Brad’s unique experiments in the kitchen, if you’re inspired to create your own version at home be sure to follow a tried and tested recipe so your preparations line up with food safety standards.”



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