The Donut Daddy knows what you knead. Tall, dark, and handsome with a jaw sharper than Superman’s, he parts a ball of dough in two before … going down on it? Well, he’s sort of just smothering his face into the floury mound, but that’s the idea. Now he’s piping on Nutella using a bag labeled … “Daddy’s nuts.” By the end of the video, he’s topless, standing in an immaculate and minimalistic kitchen, biting his lip and showing off, what else, a Nutella-and-strawberry pizza. Next, he’s smizing to the beat of a deep-house remix of “Sweet Dreams,” by the Eurythmics, seductively fingering oranges, cracking eggs in between his chest muscles, and fluttering his tongue over utensils smothered in cream, because he’s now making carrot cake.
“It’s like a hot and sweaty battlefield in the kitchen; it’s not as easy as it looks,” Daddy tells me over Zoom. Sometimes it takes him up to ten hours to film, edit, and upload these horny cooking videos to Instagram and TikTok.
The Australian chef, whose real name is Anthony Randello, is one of the rising stars of the thirst-trap internet-chef world — a world inhabited by largely topless men, trying hard (maybe too hard) to whet your appetite and seduce your stomach. Think Skinemax meets Food Network: photogenic chefs posting videos of themselves making photogenic dishes between quick shots of their bare, muscly arms hornily kneading and slapping dough, their mouths tonguing some dripping piece of fruit, their eyes making deep and longing eye contact with the camera. They are shameless in their innuendos and will either make your toes curl in cringe or take your breath away — but the food always looks delicious, at least.
Sweet or sour? #donutdaddy #lemon #zest Key lime pie donut: Key lime pie filling. Candied lime, lime zests. Torched Swiss meringue. Lemon meringue donut: lemon curd filling, lemon zest and candied lemon. Swiss meringue, torched. Decorated with piped meringue and Meringue sticks #meringue #lemon #zesty #lime #keylimepie #pie #key #dessert #chef #pastry #treat #sweet #gourmet #artisan #desserts #yummy #handmade #chef #pastrychef♬ Edit Phonk (Slowed) - Bgnzinho
Chances are you’ve seen one of these videos during a before-bed doomscroll because the algorithm has something for every taste. If you’re into European class and Michelin-star standards, for example, Cedrik Lorenzen’s neatly decadent expensive-looking dishes will satisfy — as long as you don’t mind his running his tongue over the finished plate. Prefer your food a little less fancy-shmancy? Try Gianluca Conte (or QCP, as he’s more commonly known), who has some casual pasta dishes for you, which he’ll make while casually guzzling olive oil directly from the bottle, pulling out parsley from his pants, and cracking eggs with his mouth, all while wearing an apron reading the word “betch” and not much else. If you have a sweet tooth, stick with Donut Daddy. (By the way, there are more of these guys. Consider this an amuse-bouche.)
Since his first heavy-on-the-horniess video — in which he says he made a Valentine’s Day Nutella donut “that didn’t even look good” — Randello has racked up 270,000 Instagram followers and 1.7 million TikTok likes, as well as spots on local morning news shows and his own merch line. He cooks IRL, too: He’s got two dessert businesses, Melbourne-based donut shop Levain and a pop-up catering business, Jammd Desserts.
His social-media accounts weren’t always this porn-y. Before eight months ago, you could expect just the occasional gym selfie between overhead shots of desserts and photo dumps from weekend food festivals. Then the algorithm introduced him to (in his words) “more sensual styles” of cooking videos via Instagram Reels. “I thought I’d give it a go and then after a few, one went viral, so I kept going with it,” he says.
As one fan, 45-year-old Laurie Courtney from North Carolina, comments, “How does the sight of curling meringue make me wet? What is HAPPENING?” “I don’t typically find food and sexuality to be inviting bedfellows,” she tells me when we chat over Instagram DMs, “but Donut Daddy has somehow punctured through that wall for me. I’m enamored because of this confusion; the explicit way he almost anthropomorphizes food makes it feel both sensual and naughty but in a very sexy, unthreatening way.”
“My friends find it all hilarious,” Randello says, adding that his family is “very chill” about it. “There’s this morning show called Sunrise I was invited onto in Melbourne. I was slapping dough and all this crazy stuff on it and my granddad saw me on TV. He was ecstatic.”
Thirty-two-year-old Lorenzen is the original godfather of thirst-trap cooking. Based in Switzerland, the self-trained chef has been perfecting the art for five years on Instagram and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram and 99.9 million TikTok likes. “The way I started this page was using the idea of impressing your significant other. Acts of service is my love language,” Lorenzen explains over Zoom, at home in a crisp white shirt. In one Instagram post, techno music plays in his pristine stainless-steel kitchen as he suggestively lubes up various phallic vegetables with olive oil for his ricotta ratatouille. “I want you to sit on my table after dinner so I can eat you for dessert,” he captions. In another, he slowly licks the entire length of a creme-caramel tart.
“His videos are definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. I feel like I [shouldn’t] be watching them, but there is something strangely empowering about watching a beautiful man move so sensually around a kitchen,” says one follower, Naomi Wood, also over Instagram DM. “He’s like a lovechild of Channing Tatum and Nigella Lawson,” says the 28-year-old from London. “What’s not to love?”
“I was studying at the business-management school École hôtelière de Lausanne,” Lorenzen tells me. “I thought, I’m starting my studies, why not open up Instagram with the idea of practicing some dishes that I could see in my future business? The page just evolved from there. I love eating healthy and working out too, and I guess I wanted to show it, so I started combining them with my love language.” Lorenzen says his page is just part of a much bigger business plan, with his main goal being to become a restaurateur.
“I don’t always get my page right,” Lorenzen says with a laugh. “Some of my stuff is a bit too extreme, maybe a bit too, let’s say, ‘sexual,’ or maybe a bit too cringey. But I think, overall, I always try to bring it back to artistic and visually interesting dishes.”
Lorenzen doesn’t seem to be worried about competitors with similar pages. “There’s a lot of copycats now imitating what I do,” he says, but their content “lacks a certain charm or a certain sense of elegance or class.” “To be honest, I think the only reason why they’re doing it is because they see that a lot of women are into it, you know?”