The Best Way to Support Chefs Without Buying a Cookbook

Cook along with your favorite chefs and bakers for a small monthly fee.

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If I don’t have a little treat every day, I will die. Edible treats are preferred, of course, but non-edible treats—puzzles, books, a nap, a cool pen, a framed photo of Tommy Lee Jones—are also welcome. In my opinion, the best treat is the kind you can set and forget. Take, for example, my monthly coffee bean subscription, which always seems to arrive at my door when I need it most. Lately, I’ve been hooked on a similar recurring treat: subscriptions to my favorite chefs’ Patreon pages.

Why you should support chefs on Patreon

A cookbook is a wonderful thing. I have many. But a Patreon allows you to follow along with a chef’s weekly or monthly whims, cooking right along with them as the seasons change. For example, baker and Takeout contributor Teresa Finney operates a Patreon for her independent bakery, At Heart Panaderia. A few weeks back, Finney released a strawberry tres leches cake recipe for Patreon patrons—a recipe that happened to pop up as I was itching to do some spring baking.

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Some Patreon chefs also conduct giveaways; Finney, for example, holds regular cookie box raffles for patrons. Angela Davis, the creator behind The Kitchenista, offers patron-only discounts when new merchandise drops. Reina Gascón-López of The Sofrito Project offers top-tier patrons access to a private cooking class schedule, a Discord server, and a private Instagram for cooking tips.

Ultimately, a chef Patreon is a great way to give yourself a Little Treat—one that arrives in your inbox weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on your Patreon tier. Most creators offer subscription tiers as low as $5, which is a tiny price to pay for access to their giant recipe archives, instructional videos, and sweet merch discounts. Plus, you get to support culinary innovation from masterminds across the country. Think of it as a chef’s kitchen, but less voyeuristic. Subscribe, friends—you deserve it, and so do the chefs.

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