Steven Lim acknowledges two major worries in his job: Trying to avoid putting on an extra 20 pounds or so, and trying not to become a total restaurant snob.
“This is going to ruin me,” he said.
This, in this case, is “Worth It,” a BuzzFeed original series Lim helped create and stars in. “Worth It,” features Lim and co-star Andrew Ilnyckyj comparing high end menu items like $US70 cheesecakes with $US4 variations.
That means suffering through multiple variations of high-end and low-end burgers, lobster tails, tacos and doughnuts while getting to hang with celeb chefs like Marcus Samuelsson and David Chang.
“Worth It” is one of a new breed of shows that BuzzFeed is touting as its answer to TV hits in hopes of landing budgets from traditional marketers, as Business Insider reported.
Ironically, Lim’s first job out of school was at Procter & Gamble as an engineer working on the Tide Laundry Pods.
Around 2013, he left P&G and took a shot at becoming a YouTube influencer, an endeavour he says did not go well. But then he posted a video featuring people telling Asian parents that they love them, and it went wild, generating half a million views in its first week. BuzzFeed came calling.
Initially Lim wasn’t sure. “I really wanted to make sure I could make videos featuring Asian-American themes,” he said. BuzzFeed assured him he could, while promising to help him experiment with lots of other formats.
In 2016 he had an idea for a video asking the question about whether taking someone on a date at a super-expensive sushi restaurant was worth it compared to California-roll takeout. In one week it got 10 million views.
So he made a similar video the next week. Then another the following week. By episode four, it was clear the audience loved the concept and “Worth It” was born.
“Food is the ultimate cultural touchpoint. Anybody can relate to it,” Lim said between bites of an off-the-menu, cured-bacon-topped burger at New York’s Gramercy Tavern in New York, one of the spots featured on “Worth It.” “I’m not a burger guy, but this one is my favourite.”
Season 3 of “Worth It” — which debuts on Aug. 27 — will bring Ilnyckyj and Lim to locales like Syndey, Australia and features the pair sampling caviar. Yeah, he may already be ruined.
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