YouTube star makes Brad Pitt's mac and cheese for the Oscars - Insider - INSIDER

  • YouTube star Andrew Rea recreates dishes from movies and TV shows on his popular channel Binging with Babish. 
  • In honor of the Oscars, Rea decided to recreate the mac and cheese from Brad Pitt's scene in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." 
  • Rea told Insider that he thought it was the "hottest cooking scene of the year." 
  • Rea — who has a partnership with Bounty — also showed Insider how to create a 10-minute elevated mac and cheese that would be perfect for an Oscars party. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Jennifer Lopez's iconic pole-dancing routine in "Hustlers" may have been the talk of Hollywood this awards season, but a very different movie scene also seemed to get people's pulses racing. And all it involved was Brad Pitt, squeezed into the tiny kitchen of a filthy trailer, making Kraft Mac & Cheese. 

The "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" scene inspired articles and was even hailed as "erotic" — which is exactly why Andrew Rea, who recreates dishes from movies and TV on his popular YouTube channel Binging with Babish, decided to make his own version

"Let's face it, it was the hottest cooking scene of the year," Rea told Insider. "Brad Pitt makes Blue Box macaroni and cheese, and he does it in the dirtiest, nastiest, and sexiest way possible."

Rea — who has a partnership with Bounty — showed Insider how he recreated the dish to honor Pitt's scene in the film, as well as how to whip up an easy, delicious version for your Oscars party in just 10 minutes.

In "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," Pitt's character Cliff Booth — a washed-up Hollywood stuntman — makes the most simple version of mac and cheese possible.

Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Pitt makes mac and cheese in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
Sony Pictures

We see Booth cook the macaroni in some boiling water before dumping a packet of powdered cheese right on top. He then takes it to the couch and starts eating dinner straight from the pan.

"He just mixes the powder in the pasta. No water, no milk, no butter, none of that fancy stuff," Rea said. "Just scrapes it in there. It's a wonderful culinary moment in the movie." 

"The Blue Box scene is just mouthwatering for some reason, even though it is perfectly disgusting," he added. "But, you got Brad Pitt doing it." 

Rea found that there was "something inherently nostalgic" about the scene because of its connection with macaroni and cheese.

Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Pitt making mac and cheese in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
Sony Pictures

"Blue Box mac and cheese was invented during the Great Depression because it's an inexpensive, relatively wholesome meal that can be made quickly and with minimal ingredients," he said. "And we all pretty much grew up with it. I personally had a lot of it — too much, I might say." 

And Rea felt that Pitt's acting, along with Quentin Tarantino's directing, tied everything together to make it the "standout food scene of the year." 

"It tapped into that nostalgic factor, then you've got Brad Pitt making it in this very aloof, very sexy way," he said. "Plus, Tarantino has an ability to flip our nostalgia switch and make us excited about different time periods. He also just has a way of making food look good. This was a perfect addition to his repertoire of onscreen foods."

Rea wanted to recreate his own version of mac and cheese that was as close to the movie's version as possible, so he bought powdered cheeses off of Amazon.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Andrew Rea of Binging with Babish.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

"My whole shtick with my show is that I recreate foods from movies and television as rigorously accurate as possible," he said. "And I try to either improve or make my own version of the recipe." 

Rea purchased powdered cheddar cheese, blue cheese, and parmesan cheese to make his "own bespoke powdered cheese blend."

Since Pitt doesn't add either milk or butter to his mac and cheese in the scene, Rea decided to recreate but upgrade his own recipe by adding buttermilk powder and butter powder instead. 

"Brad just dumped the cheese sauce in there, mashed it up and ate it. And that's great," he said. "But if you wanted to do that practically, and still have the creaminess with milk and butter added, use powdered milk and powdered butter." 

But Rea also loves going over-the-top on his show, which is why he decided to try and make his own dehydrated cheese powder from scratch.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Rea showed Insider the dehydrated cheese he made from scratch.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Rea dehydrated Gruyère, cheddar, and parmesan cheeses, as well as American and blue cheeses, for his mixture. 

After dehydrating the cheese, Rea sandwiched the mixture between paper towels to remove some of the oil in the cheese and "increase its shelf life."

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Rea used paper towels to get oil out of the dehydrated cheese.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

"Being able to show interesting techniques or interesting processes is a big motivator for why I do things on the show," he said. "Making your own dehydrated cheese powder is not something I expect anyone to do, but it's a lot of fun."

He then poured the "slightly drier cheese" into a blender to end up with a homemade cheese powder.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Then Rea blended the cheese to turn it into a powder.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

"I'm trying to get as close to the Blue Box stuff as I can, while making it as gourmet as possible," he explained. 

Rea said he was surprised by how well the dehydrated cheese worked in his recreation.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Rea found that his own dehydrated cheese acted a lot like fresh cheese.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

"Once rehydrated, it actually became stretchy — like fresh cheese melting — which is really exciting for me," he said. "Some people might see that and be like, 'You just dehydrated cheese and rehydrated it in the same day, what the hell is the point?' And, you know what, 'cause it's a YouTube show."

"The great thing about YouTube is it affords you the opportunity to explore ridiculous premises and see what kind of outcomes they would have," he added.

Since dehydrating cheese yourself is very difficult, Rea whipped up his 10-minute version of an elevated mac and cheese that would be perfect for any Oscar party.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Rea cooks a pot of macaroni for his 10-minute recipe.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Rea begins by cooking the macaroni in a mixture of water and milk. 

"Doing so not only soaks up the milk and the pasta gets cooked nicely, but the pasta also releases a whole bunch of starch," he explained. 

If you find that there's too much liquid in your pot, Rea recommends simply adding more pasta to soak it up. But you want to end up with "a little bit of cooking liquid at the bottom of the pot," he added. That will come in handy later. 

Once the pasta is cooked, Rea adds a mixture of cheeses to the pot.

mac19.JPG
Rea adds plenty of different cheeses to his mac and cheese.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

You can pay tribute to Pitt's scene by using powdered cheese, or even a combination of powdered and fresh cheeses. 

Rea recommends mixing American cheese with either cheddar or Gruyère. But the American cheese, he believes, is nonnegotiable.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
But Rea said American cheese is the most important.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

"American cheese is full of emulsifiers, which give you this really nice, creamy, stretchy cheese sauce," he explained. "A lot of people love to hate on American cheese, and to them I say get out of here! There's no better way to make mac and cheese, seriously." 

Then it's time to stir everything together.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Rea gives the pot a good stir after adding the cheeses.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

That "little bit of cooking liquid" is there, and everything should look like a "nice, starchy, milk mixture," he advises. 

"Now I'm just going to stir it in, so everyone gets to know each other," he said. "We want to get that all melty. This just makes the most beautiful, creamy sauce — it's just out of control." 

"And my biggest advice with mac and cheese is always make more mac and cheese sauce than you think you need. It's never enough." 

Then Rea lets the pot sit on a towel for five minutes.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Then he lets the pot sit to let everything melt.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

"This will let the cheese get all melty," he said. "We don't want to keep it on the heat or else the fats will separate and it will get gross." 

After the cheese has nicely melted and he's given the pot a few more stirs, Rea adds his final touches.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
He also adds Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper to give it a kick.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

He adds a spoonful of Dijon mustard, a sprinkle of black pepper and kosher salt, and a touch of cayenne pepper. 

"It adds a little bit of heat," he said. "Not even enough to make it spicy, just enough to wake you up." 

"I mean, it's out of control," Rea says after taking a bite.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Rea said the mac and cheese was "out of control."
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Insider can confirm that the mac and cheese was, indeed, "out of control." 

Rea said he loves focusing on food in pop culture because he believes it can be a character in a story.

Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Pitt with his mac and cheese in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
Sony Pictures

"It can be as much of a character as the actors on screen," he said. "It can also be a device that brings people together, it's one of our universal experiences. And, for some reason, it looks so much better onscreen. It makes you want it, even when it's not very good. It taps into some part of you." 

Rea also found that food is the "easiest and most realistic way that you can have a tangible piece of your favorite movie or TV show in front of you." 

"You can see what it feels like, smells like, tastes like. You can live vicariously through your characters that way," he said. "So if you go home and make a box of Blue Box and eat it out of the pot, watching TV, you feel a little bit more like Cliff Booth." 

When it comes to mac and cheese, or just food for your Oscar party in general, Rea advises taking a page from Cliff Booth's book by keeping things simple.

Binging With Babish Mac & Cheese
Rea's easy mac and cheese.
Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

"Don't overdo it," he said. "Whether you're starting in the kitchen or you're relatively seasoned, I think you should try to keep it simple and just make the best possible version of something that you can." 

"This mac and cheese is the best mac and cheese I can make," he added, referring to his 10-minute version. "I could pour blood, sweat, and tears into some from-scratch béchamel sauce with bespoke artisanal cheeses, but this mac and cheese would please a crowd more than anything."

"I think that keeping it simple and elegant is way more impressive than trying to challenge your guests with multi-course tasting nonsense," he added. "Keep it simple, keep it tasty." 

You can find Rea's recipe for both of his mac and cheese dishes here

More: Features Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Oscars 2020

Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.


Read More

You Can Share It :


Photos