You may know Jonathan Cheban as the guy who looks like—but isn’t—Scott Disick on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Or perhaps as the celebrity-publicist-turned-reality-TV-star on The Spin Crowd. But to 2.5 million people on Instagram, he’s the Foodgōd. Cheban has turned his love of eating out and posting photos of himself into something of a legitimate side hustle, with plans to roll out all kinds of products and, in his words, a “monster YouTube channel” later this year.
Clearly, the food world is taking note: After picking the winning burger at the New York Wine & Food Festival, Cheban was invited to do a repeat performance as one of the judges—alongside Lele Pons and Andy Cohen—at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Over 40 different burgers, we took five minutes to learn what it means to be Foodgōd—and uncovered 10 (very unofficial) commandments of the gig.
Thou Shall Bear the Burden of Recommendations.
Once christened Foodgōd, people will expect things of you. Namely, recommendations on where to eat and what to order, and it’s up to you to drop everything and heed the call.
“It means a lot of responsibility from the rest of the world, following me on food trends, where to go, what to do,” Cheban explained. “Kris Jenner calls me right away, like ‘I’m coming, where do we go?’ All my friends—people like Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade—ask me where to go, what’s good.”
Thou Shalt Not Cook. Ever.
When you’re a Foodgōd, you don’t deal with things like stoves and sauté pans.
“Chefs cook, I eat out,” Cheban said. “In this day and age, people want to know where to go, what to eat, what to do, more than how to make stuff. Who cares about recipes anymore? It’s a different era.”
“Who cares about recipes anymore? It’s a different era.”
Thou Shall Have No Other Restaurants Above Nobu.
Your order constantly changes and evolves, because a Foodgōd’s what-to-order omniscience depends on knowing and trying it all, even at Nobu.
“Nobu is my number one,” Cheban said. “I don’t order the basic rock shrimp or the black cod, because that’s for people that have never been to Nobu. But I order everything: the new-style salmon, all the kobe. The sauces at Nobu are like nowhere else in the world. And it’s consistent everywhere in the world.”
Thou Shall Spread the Gospel of Cheese Tea.
At least, until a new obsession comes your way.
“My thing that I’m addicted to is cheese tea,” he said. “I drive to Queens and Brooklyn when I’m in New York, and I go to these crazy neighborhoods and find little places that sell cheese tea. I’m addicted to it. That’s the hype right now.”
Thou Shalt Not Be Mean (Unless It Happens Live).
Obviously, a Foodgōd doesn’t love everything he eats.
“I’m not a bad mouther, you know what I mean? I’ll do that on my YouTube channel, watch that next month,” Cheban said. “It’ll be live so people can see it. If they see video of what’s going on, they’ll understand, because I don’t want to bash anybody.”
Thou Shall Fearlessly Plug Thy YouTube Channel.
Cheban got his start in public relations, and those marketing skills serve him well as Foodgōd. Want to know what he hates? Wait for his YouTube channel. Want to know his workout routine? YouTube.
“The ultimate [goal] is just building a monster YouTube channel that’ll be like a TV show,” he said. “I’ve been on TV for so long, and I love it—you know, I still film Kardashians, it’s my favorite show ever—but this is my show. People are going to see my friends, my characters.”
“I still film ‘Kardashians,’ it’s my favorite show ever—but this is my show.”
Thou Shall Know All the Cool Cities. All of Them.
As Foodgōd, you better have all your frequent flyer accounts on lock, because you’ll be using them. A lot.
“I love the pressure of knowing the latest trends, the newest places to go, and hot cities—places like Monaco and Ibiza,” Cheban said.
Thou Shall Zap Your Abs into Chiseled Submission.
While Cheban stayed mum on his Foodgōd workout—it’s coming soon to YouTube, naturally—he did disclose he does electro muscle therapy regularly to work his abs. (While the FDA regulates these devices and says they can strengthen and tone muscles, you shouldn’t expect “six-pack abs” or “a major change in your appearance” from the machine alone.)
Thou Shall Have a Dessert in Thy Likeness.
When you’ve made it your life’s work to know what dishes will rack up likes, it only makes sense that restaurants would tap you to engineer some buzz. Miami’s Komodo invited Cheban into the kitchen to create a signature dessert known as the “Foodgod Baked Alaska Surprise.” It’s a Fruity Pebbles and meringue-topped pile of cake batter, strawberry ice cream, Funfetti cake, and cotton candy that’s lit ablaze tableside. Perfect for anyone who’s in it for the ‘gram.
Thou Shalt Not Stop Going. And Going.
The demands of a Foodgōd are never ending, and his schedule reflects as much.
“It’s a lot of packing, unpacking, luggage, planes, hotel rooms. It’s constant,” Cheban said. “I’m very scheduled; like every hour, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to eat here. The facial’s at this time, the trainer’s at this time, the electro-muscle therapy’s at this time… it’s like every day is a whole thing.”