PA-Based Chef Chad Kubanoff Documents Real Life in the Kitchen

There are plenty of chefs who snap photos of their gorgeous daily specials, towering pastry masterpieces or giant hunks of meat smoking overnight. But Chad Kubanoff, a Bucks County-based chef, uses podcasting, video and writing to dig deeply into the culinary scene in Pennsylvania, and he takes a square-on look at life in professional kitchens. Kubanoff’s podcast and video series are both titled, Yes Chef, a common expression of deference to the head chef in the rigidly hierarchical restaurant kitchen.

After living in Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam for six years, working as the executive chef at a fine dining restaurant, Kubanoff opened a Vietnamese street-food joint, Same Same, in Philly’s Northern Liberties neighborhood in 2015. He and his partners shuttered the restaurant in late 2016, and he says that experience taught him volumes about marketing.

“No matter how good your food or service is, if people don’t know about it, you’re going out of business,” he said. “I knew that I needed to cultivate a following before I started my next big project to give me the greatest chance of success.”

So, in the spring of 2018, he started taking video creation seriously, and also began podcasting on the advice of entrepreneur, author and internet personality, Gary Vaynerchuk.

Kubanoff’s YouTube channel offers a number of videos, ranging from first-person expositions on topics, including “Should You Go to Culinary School, Worth It?” to quick and dirty how-to videos, like “1 Minute Lesson on How to Use a Pasta Extruder.”

Straight-forward and no-holds-barred, Kubanoff offers plenty of opinions, but delivers them in a fun, chatty way. His videos have a DIY aesthetic, but have special touches, like clean editing and background music. He also posts short videos nearly every day on Instagram, many of which go behind-the-scenes at popular restaurants, like Cadence and TALK in Philly. Some are quick snippets of visits to local PA farms, such as Plowshare Farms in Pipersville and Barefoot Botanicals in Doylestown. If you are a pro cook or just curious about chef culture, Kubanoff is definitely worth a follow.

Kubanoff’s podcasts (find them streaming on his website, as well as on most of the major podcasting apps) are where you can take the deepest dive into chef life, with one-hour interviews with people from all across the local culinary community. Past guests included Bryan Mayer, the former butcher at Kensington Quarters, Mark Fischer of Castle Valley Mill and Malaika Spencer of Roots to River Farm. In these interviews Kubanoff strikes a friendly, conversational tone with his guests and is often able to get them to open up about the struggles, passion and heartbreak that come along with the job.

Kubanoff’s future plans include buying a large plot of land, outside of either Philadelphia or New York, where he can develop cuisine that’s closely connected to that patch of earth.

“I want to create an experience where people can come to the property and enjoy a dinner of produce and game that was directly harvested from the grounds and cooked over open fire,” he says. “I have become obsessed with creating an experience that cannot exist anywhere else.”

He says that he doesn’t expect these plans to come together for another few years and, in the meantime, he will continue to build his reputation and brand “to get people to actually come out to the property when it’s ready.”

Keep up with Kubanoff’s culinary adventures via his Yes Chef  YouTube series and podcast, and be sure to follow along on Instagram!

  • Feature photo: Pexels