'I taught myself to cook in lockdown, now I have 580k followers and my own recipe book'

A bartender who taught himself to cook during lockdown has managed to amass over 580,000 fans on social media and a recipe book deal after people fell in love with his food

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Bartender becomes chef with own recipe book during lockdown

When you find something you love to do, you should do something about it – as one man has proved by turning his passion into a dream job.

Former bartender, Bartek, who lives in London, started cooking during lockdown as a way to pass the time but the hobby has ended up completely changing his life.

The 25-year-old shared videos of his food on TikTok under the username @letsmunch and went viral, garnering 580,000 followers.

His clips have proved so popular he’s managed to land a recipe book deal and has been able to quit his job to start cooking full-time.

His S’mores French Toast was a hit online


Jam Press/@letsmunchh)

Thousands watch his food videos


Jam Press/@letsmunchh)

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It all started back in April 2020, when Bartek made a cheesecake at home while furloughed from his job.

His younger sister Tosia, 16, thought the sweet treat looked so impressive that he should post it on TikTok.

While he had always dabbled with cooking his own food – and had previously worked flipping burgers at Gourmet Burger Kitchen – Bartek had no experience with presentation or cooking meals from scratch.

The TikTok star, who is originally from Poland, decided to give the video-sharing app a go and his second post – creamy garlic and parmesan chicken – went viral, reaching 500,000 people overnight.

Bartek has been able to quit his job as a bartender and work on food full-time


Jam Press Vid/@letsmunchh)

Finding it fun to experiment and put new spins on classic dishes – including fried chorizo mac and cheese balls, spicy mango margarita prawns and steak and Eggs Benedict – he continued posting videos, filming the process on his phone and editing the clips himself.

His audience has continued to grow ever since and he credits his mum, Mariola, who would whip up traditional Polish recipes for his family, for helping him fall in love with food.

The budding chef has become so successful that he was able to quit his bartending job for good in August 2021 and has now launched his own recipe book with HP Custom Content called Let’s Munch: The Chronicles.

Speaking to Jam Press, he said: “I’ve always been in the kitchen with my mum so she taught me a lot, but I only really got into cooking because of lockdown.

“I filmed my first video and taught myself from there – I didn’t spend hours learning.”

He has his own recipe book


Jam Press/@letsmunchh)

He continued to say: “I never thought I was artistic or creative in any way before, but since I started cooking I just put some music on, give myself two or three hours [to try out a recipe] and I’m in the zone. It’s like time away from my own head.

“With TikTok, I came into it at a very good time, when everyone was at home cooking, so it made it easier for my audience to grow.

“It all happened so quickly – about four months after I started, I had a real following and people started to remake my recipes.

“Over lockdown, I’d film a recipe and then the next day 10 people had made it too. I just took things day by day and fell into it.”

Bartek believes his success might not just be down to the food, but also thanks to his image.

He explained: “There aren’t many cooks nowadays that the younger generation can relate to.

“You have Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver but not many younger people – especially from London.

“I think young people see me as a London boy doing it and talking like them, and think ‘yeah maybe I can do something like that’.”

He has now launched his recipe book, featuring some of his most popular dishes – including Korean beef bulgogi, buffalo chicken Alfredo and budget-friendly ramen.

As well as having physical copies of the recipes, each dish comes with a QR code so fans can cook along with the home chef.

A recent hit on TikTok has been his stuffed French toast, which racked up 800,000 likes and was viewed more than 4.5 million times.

The secret? Soaking a brioche loaf in custard before stuffing it with indulgent marshmallow spread and frying it up.

The dish went down a treat with followers and we can’t say we blame them for loving it – it sounds delicious!

Meanwhile, his stacked burger recipe was also a hit, with more than 175,000 people liking the post.

One person commented: “It’s a 10/10 from me.”

“Omg this looks so good,” said another viewer.

Someone else added: “I tried it and it was sooooo good.” [sic]

“Looks mad tasty,” another user agreed.

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