A foul-mouthed metalhead comedian is probably not who you'd envisage becoming some sort of lockdown hero, dishing out cooking advice and fool-proof recipes, but 2020 has been a weird year so here we find ourselves.

Sydney-based comedian Nat is the brains and the face of Nat's What I Reckon, a YouTube channel that has been putting out content for nearly a decade but that went viral at the start of lockdown, waging war on processed foods.

It goes something like this: it's the beginning of March and the pandemic is taking over the world. People start to panic and buy things in bulk even though they don't need to. Things like toilet paper and flour disappear off supermarket shelves even though there's plenty to go around.

Nat noticed people were panic-buying jars of sauce and packet sauces, most full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.


With his live comedy tour put on hold - thanks again for nothing, Covid-19 - Nat decided to take his hatred of jar sauce to the next level and produce online videos showing how these products can easily be made at home, using fresh ingredients, especially by people who now had extra time to spend in the kitchen.

Nat has been putting videos on YouTube for ten years. Photo / Supplied
Nat has been putting videos on YouTube for ten years. Photo / Supplied

He urged people to "say no to jar sauce" - and the people, it seems, followed. Suddenly, the virus had led him to viral success.

His first cooking video, How to make Quarantine Sauce, was published two months ago and has more than 7.5 million views on Facebook alone, another half a million on YouTube.

"There's a fresh food section in the supermarket that hasn't been touched and yet empty shelves of pasta sauce," he tells viewers, while teaching everyone how to make an easy pasta sauce, using tomatoes and basil.

"You're f***ing stuck at home, what are you doing? Eat better."

With millions of cooking videos on the internet, it's probably quite hard to stand out - but Nat does that impeccably, having found a style that not only makes him a unique content creator but also brings cooking videos to new demographics.

Speaking to the Herald from his home in Sydney, Nat says his viewers range from young to people in their 80s, and he received "awesome videos" of viewers making his recipes with their own children.

He didn't expect his cooking videos to become so popular, but viral success is what he'd been working towards for the past decade.


"It's what I've been trying to do for years," he says. "I didn't think it'd be with cooking but I'm pretty stoked."

Beyond all the swearing, one of Nat's points of difference is that his recipes are genuinely easy. None require many ingredients or complicated cooking methods and none have strict instructions to follow. In fact, he tells people they can pretty much chop things how they want or add whatever they want to the recipe, because it'll still be better than sauce from a jar.

"Cut the onion however you f***ing want, I don't give a f***. Cut it in half, cut it in quadrillions. Just don't use the f***ing jar sauce," he says.

While mostly recipes for old classics, with a pandemic twist - there's "Quarantine Spirit Risotto", "Carbo-Rona Sauce" and "Chili Con Can't Go Outside", among others - he also offers good lesser-known tips, like adding milk to bolognese.

The long-haired heavily tattooed comedian has got proper kitchen skills. He says most of it is self taught but he has also learned a lot from his dad, a professionally trained chef.

"I've been cooking for heaps of people for ages, it's something I love doing, and I'm learning as I go. A lot of it is trial by fire," he adds.

Nat says he has always had an interest in cooking and the way food brings people together. He is known among his friends for enjoying cooking for large crowds and it something he's done for a long time.

Cooking healthy food became even more important after he had a lung removed 10 years ago. Suddenly, exercising became trickier and he found himself putting on a lot of weight so became even more focused on cooking food that would keep him healthy.

His YouTube cooking tutorials include all the tips he's learned over the years, with a good pinch of swearing but also a dose of compassion - a vital ingredient of these times.

He sounds genuinely encouraging of people and, while his "f*** jar sauce" message is loud and clear, most of his recipes are for comfort food that makes people happy.

With his live tour cancelled, Nat started posting lockdown cooking videos and quickly went viral. Photo / Supplied
With his live tour cancelled, Nat started posting lockdown cooking videos and quickly went viral. Photo / Supplied

His latest video, released yesterday, teaches people how to make "mac n cheese" without jar sauce.

"While mac n cheese might not be the healthiest dish, sometimes joy is healthy too," he says in it.

Still getting used to the success the lockdown has brought his way, Nat is not sure what he'll do next.

His live tour across Australia has been rescheduled for the end of September and he doesn't exclude the possibility of adding New Zealand dates and finally visiting the country for the first time, whenever the transtasman bubble allows.

"I really wanna come to New Zealand soon. We've got such an awesome crowd there."

As for the videos, he'll continue putting them out, but isn't sure whether he'll stick to cooking tutorials.

After a decade of doing YouTube reviews of anything and everything he felt like reviewing (including, at one point, his own anxiety), Nat just wants to keep putting out his videos.

"I'm not sure if I'll stick to the cooking as my main focus. Will still of course do that. But I spent almost 10 years making videos. I really miss making my reviews of my adventures around the planet and rather mundane events so I want to keep doing that," he says.

"I'm not really aiming to anyone, I don't pander to anything. I do my own thing. It's always been the most important thing, I don't compromise. This cooking thing is the closest thing to giving the crowd what they want, I guess.

"I just really want to make people laugh, in all sorts of ways."