- Sohla El-Waylly returned to video in an appearance on the YouTube channel Binging with Babish, run by Andrew Rea, after Bon Appétit’s reckoning with pay disparities and a “toxic” work environment in June.
- As part of the “Basics with Babish” show, El-Waylly instructed Rea on tempering chocolate, a skill she was called upon to perform in the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen.
- People rallied behind El-Waylly after she said on Instagram that she was not compensated for video appearances while her white coworkers were.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Over a month after the Bon Appétit reckoning over pay disparities and what staffers of color called a “toxic” work culture, chef and restaurateur Sohla El-Waylly has returned to video with an appearance on the YouTube channel Binging with Babish, run by Andrew Rea. Appearing on Rea’s “Basics with Babish” show, El-Waylly appeared to instruct a technique for which she is well-known: tempering chocolate.
“I am terrified of tempering chocolate, I think most people are,” Rea says in the video. “But you are very very good at it.”
“Nothing to be scared of, totally easy,” El-Waylly replies. “We’re gonna crush it.”
Bon Appétit experienced a major reckoning in early June after a photo of then-editor in chief Adam Rapoport seemingly dressed in a racist costume resurfaced on social media, sparking a dialogue about the way that Bon Appétit compensates its BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) employees. That conversation was largely spearheaded by assistant editor Sohla El-Waylly, who said on Instagram that white people were compensated for video appearances while people of color were not, saying that she had been “pushed in front of video as a display of diversity.”
Rapoport resigned on June 8, but staffers of color said that the site’s “toxic” work culture ran far past just the former editor in chief, as Business Insider’s Rachel Premack reported. Also in June, Bon Appétit and Epicurious published a joint statement saying that they were taking steps to “make [Bon Appétit and Epicurious] an inclusive, just, and equitable place.” El-Waylly told BuzzFeed News that while she had asked previously to be compensated for video appearances, she was only offered a contract with Condé Nast Entertainment (through which other video hosts are compensated) after her social media posts.
El-Waylly’s posts brought about an outpouring of social media support for the chef. Many in particular praised her culinary skill: one compilation of people in the Test Kitchen asking her for help with ingredient pronunciation, cooking technique, and of course, tempering chocolate, went viral.
—sarah (@s_whip_) June 11, 2020
El-Waylly is known for her vast culinary knowledge and appeared to help Bon Appétit Test Kitchen personality and pastry chef Claire Saffitz temper chocolate in an episode of “Gourmet Makes.”
No videos have been published on Bon Appétit’s YouTube page since June 5.
In a July 19 Instagram post, El-Waylly wrote, “BA is moving forward, slowly making the changes to become more equitable and inclusive. What’s to become of video is still unknown, but at least in the meantime over on the site and in the magazine you’ll find my ice cream pie, @seechaey’s summer vegetable grain bowl, and @sarahjampel’s blueberry buckle. We’re still here for you at bA making content we hope you will love.”
El-Waylly is still listed on the publication’s masthead, and she still has the publication tagged on her social media profiles.
When reached for comment about the video El-Waylly told Insider, “I don’t have much to say about it. It was just a fun time and you know I love tempering chocolate. I can’t say no to man who’ll get me 6 kilos of Valrhona, you know?”
Rachel Premack contributed reporting to this article.