The Food Surgeon is quickly becoming one of the internet’s tastiest content creators. His videos have racked up over 2.5 million views on YouTube in just a month, and consistently trend on Facebook. However, while his videos become more popular, TFS clings to the anonymity he presents in his videos. We don’t know a lot about the surgeon, but he told NPR last month that his name is Jeff and he’s a Seattle-based engineer in his late 20s. He refused to give his last name, because “he’s a very private person who doesn’t use social media and doesn’t want his art to be about him.”
In his videos, Jeff performs delicate operations, often replacing one part of a food with another, like “reassigning” an oatmeal raisin cookie into an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, or dissecting a piece of fruit.
Jeff describes himself on his website as “a culinary practitioner not qualified to perform surgery of any kind.”
It was his second video, “Reese’s Peanut-Butter-Ectomy with Oreo Cream Transplant”, that propelled The Food Surgeon to viral stardom.
This past weekend, TFS had another video go viral: Spinal KitKat Implantation in a 3 Musketeers.
Popular Science reached out to The Food Surgeon to learn a little more about his medical qualifications, why he works with edible patients, and what kind of procedures we might expect to see in the future.
Popular Science: Where/when did you get the idea to become “The Food Surgeon”?
The Food Surgeon: I got the idea to become “The Food Surgeon” while on a late-night YouTube binge. I was watching a few of my favorite YouTube channels, mostly food-related, and realized that my favorite part was when the chefs were carefully and precisely preparing the ingredients. I decided to take this idea to the clinical extreme.
Are you a medical professional?
Nope, I don’t have a medical degree nor a culinary degree. I bought most of my surgical supplies online. You can buy everything online.
Why surgery on food?
Food is a great medium because it’s so universal. Everyone appreciates food in some form or another. The same cannot be said of surgery. It’s a unique combination, but that’s what makes it interesting.
Have you ever lost a patient?
All the time. During filming of the cookie reassignment surgery, one of the patients crumbled in my hands while I was extracting raisins. When this happened, I simply ate the patient and started anew.
What ideas do you have for future surgeries?
Doctor-patient confidentiality does not allow me to divulge this information.
What have you found is the most difficult type of food to operate on?
The strawberry and Nutella operation was, by far, the most difficult procedure. After removing the seeds from the strawberry, the remaining fruit-flesh was very slippery and difficult to work with. If it wasn’t for some editing magic, that surgery would have been a failure.
What do you like to do when you’re not making your videos?
Regardless of what my candy-based operations might lead you to believe, I enjoy staying active and being healthy when I’m not in the operating room.
Have you considered moving into more savory foods, like a burrito? Many of your videos are either exclusively of candy or involve sweet foods like Nutella.
Yes, I plan to diversify my channel very soon. Expect some deliciously savory surgeries to come your way!
Would you be willing to reveal your true identity?