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Tested.com’s Will Smith Plays with Fire in the Test Kitchen

Plus, why he thinks bagged salad is a sign of the apocalypse.

Published May 16, 2017.

This post originally ran on AmericasTestKitchenFeed.com on April 24, 2015. 


Will Smith (this one, not this one) stopped by the Test Kitchen recently to film a few segments for Tested.com. (For the uninitiated, Tested.com is a tech site on which Will, Norman Chan, and MythBusters hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage test all manner of gadgets, from virtual reality headsets to CNC milling machines.)

Smith and the Tested.com crew have been fans of the Test Kitchen for a long time (Smith says he learned to cook by watching the show), and so he figured it was high time they visit. Though Tested.com is far from a food website, they do a fair amount of food-related testing—it’s a topic that’s rather important to them.

“When we [he and Norman] started working with Adam and Jamie, one of the things that Adam and I realized quickly about each other was that we both feel the same way about food,” said Smith. “Being able to turn ingredients into food is a core skill that every human should have . . . In the community that our site serves, people eat terrible, terrible food. Nerds are notoriously bad eaters, and there’s no reason for that.”

Above: Smith listens as Cook's Illustrated senior editor Andrea Geary discusses recipe development for baked Alaska. 

Smith went on to say that he once wrote an essay in college which stated that bagged salad was the dawn of the apocalypse. “If we reached a point as a society where people couldn’t turn a head of lettuce into a salad without some sort of industrial apparatus between the head of lettuce and the salad, then we’d probably lose the skill of washing vegetables within the next 200 years.”

A highlight of the visit to the Test Kitchen, according to Smith, was getting to massage kale with Cook’s Illustrated senior editor Dan Souza. (A quick massage helps break down some of the structures in kale’s leaves, making the vegetable easier to chew for those who intend to eat it raw.) “I’d never massaged my vegetables before,” he admitted.

Above: Souza and Smith chat in the test kitchen as Tested.com producer Joey Fameli captures footage.

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Smith said that while the Tested.com team dedicates a bit of time to food, he’d like to do more. “It’s a little challenging though from a production standpoint because we don’t have a studio kitchen, or even a kitchen at all really. When we shoot we go to Norm’s house or my house or Adam’s house and take over for the day.”

Regarding Tested.com’s ability to speak fluently on a wide array of subject matter, Smith said that they’re a group of “aggressive generalists.”

“I can talk about almost anything for about five minutes,” he quipped.

Above: Smith looks on with Cook’s Country executive food editor Bryan Roof as Cook’s Country test cook Ashley Moore puts the finishing touches on Wisconsin butter burgers.

Smith and crew were fortunate enough to come to the Test Kitchen on a day during which Cook’s Illustrated senior editor Andrea Geary planned to set some things on fire.

Geary has been developing a recipe for Baked Alaska, and one of her tastings just so happened to line up with Smith’s visit. Lucky, really—fire makes for good viewing.

For more on Smith's visit, watch this video: 

And this video: 

More Test Kitchen Visitors

Want to read more about other food friends who have visited us in the test kitchen? Check out our visits from bread guru Peter Reinhart, cookie legend Dorie Greenspan, Momofuku's sweet genius Christina Tosi, world traveler Naomi Duguid, and Top Chef star Karen Akunowicz. 

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