Watch Our New Series "The Test Cook"

A behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a recipe.

Published Aug. 4, 2019.

We've opened up our kitchens to the cameras like never before for our new limited-run YouTube series, "The Test Cook."

What is "The Test Cook"?

This multi-episode, unscripted reality series follows Cook's Country Senior Editor Cecelia Jenkins as she works to develop a home recipe for Tampa-Style Cuban Sandwiches—including great bread, the perfect roast pork, and a final, perfect pressed sandwich.

Learn More About Our Recipe Development Process

Every recipe we develop goes through a series of steps: Initial research and fact-finding, to early experimenting with recipes from other sources, rigorous side-by-side testing and tastings of every variable in any given recipe, to reports from home testers, and more. “The Test Cook” documents this grueling process for a single recipe, told from the point of view of the cook.

Meet Senior Editor Cecelia Jenkins

Cecelia Jenkins is a veteran test cook with extensive experience at America's Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country. She's been responsible for many innovative recipes over the years, including Cheesy Stuffed ShellsTriple Chocolate Sticky Buns, and Make-Ahead Pumpkin Pie.

Episode 1 Recap

The initial research goal-setting phase. After a fact-finding trip to Tampa, Executive Food Editor Bryan Roof gives Cecelia her assignment, which she develops into a proposal to pitch to the editorial team. What questions will her editors have for her? Watch episode 1 below. 

Episode 2 Recap

Five-recipe tests for the main components: Cuban Bread and Mojo Roast Pork. Cecelia cooks five existing recipes for each of these two components to help set her goals. What lessons can she learn from these existing recipes, positive or negative, to help guide her progress? Recipe sources mentioned in the episode: Serious Eats, Bernard Clayton, Chef John (via Allrecipes). Watch episode 2 below.

Episode 3 Recap

After a few detours, Cecelia has a breakthrough with her recipe for Cuban Bread, and finds herself on the right track with her recipe for Mojo Roast Pork, both essential components of the sandwich. Watch episode 3 below.

Episode 4 Recap

It's one step forward, two steps back for Cecelia as she zeros in on the key elements of the sandwich: Bread and pork. Each of these pieces has inherent, complicated variables, as continued testing reveals. Cecelia's challenge: To keep moving. Coming soon. 

Episode 5 Recap

Cecelia finally finishes the recipes for the key component parts of the sandwich, the bread and the pork. Now, to make them all sing together in the perfect proportions, and to finish it off with a perfect press. 

Episode 6: See the Recipe!

Watch Cecelia prepare her recipe for Tampa-Style Cuban Sandwiches. Then, do it yourself!


Cuban Sandwiches

This recipe takes some commitment, but the final result is amazing. 
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