During the pandemic, many people have wondered whether it is safe to visit a hotel. Is one kind of hotel safer than another? Does the hotel’s ventilation system matter? Has someone been cooking eggs in the coffee maker?
Okay, that last question is a new one — and you can thank TikTok creator Jago Randles, 23, for giving travelers this unique anxiety.
Randles’s TikTok cooking videos from his two-week quarantine stay at the Gec Granville Suites Hotel in Vancouver have gone viral thanks to their unsettling use of hotel room appliances. In what appears to be a typical budget room (there’s a laminate desktop; the phone looks like your standard Teledex), Randles cooks fresh, elaborate meals with the clothes iron and a Hamilton Beach Aroma coffee maker. He has made bacon cheeseburgers, a toasted Nutella and banana sandwich, and kebab wraps with hummus, among other specialties.
A chef from Cornwall, England, Randles said he brought a massive bag of cooking gear with him as he came to Canada to cook at a mountain resort in Whistler, British Columbia. More than 62,000 people follow Randles’s account, @jagoscrandles, with the tagline “Isolation Kitchen,” watching his videos with bewilderment as he scrambles, sizzles and steams his way through a quarantine without a kitchen. Now out of quarantine, Randles said, no one from the hotel ever made a complaint about his culinary artistry.
Some viewers are justifiably horrified by Randles’s work, particularly those who claim to work in hospitality. “If only people knew the stuff some people do with irons in hotels,” a commenter wrote on Randles’s taco post. “I work in a hotel and I don’t recommend you do this.” But many are impressed, leaving comments of praise and envy.
We ranked five of his most outrageous hotel room meals, from least to most grotesquely impressive.
5. Crème brûlée with caramelized strawberries
Randles’s favorite pieces of hotel room equipment are the coffee maker and the steam iron. Both come into play as he creates the beloved French dessert crème brûlée.
Using a teeny whisk, he whips up egg yolk, sugar and cream in a disposable plastic container, then cooks it in the top of the coffee maker. Randles lets the crème chill in the mini-fridge while he caramelizes some strawberries in the coffee maker carafe atop the hot iron. To finish, he whips out a tiny torch to brûlée the top of the dish, then garnishes it with the strawberries and some chocolate.
While cooking anything on a hotel iron or inside the coffee maker base is a hotel guest sin, at least this dish probably made the room smell sweet.
4. French toast with caramelized bananas
Crustless French toast? Too easy. Randles goes a step further with the brunch treat by garnishing it with a banana caramelized on the hotel room iron. A saving grace is that Randles covers the iron with parchment paper before cooking the ingredients.
3. Eggs Benedict
The eggs Benedict video, in which Randles takes your favorite brunch dish and makes it a nightmare.
After making some Hollandaise from scratch, Randles cracks a couple of organic eggs into plastic wrap, then cooks them in the boiling water of the coffee maker. There is something about those dangling eggs that sends chills down our spine.
While those bad boys are cooking, he throws slices of meat onto a piece of bread that we assume he lightly toasted on the steam iron (per his signature style). He assembles the final product on a Christmas-themed paper plate, and he leaves us with some yolk porn by breaking into the egg to let the yolk runneth over.
2. ‘Sous vide’ bacon-wrapped chicken with a mushroom cream sauce
We pray that Randles didn’t have neighbors on the night he decided to steam broccoli in the coffee maker top.
If he did have neighbors, hopefully they were out for a stroll as he cooked a bacon-wrapped chicken log “sous vide,” then browned it on the iron.
And may they have been far, far away as he cooked mushrooms with white wine and cream in the coffee maker carafe.
1. Salmon with rice vermicelli and steamed bok choy
The absolute worst of them all is Randles’s salmon endeavor. Fish is delicious, but cooking it in your hotel room should probably be against the law (although Randles believes there was no lingering smell from the experiment).
While Randles sizzles the salmon on the clothes iron, he tosses some raw bok choy into a punctured Styrofoam container and inserts it into the coffee maker’s “Swing-Out Brew Basket.” As he clasps the basket shut, we cringe while watching bits of the greens get smashed by the lid.
Randles boils some water and pours it over a bowl of rice vermicelli. Then he dresses it with sauce and adds some eggs he scrambled on the iron. The end result is fish plated on a bed of noodles. According to his reply to a commenter, the dish tasted “incredible.”