Food & Drink

5 Things You Need to Know About 'InstaChef' Season 2

When you experience something delicious, it's only natural to want a second helping. So after 3.2 million YouTube views (and counting!) consumed the inaugural season of Thrillist's InstaChef, it's back for another.

Independent chefs from all over the country are using Instagram to build an underground following and get their food to the masses, and InstaChef is your guide to this growing phenomenon. Season 2 is back with host Cliff Skighwalker and a rotating lineup of celebrity guests (SNL’s Chris Redd, Orange Is the New Black’s Jackie Cruz) travel the country in search of the tastebud-expanding food finds and the hustling chefs behind them. New episodes of InstaChef air Wednesdays on YouTube and Amazon Prime.

When you experience something delicious, it's only natural to want a second helping. So after 3.2 million YouTube views (and counting!) ravenously consumed the inaugural season of Thrillist's InstaChef, it would have felt both cruel and unusual to deny the public the opportunity for another serving. Of course, for anyone who hasn't had firsts yet, Season 1 is still there waiting for you. Or jump right into Season 2. This isn't Game of Thrones. You won't have any trouble following the action.

Still, whether you're back for another round or diving in for the first time, there are a few things you may want to know.

It's still showcasing innovative, independent chefs who built their followings through Instagram

InstaChef celebrates the drive, hustle, and entrepreneurial spirit of chefs all over the country who've built a following not via high-profile positions at fancy restaurants or even higher profile visits from Guy Fieri and his Camero, but simply by making damn good food and using Instagram as a vehicle for showcasing that food and getting it to the public. That could mean a daily "available till it's gone" menu or special orders arranged via DM, but it definitely means there could be some incredible underground food right under your nose in your own city that you didn't even know was there.

It's diving deep into seven completely new cities

The six episodes of the first season took viewers to some of America's most exciting food cities. New Orleans. Los Angeles. Houston. Luckily, we are a country with a powerful appetite and a deep bench of vibrant food cities, so the second season is even bigger -- literally, it's going past a six-pack and expanding to a full seven episodes. Specifically, it'll be showcasing chefs in Washington DC, New York, Las Vegas, Portland, Dallas, San Francisco, and Chicago. That's seven cities that love to eat and know how to do it well.

The host knows what he's talking about

Host Cliff Skighwalker isn't just your gregarious, hilarious guide navigating the way to all the underground deliciousness uncovered in each episode, he's a chef himself who was participating in the phenomenon taking place on Instagram and knew something big was happening that the world needed to know about. Important tip: if you're ever making your way through Detroit, you're going to want to do everything in your power to get your hands on a slice of his take on Detroit-style pizza. That is, assuming Thrillist hasn't sent him to some other city on another food-finding mission.

You'll want to hang out with this season's celebrity guests

There's always a special guest riding shotgun with Cliff. Season 1 saw appearances from the likes of Big Sean, Machine Gun Kelly, and the NFL's Kareem Jackson, whose appearance in the Houston episode we can confidently state had nothing to do with his leaving the Texans for the Broncos in the offseason. Season 2 is no different, with Saturday Night Live's Chris Redd, Jackie Cruz (aka Flaca from Orange Is the New Black), and rap icon E-40.

The chefs, however, are the real stars

The beating heart of every episode is ultimately the chefs, chasing their dream one incredible dish at a time. You'll see chef Rashad Armstead of Crave BBQ blowing minds with his blue cornbread. You'll watch Cruz cheat on her vegan diet for a taste of Nicole Russell's Jamaican jerk pizza. You'll get hungry as Filipino-American chef Alex Retodo channels flavors from all over the globe into his boundary-pushing lumpia. Every chef has a story behind them that's every bit as compelling as their food.

Well, that's up for debate. You'll understand once you get a look at this food.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, get Eatmail for more food coverage, and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Senior food editor Matt Lynch once made some sweet potato beignets that he regrets not selling to the public. Get a look @MLynchChi