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London is home to over 8,000 fried chicken shops, but not all wings are created equal. Poultry fan the Chicken Connoisseur has taken it upon himself to try out some of the capital’s most hyped shops in search of the ‘pengest munch’, becoming a viral sensation in the process.

Days after uploading the sixth episode of his 'Pengest Munch' series to YouTube, Elijah Quashie, aka the Chicken Connoisseur, had racked up over 1.5 million views on his review of Tottenham-based Chick King. In each clip, the budding food critic is filmed buying, eating and reviewing a menu of chicken wings, chips and a chicken burger before giving the shop a score out of five. Filled with honest insights that are delivered with a lot of slang and just the right amount of humour, the series has struck a chord among internet viewers, food critics and press alike.

Elijah Quashie has set out to find the ‘pengest munch’
Chicken Connoisseur (2016) ©

If there are two things young people love, it’s fast food and YouTube; 85% of 13- to 24-year-olds watch video via YouTube, and one in six people aged 16 to 20 eat fast food twice a day. And these interests make for excellent bedfellows – ‘snackwave’ has become an internet genre of its own. It’s a pizza-print t-shirt, a selfie with your Ben & Jerry’s or Jennifer Lawrence announcing that she’d really love a burger whilst making her way down the red carpet. Food-related videos were watched over 23 billion times in 2015 alone. 

But it’s Quashie’s charm and comic timing that have proven key factors in his success. After all, humour often fuels virality; 60% of Snapchat users say they use it primarily to send funny content. And although he’s actually aged 23 – a finding that’s left fans reeling – his schoolboy aesthetic has no doubt driven his internet success. It’s a channel via which anybody can become famous, regardless of age or experience, and adds a layer of innocence and fun that will always be favoured over the cynicism of adulthood.  “Kids' food shows are generally better than adult ones,” writes journalist Stuart Heritage. “People actually seem to enjoy themselves.”

Katy Young is a Canvas8 behavioural analyst. She has a degree in American Studies and Film and an MA in Journalism. Her interests include wild swimming, thinking of podcast ideas and singing in an all-female choir.

14 Dec 16
2 min read

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