No stove, no pans, no problem. This British chef transformed his hotel room into a master kitchen during his two-week quarantine in Canada.

By Rachel Chang
December 01, 2020
iron and ironing board in a hotel room
Credit: Design Pics Inc/Getty

When a British chef gets locked in a hotel room for two weeks with a bag of cooking gear, some crazy antics are bound to happen. But whipping up masterful culinary dishes using an iron and coffee maker is definitely one of the most jaw-dropping feats to come out of quarantine.

The inventive mind behind the latest TikTok sensation is Jago Randles, a 23-year-old chef from Cornwall, England, who was following local travel restrictions by self-isolating for 14 days at the GEC Granville Suites in Vancouver en route to cook at a Whistler mountain resort, according to The Washington Post.   

Despite his quarantine quarters not having a kitchen, he built his own kitchenette of sorts, calling it the “Isolation Kitchen,” and posted videos of impressive “hotel room cooking” dishes. Since his first post on Nov. 21, he has amassed over 71,000 followers and two million likes.

In one TikTok, he’s seen putting wax paper on a hot iron, flipping it upside down to use as a grill, on which he fries a fresh piece of salmon and then eggs. He then steams bok choy by puncturing a styrofoam cup with holes and putting it in the coffee maker, and also pouring hot water into a bowl to cook up noodles. The result is rice vermicelli topped with fish and accompanied by greens, all presented on a paper plate with Christmas tree graphics on it.

While his ingenuity is no doubt impressive, the germ factor is definitely questionable. After all, pre-coronavirus, a study showed that about 81% of hotel room surfaces have “some” fecal bacteria. Plus, hotel coffee makers are known to be common sources of various bacteria, including those linked to pneumonia and urinary tract infections. 

That said, he replied to a commenter that his inaugural creation tasted “incredible.”

Randles’ makeshift kitchen is in what appears to be a rather standard hotel room, with a typical iron and Hamilton Beach coffee maker. 

The chef is now out of quarantine, according to The Washington Post, having posted a dozen videos between Nov. 21 and Nov. 30. Among his other culinary creations were a bacon cheeseburger, French toast with bananas, tacos topped with fresh avocado, and creme brulee with caramelized strawberries.

Randles even took requests from commenters. When one wrote, “Bruh, just have a sandwich,” he complied, making a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and setting the iron on top of it to toast it to perfection. Another commenter asked if he could make kabobs, and he expertly made two juicy-looking skewers, topped with store-bought hummus. 

Reactions have been mixed, with one commenter writing, “He’s making a five-star meal in a hotel room while I forget to put water in my cup of noodles in the microwave.” Another wrote, “He has an iron and coffee pot and still eats better than us with full kitchens. Keep this going.” But others worry about using the room after him, especially after he made a shrimp and asparagus dish. “Imagine if a person with a shrimp allergy had a coffee after him,” one viewer wrote, while another asked, “So, do your clothes also smell like food now?”