Picture this: It’s March 2020 and, like the rest of the population that isn’t out there either saving lives or keeping the country moving, you’re working from home. You’re about to jump on what feels like your 20th video call of the day but you’re extra sharp for this one because you’ve got an idea to pitch—you’ve even prepared a deck for it and everything.
Once everyone has joined the call and you’ve confirmed that you can start, your mouse hovers the ‘Present now’ button. As you press it, you somehow can’t resist the urge to ask the question everybody is already dreading. “Can everyone see my screen?” you query your virtual colleagues. And no surprises there, everyone can see what you’re sharing, though only a few of them bothered to answer.
Up until recently, we all unanimously agreed to never mention this unnecessary screen-sharing ritual—we all did it, but there was no need to highlight just how silly it is. Then London-based Yorkshireman Fred Asquith came along.
SCREENSHOT sat down with the DJ, producer, and TikTok comedian to look back on some of his most viral skits and how Asquith managed to turn relatable yet complicated woes into laughable memories we all shared separately.
Because we all have to start somewhere, it only made sense to ask Asquith, who currently boasts over 210,000 followers and 9.3 million likes on TikTok, what first inspired him to share his hilarious sketches on the video-sharing app.
As the content creator revealed, before TikTok came YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even Vine (RIP). “I’ve had an interest in stand-up, sitcom, and sketch comedy ever since I was a kid, I used to film stuff on a camcorder with my mates at school all the time—mostly trying to be like Monty Python,” Asquith told us. Over time, this love for comedy morphed into many different formats that were then shared on several platforms.
“So I suppose it wasn’t really any new inspiration but just that TikTok provided a platform with a very liberal algorithm (i.e. the chance to reach a lot of people without having many followers if the content is good enough),” he further explained.
Like many of us who were left confused and somewhat dumbfounded by the complex choreographies when we first downloaded the video-sharing app onto our phones—and, therefore, before the infamous TikTok algorithm figured us out completely—Asquith had to find his footing when it came to building the niche content he’s now known for.
“Initially, I didn’t fully appreciate the variety of content on the platform, so I just posted a video of me doing a silly dance trend [to the soundtrack of the viral song ‘Meet Me At Our Spot’] on the tube, which is not something I’d post now at all,” shared the TikToker.
Nevertheless, the candid video seemed to work and the 150,000 views that it got at the time were what Asquith considers his first success on the platform—in turn encouraging him to create more videos. “It made me realise that the platform was actually penetrable and I was surprised with the response. I decided there and then to keep posting, and I’ve been posting ever since! Granted, the type of content has changed a lot.”
And boy, did the creator change his content. Out went the sitting down, half-assed—no offence—dance, in were the sarcastic, highly relatable skits. From single clips picturing daily moments in the life of someone working from home to random insights into Asquith’s wild imagination, it’s safe to say that the TikToker quickly managed to craft his own tone of voice on the app.
No matter the type of formats however, Asquith revealed that he doesn’t single out one over the others: “I don’t really have a favourite type other than that the best ideas are the ones that come to me and take shape quickly. Those are always the funnest to make! It’s when I’m struggling to get my head around an idea or sort of forcing it that I don’t like it.”
Because it’s hard to ignore the fact that Asquith’s work-related comedy is almost always similar to an experience you or I might have had in the past, the next question came as second nature: Has he actually lived all of the situations he wittily reenacts on TikTok?
“I’d say 50 per cent. Sometimes they’ve happened, sometimes it’s an exaggerated version, or sometimes I make them up entirely. So long as it makes me laugh!” the creator admitted. And although it’s clear Asquith’s inventiveness is not going to run out any time soon, he did divulge that making users laugh comes with a hefty price.
“It’s definitely tough, I keep a huge note of ideas for inspiration when I need it, but when I’m in a good creative flow I’ll generally just have ideas come to me in the day and I film there and then,” he said, adding with a laugh, “Maybe I’ve got too much time on my hands.”
Unlike how other creators on the platform might feel inspired when scrolling through users’ trending content, Asquith gets in the zone the opposite way—by focusing on his own ideas and how best to share them with his followers. “I love loads of comedy creators, but I’ve had to stop consuming TikTok almost completely for two reasons: One, I spend so much time devising and creating videos that I need to leave time for other things, and two, I think I’m more creative when I concentrate on my own ideas and style—when I watch other people’s content all the time I find myself imitating too much rather than sticking to my own thing.”
As of now, it seems Asquith is yet to run out of concepts depicting the highs and lows of corporate life, but when he does, and it should be noted that his content goes well beyond this single skit format, the comedian will be ready to adapt just like he did when he downloaded his first viral video.
“I want to keep focusing on good ideas, well executed, and not worry about follower count. So long as I do that, the rest will take care of itself—hopefully,” Asquith concluded with a laugh. Oh, and also, no biggie, Asquith recently had four of his recent tracks played at Berlin’s notorious Berghain nightclub. Life is good.
If you’ve never had dreams of dating one of those incredibly cool and skilled chefs who have the most perfectly curated Instagram feed you’ll ever set your eyes on—the likes of Laila Gohar and Jonah Reider—then it’s simple: you’re either lying to yourself or lying to me.
As Disney+’s The Bear continues to garner rave reviews for its portrayal of day-to-day life in the kitchen, and following the success of 2021’s relentless yet accurate single-take movie Boiling Point, it’s safe to say that cooking is in and Deliveroo-ing all your troubles away is very much out.
But like with all things on the internet, rule 34—you know, the infamous claim that if something exists, it will inevitably end up getting sexualised online—has already made its mark on the comeback chefs and cooking in general are currently having.
In other words, while Gohar, Reider, and other Instagram-famous culinary artists are keeping it PG 13 due to the nature of their social media platform of choice, our friends over on TikTok have decided to spice things up after spotting a rather tasty gap in the bottomless pool that is the video-sharing app’s creative content.
Enter Cedrik Lorenzen, TikTok’s sexiest chef who, since January 2020, has managed to bring a whole different meaning to ‘food porn’ through mouth-watering cuisine and, well, other things too… In an attempt to dissect the rise of #WetTikTok—which has 22.7 million views at the time of writing—and shed some light on the creative process behind the trend, I reached out to the naughty, finger-sucking pro himself. Buckle up everyone, because it’s about to get hot in here.
For those of you out there who are interested in learning more about exactly what it takes to become a sexy chef, it’s important we first take a moment to look back on Lorenzen’s life and career. Though the 30-year-old content creator grew up in Switzerland, he moved to Australia during his teens. From then on, he moved a fair bit between his new home, Indonesia, and Europe.
“My professional background consists of over ten years of hospitality experience,” Lorenzen told SCREENSHOT. It might come as a surprise to some that none of his experience related to the kitchen, instead focusing on the front-of-house. “I have always aimed to work for the best in the industry. During my time, I did a lot of fine dining (Michelin-level and Hatted-level restaurants) but also cafes and bars.”
Some people step into a classroom and shine—their performance is consistently stellar in all academic subjects. Others are just as bright and capable, but they seem to struggle with listening to a teacher and focusing on their work. In a way, Lorenzen considered himself part of that second group. “I got into this industry initially because I did poorly in college and lacked the overall motivation to study. I was also unsure what I wanted to do in the long run, and with university fees being so expensive in Australia, it did not make sense to continue straight into uni (like most others),” he explained.
But further along the line, aged 25, Lorenzen decided to start studying again—and he was ready for something more challenging this time around. Though he first applied for the #2 business hospitality university (at the time) in the world located in Switzerland (and is now ranked #1), unfortunately, he shared that his Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) grades from Australia were not high enough.
In order to get in, he had to redo his Year 12, which he then got the required grades for after a year, entered as a direct entry student and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Hospitality Business Management. Speaking about the specificities of his experience, Lorenzen added, “Again, to avoid confusion, I did not do any cookery classes at this university. It was purely theoretical, not related to food or cooking, with a six-month administrative internship.”
It was also during his “university stint,” as he called it, that the creator started focusing on TikTok and Instagram to practise his craft, “with the idea of eventually using these platforms to jump into the next idea or business.” As you can imagine, having to work to pay his living costs while passing his modules successfully and cooking weekly was challenging to say the least. “Perhaps it was for this reason that I completed my studies in four years instead of three,” Lorenzen added.
“In the beginning, it was tough because many of the dishes I made took me three to five attempts before I considered even uploading them, each taking anywhere between eight to ten hours. It was only after two years that I started to manage it in one or two attempts. And then, one year before completing my studies, I started having my first viral videos, and my plan started to click. The last year of studies was also quite intense, working almost day and night with little to zero free time between studying, cooking, and working outside of university. The pressure to keep up content while continuously improving was challenging (and is still now).”
It’s funny that he mentioned when his “plan started to click” because, when asked about what exactly inspired him to ‘sensualise’ his skills and video content on TikTok, Lorenzen first explained that “there wasn’t, per se, a plan of action”—at least not to the extent that it is now.
That being said, there definitely was a vision, a goal to keep his content on-brand when it comes to the “storyline of creating beautiful desserts for your significant other.” As time passed and his skills improved (both in video editing and cooking), Lorenzen continued to expand on this sexy food approach. “However, ultimately, the goal has always been to open up my own business eventually. Making content, in part, has been a strategic move towards that goal,” he told SCREENSHOT.
It’s a tough world out there, and looking at Lorenzen’s tender dough-kneading and provocative drip-licking in slo-mo, I couldn’t help but worry that the sexual side of his content would ultimately distract viewers from the culinary talent he also clearly showcases.
To this, the creator replied that, even though it is a risk he’s fully aware of, he prefers to see it as a challenge rather than a threat, “I always knew when I started to compete in this 15-second content space that I had to bring something interesting to the table to capture the short attention span of my audience while also showcasing my craft.”
“It is a fine balance between creating something perfect and slightly triggering,” Lorenzen observed. “In short, as long as my skills continuously improve, I don’t think my approach takes away anything from my talent. But then again, ultimately, my followers and viewers who watch my content can be the judge of that,” he concluded.
I have to say, more often than not, the chef’s answers to my questions surprised me. As shameful as it is to admit, perhaps I had subconsciously let my perception of Lorenzen’s content influence my expectations. It’s safe to say that, when I mentioned his go-to moves of “being shirtless or spitting in a dish,” I didn’t hate the fact that he put me back in my place, saying: “For clarification’s sake, I don’t spit in my food—it’s my sink.”
Not only is Lorenzen incredibly skilled when it comes to making his audience drool—and very down to earth about it, might I add—but he also learnt to take it on the chin when it comes to the range of feedback his content receives.
“It is what it is. There are always people criticising what I do—the spit, the fingering of food, me being shirtless, not wearing gloves, my captions about gender equality, and so on. All I can say is that there are bigger things to worry about than commenting on whether I should be wearing gloves or not, for instance. While it may be annoying, I’ve learnt over time to take everything with a grain of salt and ‘kill em with kindness’ when replying to shitty comments,” the creator explained.
If you consider yourself as part of the netizens who aren’t completely down with the chef’s sultry ways—“thirst traps balanced with artistry,” as he described his videos himself—then I hope you find comfort in the fact that, prior to speaking with Lorenzen, I did spare a thought for you.
It is my incredible thoughtfulness—nothing more, and certainly nothing less—that led me to ask the creator whether the character he had built on social media was actually supposed to be arousing or if there was another side to it, one poking fun at what ‘sexy’ is expected to look online.
Alas, it appears I went too meta with this one, because Lorenzen simply told me, “It is meant to be arousing. Does it always work? Maybe not.” You win some, you lose some, heh?
I guess this is my cue to leave then—you’ve probably had enough of my inner ramblings and are eager to swiftly close this tab, in search of more of Lorenzen’s mouth-watering content. I don’t blame you. Bon appétit!
You can also check out Cedrik Lorenzen’s website here.