Fluency Through Food: 6 Cooking Videos in French for Learning the Language
I once read on a mug somewhere that life is all about making important choices.
Now that mug had some wisdom.
Take my hungry French learner dilemma, for example.
Sometimes I feel hungry and want to spread my culinary wings in the kitchen. Sometimes I want to improve my French.
What do I do when such a life-changing choice arises?
I order up a little French-food-fusion.
I long ago discovered that there are some amazing cooking videos in French available on YouTube, so I can learn the language and a new recipe at the same time.
Below you’ll find some of my personal favorite French cooking videos.
Why Risk a Growling Stomach with Cooking Videos in French?
You might get your appetite roaring… but you’ll also get your French language skills cooking! Here’s how:
- You’ll broaden your vocabulary. Cooking videos in French will expose you to commonly used verbs and food words, as well as specific kitchen vocabulary.
- Many of these channels feature classic French recipes, so you’ll get a sense of popular French dishes to prepare you for your first (or next) big trip to France.
- You’ll learn a new recipe in the process!
- We all know that food is a big motivator for exploring a different country and culture. Salivating at these recipes will build up your appetite for French food and culture, and will encourage you to keep learning French in the process.
Bon Appétit! 6 YouTube Channels for Hungry Learners to Watch Cooking Videos in French
Hungry yet? The French cooking YouTube resources below are organized roughly from beginner to advanced.
Learn French While Cooking from French Avec Nous (French with Us)
French Avec Nous is a YouTube channel specifically for people who want to learn French, therefore all the cooking instructions take learners’ skill level into account. You won’t have to worry about pausing, rewinding and banging your head into the keyboard as the host speaks a million words a second.
I recommend the playlist above for beginners because the chef speaks slowly and his enunciation is crystal clear. Viewers won’t have any challenges understanding his instructions, which is good because there’s a decent mix of common and uncommon vocabulary.
You can expect to hear several simple words, such as saine (healthy) and mains (hands), as well as more unusual vocabulary, such as étaler (spread out). The chef also uses many expressions that you can expect to hear both daily and in the kitchen.
At the end of the video, a list of ingredients (sometimes with English translations) is provided.
Learn French with Nina!
This playlist is also designed for French learners with an emphasis on cooking videos. Beginner learners, you’ll soon be getting an A+ on your French exams if you watch this channel’s videos—the chef speaks slowly and it’s easy to understand her, so you’ll get essential listening comprehension practice while building your vocabulary.
Best of all, the videos include English subtitles that are provided by the host and aren’t auto-generated by YouTube, so you know they’ll be accurate and not clunky translations.
The channel’s videos are also distinct in that the chef spends some time talking about the specific utensils that are needed, as well as the region associated with the food being made, allowing viewers to learn a variety of vocabulary words from different contexts.
In this French cooking YouTube channel’s videos, the host speaks very naturally and conversationally, but not overly fast, so intermediate learners will benefit from hearing French that’s spoken at a normal pace.
He doesn’t speak quite as fast as Busta Rhymes, but also not quite as slowly as Dora the Explorer, so viewers with some foundations in French will benefit from this balance. On top of this, his pronunciation is easy to process.
Some of the videos’ recipes are more technical than others, such as the videos about making homemade Pringles and McDonald’s fries.
This requires viewers to pay more attention to understand the specific instructions, but the host’s demonstrations make it easier to understand what he’s saying.
In some of the videos, the chef also references different times of day and colloquial expressions like coloc (roommate), so beyond words associated with the kitchen, viewers get a nice variety of vocabulary.
Some music is also featured, which makes the videos a little tougher to follow, but thankfully the music isn’t bad or something you’d hear in an elevator.
Pratiks’ Cuisine et Recettes (Cooking and Recipes) Series
Pratiks is perfect if you need… practice. The playlist above boasts hundreds of French cooking videos, so it’ll keep you occupied in the kitchen and keep your French skills in gear!
The longer videos with a host (as opposed to a voiceover) are ideal for intermediate learners because the hosts tend to speak at a normal pace—not too slowly but not too fast.
Just when you think they’re going to pick up the pace and speak incoherently for an intermediate learner, there’s a jump-cut or new scene and the hosts begin a new sentence. Moreover, most videos include a list of ingredients in French and sometimes the cooking instructions as well.
I recommend “Comment faire une soupe Poireau-Patate?” (“How to make a potato and leek soup?”) and “Comment faire une ratatouille par Michèle Cotta” (“How to make ratatouille according to Michèle Cotta”).
In those French cooking videos, the hosts use some unusual vocabulary that might be useful for intermediate students.
Cuisine Rapide (Fast Cooking)
In perfect harmony with the channel’s name, the host speaks very, very fast at times. He sometimes also speaks more naturally during other segments, so these videos are ideal for advanced learners who are starting to get comfortable with fast spoken French.
He does tend to pause for a bit before saying the next phrase, so his speech won’t overwhelm viewers.
There’s an abundance of words, especially verbs, which will ultimately allow you to develop a nuanced vocabulary.
La petite bette (The Little Chard)
La petite bette will help you become… better. Bette refers to Swiss chard or certain types of beet, as you can see from the channel’s logo.
Instead of instructing her viewers, the host of this French cooking YouTube channel speaks as if she’s talking to a friend. Her speech flows naturally and conversationally, and you’ll feel as if you’re in a pal’s kitchen, but the best part is that you can simply close the tab if you feel worn down by excessive social interaction.
Since she speaks conversationally, she also uses several expressions that are specific to French and don’t fully translate to English. This is a great opportunity for advanced learners to truly fit in with the French crowd.
The host also describes her food with several adjectives, which is always a nice, great, awesome, delightful and wonderful way to expand your vocabulary.
A recent study (and by “recent study,” I mean my own personal experiences) found that food makes people exponentially more engaged and avid when learning a new language. These cooking videos in French are a double whammy: they’ll help you learn French and they’ll keep your stomach rumbling. Press play and enjoy.