Brad Leone Has Thoughts on Bagels, Italian Subs and Tommy Cutlets

The second season of Leone's YouTube show "Local Legends" just debuted

April 22, 2024 6:40 am
Brad Leone
Brad Leone has turned being a charismatic foodie into a career.
Ian Deveau

For the debut episode of the second season of his YouTube show Local Legends, Brad Leone of Bon Appétit digital fame enlisted the help of chef-turned-actor-turned-internet darling Matty Matheson of The Bear. A New Jersey native, Leone had been trying to make a follow-up video with the man he calls the “Canadian sensation” after the pair made a video for Bon Appétit where they went noodling for catfish a couple of years ago.

Instead of going back to the catfish well in Oklahoma, Leone and Matheson went shipping up to Massachusetts. “I have a buddy who’s a really good spear fisherman outside Boston,” Leone tells InsideHook. “We flew Matty in and brought him out for the day to get some lobster and some crabs and go free-dive spearfishing for fish. Then we took the whole bounty of seafood we got back to my house and cooked it up for an episode of Makin’ It. So we had this educational journey experience, but then slowed things down to do another episode in a controlled place to cook and showcase what we learned.”

Leone, who says he’s neither a chef nor a journalist but can call out bullshit like no other, has a lot of knowledge about food, but he may have even more opinions about his favorite subject. Here, in no particular order, are a bunch of ’em.

Taylor Ham (or Pork Roll)

“I grew up about as north as you can get in New Jersey in Suffolk County. It was very strong Taylor Ham country where I came from. Pork roll, literally no one said that. I feel like you had to go south of Morristown to hear pork roll. A Taylor Ham [or pork roll] is just an emulsified, kind of tangy, smoky pork sausage. If you know what the product is, you certainly have an opinion on it. Folks are very tribal, right? Whether it’s a sports team or a Kaiser roll or a fucking Portuguese roll, people like putting their flag on things. For better or worse, we certainly like to claim things. Every region certainly has its thing.”

Eggplant Parmesan

“Eggplant parm is underrated. I don’t know if it’s a regional thing, but being from New Jersey, having a little bit of a New York City background and my mom and dad being a mixture of American Italian and stuff, there was definitely a lot of eggplant parm. I don’t think it gets enough credit, especially when it’s done well.”

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“Montreal has better bagels than New York. That might stir the pot a little, but I don’t know if that’s controversial anymore. There are a ton of bagels in New Jersey and New York and a lot of bad ones. There’s no doubt about that. The best bagel I ever had was in Jersey. My dad was a mailman in a town called Livingston. There was a mean lady there who made the best bagels, and my dad would bring them home. She’s probably not alive anymore or she’s 250 years old now, but she made the best bagels in the world. They were cooked on little wooden planks and boiled properly. They had nice little blistery bubbles on the outside and were, dare I say, perfect. I should really spend some time learning how to make bagels properly because, man, I like them. New Jersey also has really solid pizzerias. I feel like you go into any strip mall or like weird little thing in New Jersey, and there’s always a pizzeria. Pizza’s one of those things…even when it’s bad, it’s still kind of good.”


“I don’t like when people serve oysters on ice. They should just be ice-cold when you serve them. When you put a platter out and the ice starts to melt, and they’re just swimming around on there…I like my oysters ice-cold, but I don’t want them served on a soup platter of water. I also hate when people show up to a party with the supermarket ring of like the sketchiest, weirdest shrimp cocktail. Don’t. If you can’t get better shrimp, just don’t even do it.”

Cutlets, Tommy

“Don’t even get me started with Tommy DeVito’s bozo agent. But I liked Mr. Cutlets. I thought he was cool. It was a perfect storm. He was living at his mom’s house like a guy out of a freaking TV show. Like his mom makes him dinner and probably folds his underwear and shit. Why would he go anywhere else? He’s saving his money. He was awesome and was winning some games. I was eating that shit up. It was hilarious.”

Jersey Mike’s Super Sub

“If there’s one person who’s the biggest Jersey Mike’s fan in the world, other than Danny DeVito, although they probably paid him a lot, it’s me. I grew up going to the original one in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. I get the No. 5. It’s like an Italian sub, but the one they call an Italian has pepperoni on it. In my world, an Italian doesn’t have pepperoni. Give me a little vinegar, extra oregano, maybe some hot pepper depending on the mood. Shredded lettuce and cut all the way through. They do a real good job, man. Do I get paid from them? No, I should.”

Ketchup on Hot Dogs

“It’s delicious. A little sweetness. I’ll put a little mustard on there too. I can get into both. A little relish, that’s nice too. There is a time and a place for all of it. I’m not really putting ketchup on grilled chicken. Like, ‘Oh, Tommy likes his salmon, but he’s got to put ketchup on it.’ If you’re doing that shit after like six and a half, then whatever. We’re not gonna be friends, I don’t think.”

The Rise of Chicken Sandwiches

“I know these big companies are just dying to hear my advice. I would worry less about bells and whistles and maybe start like investing in the product. No one’s really cracked the code. Chick-fil-A does all right, but I’m always disappointed in the quality of the chicken. People love fried chicken for a reason, but let’s bring in some better product and some better ingredients.”


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