Here’s How Delish Makes their Crazy Theme Park Videos
A year ago they were reuploading minute-long recipe videos. Today, they’re producing longform content for YouTube — and have become celebrities
Tess Koman was travelling back from Jersey at the end of the holiday season when someone took a photo on the train. “I looked like a dumpster,” she says. “I was not cute.” But it’s something that happens increasingly often — alongside being greeted by strangers with a cry of “You’re Disney Tess!”. It even happens in Delish’s office building, which they share with other Hearst publications in New York. “It’s been very pervasive in a way that is both fun and terrifying.”
Koman is senior editor at Delish.com, the food publication from the publishers of magazines including Esquire. But she’s also the host of YouTube series Iconic Eats, whose journeys through the theme parks of America are seen by millions of people at a time. Becoming a public figure — a digital celebrity — wasn’t something Koman thought would happen when she joined Delish. “The short answer is no, I didn’t think this was going to happen, and yes, it’s very weird that it did.”
Life in front of the camera has had odd impacts on Koman’s life: “My actual friends have stopped engaging on any of my channels because internet people are taking over,” she says. And she spends far more time in Florida than anyone under the age of 10, or over the age of 65, ought to.
But Koman’s working life — and that of colleague Julia Smith, who as well as starring in Delish YouTube series Julia Eats Everything also oversees video strategy for the title — isn’t all glamor and Mickey-shaped cookies. “It does become a source of frustration for both of us when people are like: ‘I want your job’,” she says. “Ninety percent of the time I’m staring at Google Analytics in a disgusting New York City office. It’s really only 10% of the time that I’m in Florida or elsewhere, eating my way through the park — which is very much work.”
The unspoken rule at Delish is that Koman and senior video producer Chelsea Lupkin don’t return to New York from Florida — to where they travel roughly once a month — unless they have two or three episodes in the can. “And it’s not just…