EXCLUSIVE: Chef, restauranteur and media personality Sohla El-Waylly, whose exit from Condé Nast title Bon Appétit helped spark a reckoning of the work culture at the company and in the media business, is headlining her own series, Stump Sohla.
The show will launch Thursday on the Binging with Babish network, which has 7.7 million subscribers on YouTube. Its regular slot will be Saturdays, and the show has a 10-episode order.
On Stump Sohla, the host will create a meal in a particular style, but before doing so, she will need to spin a game-show-like wheel and find out how she is going to be challenged. (One sample mission: make a seven-course dinner, but all ingredients must be purchased at a convenient store.)
El-Waylly said she is “excited for my new show, not only do I get to spin a giant wheel (what!) but no matter where it lands I know we’re gonna have a good time! The wheel’s got some wild things going on, and I can’t wait to try it all—cook one-handed, light stuff on fire, and even try to beat the Babish himself!”
Andrew Rea, a chef, filmmaker and author who founded the Binging with Babish network, will appear on Stump Sohla. and said it was an “extraordinary honor” to have her in the fold. “Her knowledge, humor, and personality make her reflective of everything great about what YouTube has to offer, and it’s thrilling for her to join us as the first new addition to the BCU (Babish Culinary Universe).”
Earlier this year, long-gathering tensions among staffers and former contributors over the way Bon Appétit was run under former editor Adam Rapoport spilled into public view. Rapoport resigned under a cloud in June. With print ads in decline, the company had floored the accelerator on original video and garnered a massive social media following of viewers attracted to its test-kitchen videos. El-Waylly was among several contributors to cut ties with the company over financial inequity and a workplace that, by its own admission, had been “far too white for far too long.”
In addition to calling for the ouster of Rapoport, who left after brownface photos surfaced, she charged that she earned less than less-qualified co-workers and was not paid at all for video appearances, unlike white colleagues. El-Waylly, who is of Bengali heritage, wrote on Instagram that she was often shown on camera in a token fashion, “pushed in front of video as a display of diversity.”
Condé Nast has restructured operations at Bon Appétit and last month hired Dawn Davis as its new editor. The media company was one of several put under a harsh spotlight amid employee unrest as the makeup of media and other institutions has been scrutinized amid nationwide protests against racial injustice.
Stump Sohla is produced by Binge Entertainment and Made In Network in partnership with El-Waylly. It is directed and edited by Brad Cash, Jessica Opon, and Rea. Sawyer Jacobs, Kevin Grosch, Jessica Opon, Rea and Emilija Saxe are producers.