Hannah Hart’s “career on the internet” started in March 2011 when she made a silly video and posted it on YouTube to cheer up a friend. Over the past six years, that video has racked up more than 4 million views and was the start to her online series, My Drunk Kitchen.
If you haven’t seen My Drunk Kitchen, stop reading right now and go watch an episode. Full of puns, humor and general drunken goofiness, the series revolves around Hart’s drinking copious amounts of wine while attempting to cook various types of food.
Her lovable and genuinely funny personality has gained her an immense social media following — more than 2.5 million subscribers on YouTube and more than a million followers on Twitter — and now it’s also resulted in her own show on Food Network.
Since this story is in the Pride issue, it’s also worth noting that Hart is openly lesbian, and her presence in media helps add to positive LGBTQ+ representation on TV and the internet.
I Hart Food premieres Aug. 14, and in the series she takes a trip to Eugene. For Hart, the Emerald City was not just a random location choice.
Long-time My Drunk Kitchen fans may remember an episode where Hart visits her family in Eugene and makes a Café Yumm-style Yumm Bowl. Although originally from the Bay Area, Hart has lived and worked in Oregon and has family here.
“I’m a West Coaster,” says Hart, who attended the University of California, Berkeley. “Eugene and I just have a natural understanding of each other.”
In the upcoming season of I Hart Food, she travels to a variety of cities around the U.S. to highlight a food theme for each region. For example, in the series premiere Hart travels to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and explores the way the area uses spice in its food, specifically red and green chilies.
So, what’s the theme for Eugene’s episode? “When I think of Eugene, I always think of kind of hippie-dippie, all-natural organic,” Hart says, “but the University of Oregon is smack dab in the heart of Eugene, so it’s very strongly a college town.”
And between those two worlds? “Healthy party food,” Hart laughs. “That’s sort of what Eugene is.”
Hart describes the “healthy party food” that Eugene does as a “very elevated concept done in a very approachable way.” During her filming in Eugene, she indulged in both food and drink while visiting Eugene fine-dining staples Izakaya Meiji and Party Downtown, both of which she describes as “very quality,” as well as a tasty ice cream spot, Red Wagon Creamery, which she calls “so Eugene.”
“Everything was so good,” Hart says. “I enjoyed everything in different ways.”
Hart says she also made stops by Pizza Research Institute, Sammitch food truck, Off The Waffle and other spots around town like Agrarian Ales.
“We went to Agrarian Ales and actually got to pick the hops and hang out,” Hart says. “That’s a totally different thing I had never experienced before.”
Hart also travels to Ashville, North Carolina; Portland, Maine; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Missoula, Montana.
When asked if she ever thought her YouTube fame would turn into having her own network television show, she replies, “Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. I have incredibly good fortune.”
She adds: “It’s not about having my own TV show, it’s about creating a great show with the right partner.”
Hart says I Hart Food is an “entirely collaborative creation” and that she’s happy to be partnered with Food Network. “To be honest, we work with a really great crew. Everyone who’s working on this show has just as much passion as I do,” says Hart.
Although Hart is now playing in the big leagues with Food Network, she says she has no plans to leave YouTube or My Drunk Kitchen behind anytime soon.
“My YouTube channel is still going to be my creative play space. My community started on YouTube,” Hart says. “I am someone who really loves social media. That’s not going anywhere.”
I Hart Food premieres 10 pm Monday, Aug. 14, on Food Network with Hart’s trip to Santa Fe. The Eugene episode premieres three weeks later at 10 pm Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, on Food Network.