Brad Leone is a longstanding host on Bon Appétit's popular cooking channel.
Leone has courted controversy, including a pastrami video that experts said could cause botulism.
Leone and Bon App "mutually decided" to end Leone's full-time role, a spokesperson told Insider.
Brad Leone, a popular and occasionally polarizing member of the once-beloved Bon Appétit "Test Kitchen" YouTube channel, is parting ways with the Condé Nast magazine – at least on a full-time basis.
"Bon Appétit and Brad Leone have mutually decided to pivot from our existing full-time employee contract," a spokesperson for the magazine said. "We look forward to collaborating with Brad as a contributor in the future."
A representative for Leone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In recent weeks, fans have speculated on Reddit that Leone, who hosts the popular show "It's Alive," was departing Bon Appétit. In a recent Instagram Story, also shared with Reddit, Leone said he would create videos on his own YouTube channel come 2023.
"I'm not sleeping on you guys," he wrote to fans, per the screenshot. "Just wait for 2023. Lots of videos coming soon to my own YouTube page. Real good clean friggin' fun coming soon."
Leone is one of two original Test Kitchen hosts – alongside senior food editor Chris Morocco – who are still active on the Bon Appétit YouTube channel following a mass exodus of staff members in 2020. Leone is also one of the Test Kitchen's most popular personalities, with 824,000 Instagram followers. (He trails only Claire Saffitz, who has 983,000 followers and now creates videos on her own YouTube channel, Dessert Person.)
Despite his popularity, Leone has courted controversy at times. In April, he garnered headlines for an ill-fated video where he attempted to cure pastrami in a way that experts said could cause botulism.
The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen rose to renown as a kind of affable collective with a lighthearted approach to cooking, including breakout shows like Saffitz's "Gourmet Makes" (in which she recreated popular snacks from scratch) and Morocco's "Reverse Engineering" (which is still ongoing, and features that host re-making complex recipes while blindfolded.)
But in 2020, 10 of the 13 members of the Test Kitchen crew departed the Bon Appétit YouTube channel, with some members subsequently going on to furnish videos for competing publishers like The New York Times (including Sohla El-Waylly and Priya Krishna) or for themselves as indie creators on YouTube and Patreon (like Carla Lalli Music and Molly Baz).
The precipitating event was the discovery of an Instagram photo where former editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport appeared to have worn brownface. As Rapoport resigned, acknowledging that he "hadn't championed an inclusive vision," a story from Insider's Rachel Premack revealed a startling array of inequities between white and nonwhite staff members at the company's test kitchen. At the time, Condé Nast denied that it compensated employees of color differently for their video appearances.
In October 2020, Bon Appétit announced that a fleet of eight new chefs would join the channel under the tutelage of a new editor-in-chief, Dawn Davis.
YouTube subscriptions and viewership have remained roughly flat since then, according to SocialBlade. The Bon Appétit YouTube channel had 5.99 million subscribers and 1.39 billion monthly video views in Oct. 2020, compared to 6.1 million subscribers and 1.66 billion monthly views last month.
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