For the past six years, Gregory Ng has worked tirelessly to become the nation’s leading food critic within a very specific niche of food criticism — a niche where most food critics neither dare, nor care, to tread – frozen food.
His YouTube series Freezer Burns, in which Ng microwaves then samples a different frozen meal each time, rendering his opinion on how it tastes, garners about 100,000 viewers per episode. He has posted about 700 episodes and reviewed approximately 1,000 frozen meals.
By any standard, Ng has become a true YouTube success story. He has even trademarked himself, under the name “The Frozen Food Master.”
But in the middle of his most recent video, The Frozen Food Master suddenly became the Former Frozen Food Master, as a disgusted Ng abruptly stopped recording and quit his entire series over a frozen meal intended for children that appeared so unhealthy he declared it inedible.
The meal was a How To Train Your Dragon 2 movie tie-in entree of breaded chicken nuggets, which Ng found to be almost all breading and almost no chicken.
“What are we doing people? This is Kid Cuisine. We’re feeding this to our kids? This is disgusting,” Ng, a father himself, declares in the video. “I’m looking at these ingredients. I don’t recognize half of these ingredients. This is horrible. You know what? I can’t do this anymore. This is horrible. We should not be feeding our kids this. We should not be eating this frozen food anymore. I’m done with this.”
And that’s it. After six years, Freezer Burns comes to an end.
“I didn’t want to make an impulsive decision to end something I spent a lot of time building. My brand was strong, my relationships with frozen food companies were strong, and my revenue coming in was strong,” Ng told AdWeek Magazine, explaining that he planned to end Freezer Burns at the close of 2014 anyway — but that his sudden “mic drop” moment was indeed spontaneous.
“I reviewed this particular Kid Cuisine meal and I just got very angry during the review. It is geared at kids, and it just isn’t anything I would serve to them,” Ng said. “It was also a meal that has a commercial tie-in with the How to Train Your Dragon 2 movie, and the commercialization of the meal made me upset. I record every episode in one take and it just happened. So it wasn’t staged, but there was certainly a buildup to this moment.”
Ng said that just because he walked off his Freezer Burns show in disgust, he is not disgusted with all frozen foods. While much of what shoppers find in the frozen food aisle is unhealthy garbage, Ng says that smart consumers can nonetheless find “a ton of options that cater to organic, healthy eating as well as special dietary needs like gluten-free or vegetarian.”