Tommy Winkler Reveals Why His Viral Food Videos on TikTok Are About So Much More Than Eating

There's a good reason Tommy Winkler is known online as the King of Crunch.

The creator has more than 6.8 million followers on TikTok alone thanks to his innovative and unusual eating videos—and his ability to put down food like nobody's business. His videos are both informative and fascinating (as well as hunger-inducing) and currently, he's on a mission to travel to every state to eat all of their most iconic foods. We got the chance to chat with Tommy in the middle of it all to find out how he became the King of Crunch, and about the biggest misconceptions about what he does.

Sweety High: Growing up, did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine that you'd eat on social media for a living? How did you stumble upon the idea initially, and how did it grow from there?

Tommy Winkler: I've always been interested in posting what I enjoyed doing on TikTok and hoped one day I would gain a following from it. I decided to take advantage of the algorithm and create comedic and relatable videos. After about nine months of posting that niche, I randomly decided to make a video of what I eat in a day and that video had blown up, which made me realize that people really liked to watch me eat food. I've always been a foodie, but more on the nutritional side. I'm really big into working out and changing up how I eat to see how my body reacts, and this was before I had achieved any sort of fame from food. It's kind of crazy how everything came full circle with me ending up posting food content because I've always been interested in food in general.

 

SH: Can you tell us a little bit about the travel series you're currently posting? How do you pick the foods you eat in each location?

TW: Yes, I'm very excited with this series. I have currently been to 38 of the 50 states eating each one's iconic food. I am doing this to figure out which state has the best food! Before I get to each state, I'll first ask my followers on Instagram (@tommywinkler) "What are the most iconic foods from ____" and my followers from that state will reply to that giving me foods and restaurants I need to try from that specific state. While I wait for those responses, I read multiple articles and websites of what foods I should try in each state. So a good amount of research goes into each state before I get there, but it is not easy finding the foods once I get there. I have been spending 10 to 12 hours a day in the car trying to track down these foods.


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SH: Of the states you've visited so far, would you say there's one place's food you've loved the most?

TW: I have been to so many places and eaten so much food so this is a tricky question. I'm originally from Wisconsin, so I'm a big cheese curd guy, but I would have to say that New York's bagels with lox cream cheese are pretty phenomenal. But the barbecue in Texas was exceptional. I have not had that good of barbecue before. It's really hard to pick one specific food item that was the best. So far on this trip, the best food overall has been from New York with a rating of 9.2 out of 10, but there are still 12 states to come so that could be beaten, so stay tuned!

 

SH: What do you think it is about TikTok that's allowed you to thrive on the platform in such a meaningful way? Did you ever expect that amount of support and community when you joined?

TW: When I first heard about TikTok in October of 2019, I saw people with zero followers getting millions of views and how this algorithm on TikTok really supports new creators. The realization of that gave me all my motivation to just keep creating content, especially for those who use my content as a way to help with an eating disorder. It means a lot to me personally and I feel truly blessed to have the platform and attention that I do so I can keep spreading a positive message to those who enjoy watching my content.


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SH: What do you think is the biggest misconception about what you do?

TW: This is a very good question because there is a big misconception about the amount of work and analysis that goes into my videos. In reference to my current series, I see a lot of comments about people getting upset for me not going to a specific town or city in their state, and they don't realize that I have been on the road for more than 40 days driving 10 hours a day without seeing any friends or family. I try my best to put out the content that people want, and that's where the misconception comes in—that not a lot of work goes into it because people think it's just as simple as recording myself eating food and that's it.

 

SH: Is there anything else we should know about you?

TW: I don't ever post about it, really, but I grew up playing competitive soccer and downhill ski racing my whole life and also played golf in college. Also a random fact—I just moved into my first apartment in Chicago! So stay tuned on my socials to see it! Big things coming soon.


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Can't get enough of TikTok's biggest creators? Click HERE to learn all about Axel Webber, whose tiny New York City apartment has become TikTok-famous.