Have You Ever Seasoned Your Watermelon with This?

May  5, 2017

I recently came across an instructional video that's been circulating Twitter since this past weekend. It’s a mere 35 seconds long, a piece of sponsored content put out by the Food Network and McCormick, that begins as innocuously as possible: A man in a salmon-colored shirt instructs us on the best way to cut a watermelon. He slices it through its belly into a grid, trims its rind, sticks some skewers into it, and seasons it with some salt. So far, so good.

But the video’s denouement has been described, by turns, as "shocking," "graphic," and “a travesty,” akin to a culinary snuff film: He sprinkles it with taco seasoning.

The chef is James Briscione, one of the personalities on the Food Network’s Man Crafted. Briscione is no slouch; he’s the Director of Culinary Development at the Institute of Culinary Education and has won Chopped twice. (Full disclosure—we've worked with him before.)

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Yet these credentials haven’t exactly safeguarded him from allegations that his recommendations are too outlandish to follow. Reactions have been hyperbolically incensed on Twitter; take a gander at the replies to that initial tweet. The response is informed, no doubt, by the video’s casual, step-by-step nature, the way this suggestion is relayed in the most nonchalant manner possible, which compounds the video’s terror—or, as the Twitter user who first shared it states, “everything just goes so wrong so quick.”

There’s nothing outwardly preposterous about seasoning your watermelon with some savory flavoring, as quite a few of this video’s critics acknowledge. Take chili powder, for example. But taco seasoning? I haven’t tried it. Briscione’s maintained a low profile throughout this, simply stating to one inquiring mind, on Twitter, that they’re “going to love” his way of spicing up these big, fleshy fruits. We’ll just have to take your word for it, chef.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Don't see anything wrong with taco seasoning or any savory if it tastes good to who ever is eating it.”
— Amy M.

Ever season your watermelon with taco seasoning? Let us know in the comments. (Seriously.)

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Tanya M. April 30, 2018
Thanks for the suggestion. Must try!
BayOfPlenty December 9, 2020
Tanya from Hillcrest High?
Tanya M. December 9, 2020
Yes!!!! You can email me at [email protected]
Tatjana P. May 14, 2017
Please guys, please do not become a clickbait website. Before it's too late, don't post headlines like this. I would click on it if you wrote chili seasoning in the headline because your articles are good and worth a click but stuff light this will make me want to unfollow.
Erica May 6, 2017
You wrote this whole essay about taco seasoning on watermelon and didn't bother to make it yourself? #journalismisdead
HalfPint May 9, 2017
@Erica, read the essay again. Yes, the subject is taco seasoning on watermelon, but the objective is the online reaction to the subject. #criticalreadingskills.
Panfusine May 6, 2017
My 11 y.o son does.. & loves it!
creamtea May 5, 2017
I'm having a mango sprinkled with Chile-Lime combined with South African Smoke seasoning as we speak. yum.
Annada R. May 5, 2017
Never tried taco seasoning on watermelon. But have always used chaat masala, a tangy, intensely salty spice mix. Tastes super. The combination mentioned in this article, Mayukh, is not shocking to me at all. Because in India chaat masala & fruits is a favored combination, sold on the streets as fruit chaat
Panfusine May 6, 2017
Second Annada, A firm believer in Chat Masala
Can't L. May 10, 2017
Absolutely chaat masala on summer fruits!!
And salt and red chili powder over raw mangoes!!
mattcoz May 5, 2017
What's the problem? Is it the flavor or the fact he's using prepackaged taco seasoning? If I mixed my own seasoning, would that be ok?
Whiteantlers May 5, 2017
No, I have not gone out and purchased taco seasoning specifically to use on watermelon but I have used a blend of salt, chili powder, a pinch of cayenne and a touch of sugar as a dipping powder for watermelons, cantaloupes, mangos and apples.
ChefJune May 5, 2017
I haven't tried it, but why not? Whatever floats your boat!
Amy M. May 5, 2017
I've sprinkled salt on watermelon... that's how my parents taught me but then I lived in Italy where they use lemon juice. Both great options. Don't see anything wrong with taco seasoning or any savory if it tastes good to who ever is eating it.
HalfPint May 5, 2017
Haven't tried taco seasonings, but it's not that much different from anyone who likes to sprinkle salt on watermelon. Or Tajin. Bring on the Ortega!