Cooking Up a Passion for the Kitchen

Zoe Klein, Finance Director

Gordon Ramsey’s rage has been haunting my nightmares ever since I watched “MasterChef” for the first time when I was six years old. Fire coming from his ears, “scaw-lops” sizzling on a pan that is too hot to hold and a wicked smile forming on his face as he uncovers a live chicken on the block show up in my dreams at least once a week. The idea of having a monogrammed “MasterChef” apron framed on my wall is all I strive for, even though I can’t toast a bagel without setting off the fire alarm. 

According to a popular study done by a Welsh dairy company called Rachel’s, watching cooking shows prompts Britons to get in the kitchen more often. This study also concluded that these cooking shows give people increased confidence in the kitchen. Even if all of the viewers happen to be bored kids with too much time on their hands, it means we are in store for a generation full of master chefs and mini Mary Berrys. 

However, we must not forget Paul Hollywood, who, unfortunately, is not from anywhere near Hollywood. His piercing blue eyes penetrate bakers’ souls as they nervously tell him that they’re planning to make a “pis-taw-chio drizzle.” He may not be as experienced as Mary Berry, but he’s twice as honest and a hundred times more critical. If food is imperfect in any way, he will make sure you know. 

After I had watched an adequate number of episodes of “MasterChef”, “Cupcake Wars” and “The Great British Bake Off” (I love you Mary Berry), I set my little six-year-old mind on becoming the Christina Tosi of Generation Z. My legs carried me into our child-proofed kitchen, and I took a wild guess as to what could possibly be in cookies. One might assume that binge-watching cooking shows would give me some semblance of knowledge on the subject, but one is very wrong. That is, as long as cookies are not made out of pears, boiling water and Havarti cheese bought in bulk from Costco. My poor parents suffered through broken plates and cheesy pears for three and a half weeks before I finally got help from my mom and promptly lost interest in the whole baking endeavor. 

However, I’d assume that most people have a little bit more of an attention span and a lot more of a drive to feed themselves than I did at six-years-old. I’d also assume that they have more of a sense of what tastes good together than six-year-old Zoe did (not pears and cheese). 

My family discovered “The Great British Bake Off” when I was 11. My cooking obsession exploded againthis time into a whirlwind of egg beaters and powdered sugar that undoubtedly ended up on every surface in our house and remains there until this day. 

Around the same time, Christina Tosi joined “MasterChef” as a judge. Momofuku Milkbar, her notoriously offbeat bakery, captured the entirety of my preteen brain. Cereal flavored cookies and cakes appeared and disappeared in our house like a game of Whack-a-MoleI made the cakes, and my dad ate them.

Unfortunately, when we moved houses, my love for baking faded. We didn’t have room for both my manual and my electric egg beater, and who wants to bake when you only have one kind of egg beater?

Most people aren’t as picky about their egg mixing methods as 12-year-old Zoe was. After all, it’s possible to bake a cake without brand new, shining lemon zesters and enough pyrex to fill a medium-sized refrigerator.

Gordon Ramsey remains a legend in my household, and Christina Tosi’s recipes flit through our oven and my mom’s recipe book. While we bake, we talk in Mary Berry voices to ensure that our shortbreads and biscuits end up fluffy. Havarti will forever be ruined for me, and I am solid in my idea that wooden spoons are the superior cooking utensil because Mary once said so.


Although cooking is not my singular pride and joy, I love being able to make and appreciate food for myself. This appreciation would not be possible without Mary Berry’s voice whisking through my ears while I bake or Gordon Ramsey’s screams haunting my nightmares. 

And so what came first? The rotisserie chicken or the soft-boiled egg? Does the American public love cooking shows because they love to cook, or do they love to cook because they love cooking shows? I’d argue that it’s a symbiotic relationship. After all, who would object to watching Gordon Ramsey yell about flambees?