Millennial’s Path to Home Cooked Meals

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Like most kids going to college, I was intimidated with the process of making home cooked meals and thought cooking would be a time sink. After all, how many college bound kids or college grads feel comfortable with cooking?

ariel eatingI attended college in New York City, where I had little time or capability to experiment around in the kitchen. Constantly eating out at restaurants was getting tiresome, boring, and unhealthy. Also, it was quickly making a serious dent into my finances. After only a few months into my Freshman year, I was getting homesick for my mom’s cooking. I began to appreciate those healthy and tasty meals.

For Sophomore year, I had an apartment style dorm with a small kitchen. Excited by the prospect of being able to cook some of those memorable meals from my childhood, I looked to my mom, a trusted resource, to tap into those recipes. When I approached her, she took it as a personal project to find something that matched (my then-picky) eating habits.  As I headed back to NYU, my mom sent me off with a fresh binder of recipes divided by meal categories… breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and more. She jokingly named this binder, “The Idiot’s Guide to College Cooking.”

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Even with this handy resource, I was still nervous to move from the convenience of going out to eat to making meals at home. College became a trial and error period toward building my skills in the kitchen. When I began the experimentation process, I usually relied on easy pastas using pre-made sauces, salads, smoothies, paninis, challah french toast (a gourmet breakfast specialty), and even went on to satisfying my sweet tooth with chocolate covered strawberries. However, for more involved recipes, I would often get confused with some of the foreign-sounding, cooking terms. Additionally, the lack of visuals made it challenging to envision how the meal was supposed to turn out. I wondered if other people my age had the same aversions or discomfort toward learning how to cook.

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Click on Image for the Video.

There is no question you could easily spend hours on the internet looking for perfect meals to prepare. In fact, I love testing out new recipes from my Pinterest Boards. Since my generation often looks toward YouTube to learn the “how tos,”  I went to YouTube for short tutorials learning how to make easy meals. I found most of the videos to be long, amateur, and sometimes deter me from the cooking process.

After graduating college, I co-launched a marketing and video production company called Food Guru with my mom as my partner. We work with food and beverage companies (mostly around the Bay Area, CA) to produce a range of web-based videos such as recipes, stories, products, and creative shorts.  As much as I love creating videos for all of these food companies, I thought the timing was right to create our own video content for our Food Guru Channel.

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Through my struggles in the kitchen, we built a Web Series called “Cooking Guru” to give millennials a video guide to every meal-based recipe in under 3 minutes. This includes an 8-episode series with 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, 1 snack/appetizer, and 1 dessert. Season 1 was our trial run, which we produced at 0-budget. It was released during the summer of 2013. For Season 2, we partnered up with a farm-to-table blogger and a mom of millennials. We worked with Karen Pavone, of Farminista’s Feast to bring a seasonal menu together for the summer of 2014. For Season 2, we will be adding a number of video blogs on tips and techniques.

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Less than 2 years out of college, I am starting to feel more comfortable with my cooking abilities. Recently, my roommates and I held a small dinner party, which typically happens every month or so. We made the Pan-Seared Chicken with Apricot Sage Sauce and Steamed Green Beans, the Artichoke Parmesan Dip, and the Baked Peaches from Season 2 of Cooking Guru. It was a blast to collaborate and prepare this gourmet dinner, where the plates were practically licked clean! As we continue to crank out more seasons of our Cooking Guru Web-Series, we hope that more millennials will use Cooking Guru as a valuable guide in learning how to craft simple, healthy, and delicious meals from home. See all videos and recipes for Cooking Guru.

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