Millennial’s Path to Home Cooked Meals
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?
I 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.