Our big kitchen party with Mary Berg
If you are a fan of Master Chef then you’ll definitely know Mary Berg! Mary is serving up her own delightful recipes on her new show Mary’s Big Kitchen Party on Gusto and Fibe TV Channel 1. We spoke to Mary about her tips for every kitchen, fav ingredients and other cooking stuff!
Want to join the party? We are also super thrilled to announce that Mary will be taking over the Masters in Momhood Instagram Account on December 13th from 12PM – 6PM so please make sure to follow along!
What advice can you give to moms and dads who are intimidated to try new recipes?
Cooking, for a lot of people, is often seen as a necessity rather than a pleasure. Even for people like me who love to cook, a recipe can sometimes seem daunting due to the length of the ingredient list, method, or the time it takes to actually make a certain dish. My advice for these times of “recipe intimidation” is to just go with your gut. If you know you don’t have 2 hours to whip up dinner or you’re not sure that your kids will touch anything with cumin in it, maybe put that recipe to the side for maybe a weekend when you have a little more wiggle room when it comes to prep and backup plans.
If you’re worried about working away on a dish only to have your kids turn their noses up at it when it gets to the table, I’d suggest getting the kids involved in at least one aspect of the prep. Whether it’s going to your local bulk store to sniff out and buy the new spice you’re trying or just a simple stir of a pot or spoonful of sauce to check for seasoning, getting involved always makes a meal more fun and exciting!
What tips do you have to make life in the kitchen a whole lot easier?
Meal planning always seems brilliant in theory but in practice, you need to be a little flexible. Planning 7 days ahead is a great idea but, if you’re like me, some nights I just get a hankering for something else! Always make sure you have pantry staples to whip up something/change up your meal plan enough to help satisfy your and your family’s cravings.
Also, one thing that helps me keep a clear head while in the kitchen is a neat and tidy fridge and pantry. This might seem like an unnecessary step that makes more work for your busy day but keeping your kitchen organized helps you save money at the grocery store by allowing you to see what you have, helps you throw together “fridge cleanout” meals like frittatas, risottos, and salads in a jiff, and saves time when you’re in a rush to whip up dinner.
What three ingredients should be in every kitchen
I literally always have a big bag of lemons, eggs, and a store of couscous on hand. Ok, ok, I usually also have a can of crushed tomatoes and at least a few types of cheese stashed in my fridge.
With just a glug of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and a few errant vegetables and spices, I can whip up a delicious shakshuka or an easy lunch.
Who inspired you to get into the kitchen (mom or dad)…another influence?
My dad was apparently always an amazing cook – my mom, not so much! After my dad passed away, I just saw the kitchen as the best place for me to jump in and help my family on the day to day. Really, I think it was my mom’s endearing distaste for cooking that led me to discover my true passion in life!
Why do you love cooking and baking?
It is the best way for me, or anyone, to truly show how I feel! I love cooking and I love my family and friends. When I cook for those around me, I feel so much joy and love and I just try to infuse every single thing I make with those feelings.
How do you hope to inspire others about your passion for cooking?
Oh my goodness, I just want people to love cooking as much as me! To get that feeling of quiet joy, standing in front of a stove, slowly stirring risotto or watching a roast chicken turn beautiful golden brown. When I develop recipes, I just want to help people make easy and delicious food that looks way more difficult than it actually is! Sharing in a beautiful, tasty, and snazzy looking dish is pure joy for me!
For me, food is all about love and a good chunk of love revolves pretty closely around food. I have grown up cooking for the people in my life whether at home for my family, away at university for my roommates, or in my wee little apartment for my friends and hubs. Their constant support of my tasty hobby which I initially attributed to their desire not to cook and my eagerness to be in the kitchen 24/7 led to me auditioning for and ultimately winning Season 3 of MasterChef Canada! Since then, I have been so blessed to be able to pursue my passion for food through catering, confections, recipe development, and as a Cooking Expert on CTV’s Your Morning, The Social, and The Marilyn Denis Show.