Chef Mary Berg

Posted on: September 11, 2020

Ahead of Mary Berg’s two Instagram live videos (which you will be able to watch on the @cloverdalemall Instagram) I had the chance to ask Mary a few questions.  Mary is a Cookbook Author of Kitchen Party: Effortless Recipes for Every Occasion and host of Mary’s Kitchen Crush.  I am bringing you the burning questions everyone wants to know from the chef herself, Mary Berg.  Enjoy!

Mary, what did you study in school?

In my undergrad at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, I did a double major in History and English with a minor in Religion and Cultural Studies (I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing so I guess I just really wanted to cram as much of that as possible into my four years there!) then I got my Masters of Information at the University of Toronto. I have always loved school and learning and I seem to always be looking for new information, no matter what I’m doing!

What made you want to become a chef?

I’ve always loved being in the kitchen and, for me, cooking and baking have always been how I show people that I care about them. Getting to share my food and recipes with so many people now through television and my cookbook is just about the best job I could ever think of! 

Why does the kitchen bring you joy?

I’m a bit of an over-thinker and nothing calms my mind like cooking. It’s just the place that I find the most creative calm in my life and I get to make things that I can share with my family and friends which is pretty much my very favourite thing to do!

What is your favourite dish to cook?

I get asked this question so often! To be honest, I feel like my answer is a bit of a bore but I have to say that my all time favourite “dish” to make is freshly baked bread! Nothing brings me more joy than watching a yeasty dough rise up into a puffy balloon only to be punched down then eventually baked into a crisp golden brown loaf. There truly is nothing like freshly baked bread slathered in butter and sprinkled with a little bit of crunchy sea salt.

What’s the one meal you could eat for the rest of time?

I think it would have to be my mom’s baked mac and cheese followed by my nana’s signature lemon meringue pie. When ever I’m feeling extra nostalgic or in need of some true comfort, those two dishes are my go-to.

What’s your late-night junk food of choice?

Hands down, movie theatre popcorn! I could eat an endless supply (and, in pre-Covid times, even ranked the theatres in Toronto based on their popcorn quality!).

What’s one thing most home cooks don’t do that would make their food 1000x better?

Finishing their cooking with a little bit of something acidic and/or a good bit of kosher salt! That final taste and adjustment of a squidge of lemon juice to brighten a cooked dish and/or a last little hit of kosher salt (Diamond Crystal Kosher is my kitchen go-to) take any dish from good to great!

What is one ingredient you can’t live without?

It seems like a chef-y answer but kosher salt is a must in my pantry! That, along with lemon (for zest and juice), butter (unsalted is my butter of choice), and a can or two of whole tomatoes. With those base ingredients, I know I can whip up a bunch of tasty recipes.

What most attracted you to participating in RELISH 2.0 The Virtual Foodie Event?

Food has always been that one great common thing between everyone and sitting down at a table and sharing a meal is such a universal joy. Even in the bonkers times we find ourselves in right now when sharing a table isn’t really an option, food still has this amazing power to bring people together and this event is just such a great way to connect! Even though we won’t be meeting in person and sharing a ton of amazing high fives and delish treats, I’m so excited to be hosting two virtual tea times over on the Cloverdale Mall Instagram page and chat about my love of food, answer any burning questions anyone might have, and showcasing a couple of easy and super tasty recipes that everyone can make at home to enjoy with their bubble!

Can you give cooking advice to all the aspiring chefs out there?

Just get into the kitchen! In my mind, there really is no failure when you cook. Sure, you might learn how to not burn a bunch of cookies or overcook a turkey but that’s a lesson you won’t forget! Every single time you cook, you learn how to make something more delicious, more efficient, and more suited to you and your family’s culinary tastes – it’s always a delicious learning experience!

~Gillian, Marketing Assistant