Unanswered [0] / Urgent [0] / SERVICES

Home / Undergraduate   % width Posts: 3

Cooking is science and science is cooking. Common App Essay on Cooking (Prompt 1)

linr2 1 / -  
Oct 23, 2018   #1
This is my first post here and I would really like some feedback on my essay. I'm also unsure of what to use as a title.

Prompt: "Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story."

my culinary JOURNEY

There are three rules for a great TV show. It has to hold my attention. It makes me want to watch the next episode instead of doing my homework and each episode takes me on a new adventure. For me, Iron Chef America checked off all the boxes for great TV. What better than to watch my favourite chefs, like Bobby Flay, duke it out over challenges based around a theme ingredient? From one ingredient, Chef Flay would take me on a journey through American, Asian, and Italian cuisine and show something new every time. Inspired by this, I began my own journeys through cooking and it was during these that I realized that I approach cooking much the same way that I approach the rest of my life.

To me, cooking is a science: the chemical reaction between ingredients that produce a dish. Each and every dish begins with a hypothesis where I consider what potential flavours might work well together. In one of my experiments with butternut squash soup, I investigated if adding five-spice powder would add an Asian flair to the dish that would improve the overall flavour. I conducted numerous trials in which the amount of seasoning, proportion of ingredients, addition of other spices like ginger, or time of cooking were varied to determine whether or not a flavour combination was effective. Creating a tasty dish is the goal but for me, understanding why the dish was tasty was the true science. Whether it be because the spices overpowered the rest of the dish or the vegetable mixture worked well in the squash soup, there was always something to be learned in each test. Cooking is all about precision, analysis and adapting based on the results. Cooking is just delicious chemistry.

Cooking is science, but, to me, science is also cooking. The Canadian Young Physicists Tournament is a competition where students examine the physics behind various phenomena and conduct experiments on them. One of these problems was to investigate water bottle flips. The general recipe for a successful bottle flip is to use one's hand to flip a bottle that's one-third full. But this recipe serves only as a guide. I create the final result. Like I learned from Iron Chef America, if cooking was just about getting the meat to the right temperature then everyone would have perfect steaks every day at every restaurant. But it's not that simple. A successful dish must consider all the different elements and pairings. Science is much the same. I experimented with different launch forces, launch methods, volumes of water and even bottle types in order to better understand the mechanics of bottle flipping. What combination of these produced the best results? It was important to me not only to understand what made a bottle flip successful but also what caused it to fail. Failure meant looking beyond the obvious and beyond what was known. Failure occured because questions were asked, results were doubted and uncertainties emerged. Because of failure, I could put together what was learned from both it and success to explain the bottle flip phenomena.

To many, food and cooking is just another inevitable part of our daily routines. Something that has to be done every day, but I think there is so much more to cooking. Cooking is an endless realm of exploration and experimentation and has shown me that the rest of the world is just the same.

nttv 1 / 2  
Oct 23, 2018   #2
Hi @ linr2,

I like your story when I read it. I can feel your great passion for cooking. Though I don't think my English is better than yours, there are only small things I could find and below are my suggestions I hope contributing to your writing.

"What is/could be better than watching my favourite chefs,... around a theme ingredient?"

"... that I realized that I approach ... same way that I approach the rest of my life."..." (I feel too many "thats" makes it tired to read :)))

"... experimentation and which has ..." (Same here, maybe we could replace "and" with "which" to avoid language repetition.)
Holt - / 7,609 2001  
Oct 23, 2018   #3
R, I understand that you are applying for admission to the Physics course of this university. That is why you included a reference to it in this essay. However, it doesn't really hit the mark because this essay is asking you to divert from your academic interests. Instead, just tell the reviewer about the other side of your personality. Let him get to know you beyond your interest in science. The trend of presenting the cooking part of your life is good. I specially like the part about "the rest of my life". However, I think that reference is too drastic as one tends to adjust his life decisions, choices, and other parameters based upon the needs and requirements of his life at a certain time. I think that changing the phrase to "... approach my life" instead. That is more flexible as everyone, most specially a chef like Bobby Flay, are in life. They roll with the punches and adjust their kitchen requirements based on the demands of the day at their restaurant.

I believe that you are on to something with the "life" analogy in this essay. In fact, I found it very interesting to read your culinary story. Then the experience was abruptly disrupted by the sudden entrance of your science discussion in the later part of the essay. I never recovered from that distraction and it totally ruined the essay for me because I was suddenly torn away from learning about who you are as a person beyond your academic life. All of a sudden, I was forced to get to know your academic interests again, which I am sure you have the opportunity to discuss in greater detail using the other prompts or specific discussion topics of the university application.

Introduce yourself as a person to the reviewer, forget that you are trying to get into the university course of your choice in this essay. Let the reviewer get to know another facet of your personality that makes you more interesting as a scientist, without and actual reference to it. He needs to see that you have balanced interests and you know how to have fun aside from knowing how to study and succeed academically.

Home / Undergraduate / Cooking is science and science is cooking. Common App Essay on Cooking (Prompt 1)