Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Inspiration for startcooking.com

posted in Applause by Kathy Maister

In the fall of 2005, my husband David was developing a new website for his management consulting business, with fabulous business advice videos . David had also just shown me his latest plaything — his video iPod.

As I was watching the filming I started thinking about all the people who are really smart, well educated and clueless about how to cook.

Then it suddenly dawned on me and I said – why not?

I realized that, in spite of the existence of hundreds of TV cooking shows and thousands of cookbooks, there was nothing out there that really helped smart people learn the basics.

I also realized that there was a fresh way to share what I knew. I couldn’t get the iPod cooking idea out of my mind.

You know how something only becomes real once you say it out loud? Well, a few weeks later, as a result of David’s work, we were in, of all places, Estonia, and I told David about my idea.


Tallin, Estonia

Immediately, the idea became totally real. I could see it happening.

Once again, the teacher in me came alive!


Here is the interview I did for Fast Recipes Feature about startcooking.com:

“Kathy Maister took her dream of teaching cooking to a world-wide audience. Since 2006, Kathy has been making videos and photo tutorials that train those that are new to cooking, keeping in mind that most readers prefer to learn in a way that is, as Kathy describes it, “short, fast, and fun!” We interviewed Kathy about the site and what inspired her to create it.”

Could you tell us about yourself?

I was trained as a Home Economics teacher, but budget cuts soon meant that my dream of teaching was not to be. My new found freedom (unemployment!) allowed me the opportunity to begin traveling with my husband. His work brought us all over the world to places I never imagined visiting!

Fast forward to 2005, video podcasts were just being thought of, and I suddenly had this brainstorm…

What was the inspiration behind creating startcooking.com?

The inspiration for startcooking.com actually came from my husband, David, my nieces, and many other people I met who, when asked: “Do you know how to cook?” would reply by saying “What do you mean by cooking?”

I started thinking about all the people I met that were really bright, well-educated, had traveled the world and yet were clueless about how to cook.

I realized that, in spite of the existence of hundreds of TV cooking shows and thousands of cookbooks, there was nothing out there that really helped smart people learn the basics.

So in January of 2006, with my brand new iPod in hand, I began developing my web site.

What makes startcooking.com different from other cooking blogs?

Startcooking.com is perfect for the adult beginner cook to get started. My site has 60 stop-motions videos and over 250 photo-tutorials. I designed the videos specifically for the internet. They are short, fast, and fun!

My photo-tutorials and my videos have step-by-step instructions that teach new cooks everything they need to know. I have demystified things like steaming asparagus, cooking corn on the cob, cooking a whole pork roast, chopping an onion, making rice, and even boiling an egg!

What are your favorite things to cook/bake?

I’m a seasonal cook. Hearty stews and soups in the winter, lots of fresh vegetables and salads in the spring and summer, and anything with apples in the fall are my favorites! I love to use fresh herbs in my cooking and am actually attempting to grow some on my window sill – startgardening.com anyone?

Could you give a few words of encouragement to those that are new to cooking?

  1. Have fun.
  2. Think small — master one skill at a time.
  3. Keep your knives sharp.
  4. Think ahead — it’s hard to prepare a meal with no food in the house.
  5. Add a touch of romance — anything looks better by candlelight.
  6. Keep equipment simple. “Gimmicky” utensils and equipment take up storage space and become dust collectors. (Are you really going to make your own dried beef jerky?)
  7. Buy one really good reference cookbook. (I like “Joy of Cooking.”)
  8. Leave some things to the experts. (I have never been able to cook a steak as well as they do at our local steak house!)
  9. Learn to cook one thing really well. Everyone needs a signature dish, even if it is just scrambled eggs.
  10. Learn all the proper techniques and terminology, and then break all the rules!

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