Inside the Kitchen with Maya

To round out the IB MYP, all ISA grade 10 students work on a long-term research project which focuses on a topic of their choice. For her own Personal Project, grade 11 student Maya Ochs decided to explore her passion for cooking by creating a YouTube channel and blog, “Inside the Kitchen with Maya”. Starting a YouTube cooking channel was an idea that she had for many years, but had never been able to find the time to do. A self-termed “foodie”, the Personal Project became the perfect platform for Maya to deepen her love of food and cultivate her passion for cooking.

What does this mean to you?

From the very start, Maya was determined to make her YouTube channel stand out from the crowd. While other cooking channels typically post videos of recipes, for Maya, cooking represents so much more than simply the process of making food; instead, she believes food and cooking are tightly woven with culture and the wider world. Maya wanted her videos to reflect this depth and so she decided to make vlogs, in which she cooks a recipe together with a guest star. In a typical video, Maya will not only learn a recipe from her guest stars but importantly, question them about their own food, country and culture. One question she always asks her video subjects is “what does this recipe mean to you?”

Rather than professing to be a cooking expert, Maya invites her audience to join her on a journey to learn more about other cultures and the world through food, describing herself in her channel bio as a “passionate food lover who relishes in sharing [her] new knowledge with others.” As an example, Maya recently interviewed a vegan to learn more about the plant-based diet.

It all began in the family kitchen

Maya’s love of cooking began in her family kitchen. As a German-American who grew up in Switzerland, Maya remembers watching her family cooking from a young age. Her American mother would often bake American-style chocolate-chip cookies and other desserts that reminded her of home, while her German grandmother could be found baking cakes, with Maya helping them out often. As a result, Maya loves to bake cookies because they represent the many fond memories of her childhood. However, her favourite recipe to bake is a type of cake called a Frankfurter Kranz, originating from Germany, which she loves for its moist texture and condensed milk icing, as well as the special way it is decorated.

The IB Personal Project

The scope and depth required to complete the IB Personal Project gave Maya the space to be creative and explore her passion for cooking, allowing her to build upon that passion and take it even further than the confines of the project. She still posts to her channel and blog regularly and hopes to continue doing so throughout the rest of her school career. While still undecided as to exactly what she wants to do in the future, Maya recognises that she would love to focus on the ‘style’ and ‘business’ aspects of cooking, perhaps one day owning her own restaurant.

Link to Maya’s YouTube channel.

Link to Maya’s blog.