In case you need a memory refresher, on May 5th, 2017, we had our very first club event for Spoon Macaulay: CookieCon! It was a cookie-licious dessert fest, with 8 chocolate chip cookie bakers entering the contest. All of the guests with VIE (Very Important Eater) status had the opportunity to taste the cookies and vote on the best one.

Our winner, crowned Best CUNY Baker and winner of an Amazon gift card, was Matthew Spataro, a junior from Baruch College.

Michele Hu

I was able to interview Matthew to discuss his winning cookies and his baking skills. Here are some of the things we talked about:

(Note: some parts of this interview were omitted.) 

coffee, beer, cake, tea, pizza
Michele Hu

Me: How did your recipe come about? Did you come up with it or was it from someone in your family?

Matthew: It was something my mom just sort of discovered. It was one of those fate kind of things: she put the right amount of each ingredient in, and with a little bit of love, she made something that was praised every time it was made. My sister and I, when we were younger, would always bring these cookies and share them with friends so we had to learn them to keep our friends happy.

Me: Aw that's so nice! So do you bake regularly? Did you grow up baking a lot; would you consider it a meaningful part of your life?

Matthew: I like baking, but I don't do it that regularly, with having my plate full already. I usually bake when there's a party to go to and I want to bring something sweet, or a day when I get to meet up with all my friends and just chat. It's meaningful in a way that it brings a little joy to the people I share with.

Me: That's amazing!! So do you bake other stuff too besides cookies?

Matthew: Just the basic stuff really: cupcakes, cakes... I haven't had the time to really branch out, but I love watching those Tasty videos that pop up on Facebook. I watched one recently for a marble cake and I was so impressed!

Me: Yeah, such incredible stuff! Now how did you think your cookies stood out from the rest?

Matthew: There were a lot of amazing cookies out there, truly. What I think helped make mine stand out was something one of the people who voted for me said. She came up to me after I was announced the winner and shook my hand, telling me she loved my cookies because it reminded her of cookies her parents used to bake. They had that real, home-y taste full of warmth and love, and I always try and make that shine in everything I make, whether it be cookies or cupcakes or even things outside the kitchen!

cake, pastry, chocolate cookie, goody, sweet, cookie, chocolate
Michele Hu

Me: So did you come into the contest expecting to win?

Matthew: I always go in expecting to win, because when you put it out there it's bound to happen!

Me: Yeah I gotcha–gotta go in confident! So how long has your chocolate chip cookie recipe been around? Or has it been tweaked over the years?

Matthew: It’s probably been around for as long as chocolate chip cookies have been around. It's very basic ingredients; it all depends on what brands I use and how much I put in. So yeah it does get tweaked every now and then when there might be something better-tasting out there. I think the most recent addition would be the types of chocolate chips that are put in.

pancake, chips, cookie, chocolate
Michele Hu

Me: Interesting. Yeah I definitely see how the brands used influences the cookies. I've made things with different brands but the same measurements and ingredients, and it always comes out different!

Matthew: That's the beauty of having such a large number of products to try. The combinations are endless... or at least too big to think about.

Me: Exactly! So it must've just been a whole lot of trial and error?

Matthew: Well like I said earlier, it was my mom's recipe so... all the trial and error was mostly on her part. When I got around to learning it and baking them myself, it was practically perfect.

Me: I see. So credit's on her.

Matthew: Yeah I would say that. I mean, that's why I gave my prize to her for Mother's Day. As a thank you.

Me: That’s so sweet!!!! Is there anything else you want to say?

Matthew: I think baking is very fun, and it's something that can really bring people together. It's communal because you can't just bake something to eat alone. Even though you don't want to sometimes, baked goods are treats you share with people to show that you care.


The event was a hit, and we surely plan to have more awesome Spoon events next semester, since we are now officially a Macaulay club!