Late night study sessions are most often paired with a side of microwave ramen or mac and cheese – both fast and simple solutions to dinner on a time crunch. However, for Weinberg junior Katy Kim, cooking is not just a necessity, but an art. 

Between balancing her double majors in art history and political science, Kim devotes time to her love of cooking by exploring the culinary arts at home. She shares all of her creations from vanilla yogurt tarts to herbed focaccia on her Instagram, @cakesniffing.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Kim found herself in a dining rut, cycling through the same few meals over and over again. In an attempt to break out of habit, she took over making food for her family and developed a true passion for cooking. 

@cakesniffing was a way for Kim to showcase her masterful meals while connecting with other like-minded millennial chefs. Though unable to gather or go outside during the height of lockdown, Kim felt welcomed by a niche community of at-home cooks who shared her appreciation for decadence in the kitchen. 

Kim said learning from her mistakes helped her gain confidence in recipe development. A loyal supporter of Food Network’s Chopped, Kim often recreated the popular television series at home as a way to work with new food combinations. Though she considered herself a ‘foodie from a young age,’ Kim said her willingness to experiment with uncommon flavor profiles is what made her into the college chef she is today.

Snapping high quality photos from the comfort of a home studio can be a difficult feat. To get the best content, Kim took advantage of the natural light in her Northwestern apartment. As a result, Kim’s feed is filled with sunny photos and vibrant plates of food with plenty of colorful garnishes.

Developing an aesthetic motivated Kim to maintain the caliber of her creativity in the kitchen, even with a busy college schedule. Kim said @cakesniffing is a way to hold herself accountable to devoting time to an outlet she enjoys. 

Recently, Kim started a second Instagram account, exclusively for Northwestern students, where she develops her own recipes and sells them to her local community. Each week she creates a menu and designs a set of graphics to display the options to her audience.

She buys all of her ingredients at local markets in Evanston and spends her Sundays putting together elevated grab-and-go meals to be picked up outside her own apartment. Past menus items include spring pea toast, kale caesar with homemade crutons, apple salad and strawberry beet crisp.

As someone interested in both marketing, business and food, her online platform is an interactive way to share her passion with her friends and experience the many complexities of a self-run business. 

While Kim said she now finds herself well-versed in the formal structures of a self-run business — like payments, planning order pick ups and purchasing ingredients — it is the unstructured format of Kim’s ever evolving menu that leaves customers impressed and surprised by her clever creations.

“My menu is not super specific because I don’t know what things are exactly going to be until I make them,” said Kim. “I have a vision, though, and I’m confident it will be good.” 

As her reputation among hungry students grows, Kim continues to design, decorate and develop in the kitchen. Her versatility and open-mindedness towards food continues to give the Northwestern community a true innovator of the culinary arts.