Cooking with Andrew Pester

Cooking with Andrew Pester

morgan noll, reporter

     Food language of many high school students doesn’t expand much past, “I’m hungry,” “What’s for dinner?” or “I want Chipotle.”

     Senior Andrew Pester is an exception. At 11, Pester became introduced to the food world. While scrolling through television channels, he stumbled upon an episode of Rachel Ray. The show marked the beginning of a new and important part of Pester’s life. When the episode concluded, Pester ran to his mother, pleading for a trip to the grocery store to buy all the ingredients he would need to recreate the recipe he had seen. His request was granted and Pester ended up with an exact execution of Rachel Ray’s chicken parmesan.

Pester now uses his creativity to experiment with recipes of his own. A lot of Pester’s recipes originate from what he is hungry for. He pulls items from what is in his pantry and is often proud of the final result.

“Sometimes I just like get the biggest smile on my face and that’s when I know that I’m really proud of myself and that I did a pretty good job,” Pester said.

Senior Lexi Adams, one of Pester’s good friends, is a fan of his cooking, and though she doesn’t feel like a qualified critic, she believes that all of his food is amazing.

“I think he loves cooking more than anything else because he can connect it to a lot of different things in his life,…the world around him and his expanding views on the world,” Adams said.

After enjoying Pester’s guacamole multiple times, Adams has decided that his is the best. She has also decided, after trying and failing to recreate it, that Pester is the only one who can make it just right.

Although Pester is known to have the best guacamole, he doesn’t stop with any one kind of food. Part of his passion for cooking comes from his interest in different cultures.

“Now I’m kind of in a transition,” Pester said, “I used to cook a lot of American cuisine…but now I want to explore a little bit more of the Middle East and Asia.”

Others can enjoy Pester’s recipes through his blog, le sel gris. Pester created his blog over the summer, before a trip to Bulgaria.

“[The blog] started with kind of cataloging the food that I ate in Bulgaria and it expanded to include recipes of my own, which I had intended to do,” Pester said.

Currently his blog features two vegan recipes inspired by Cafe Gratitude, a place he enjoyed in Kansas City. His other most recent recipes include a chocolate banana milkshake, a bacon and Brussels sprout salad, a mushroom and gruyere quiche, and an apple tart. Viewers can search through a number of his recipes, starting with May of 2012. Pester tries to update his blog with new recipes once or twice a month, or as often as his schedule allows.

Pester doesn’t plan on going to culinary school, mainly because of the rough hours and because he values his sleep. His college plans currently lie in linguistics and anthropology, but he says that stems from the culture he finds in food. What makes his passion for cooking so unique is his ability to make connections to his life and experience cultures through food.

“I don’t really know what the future holds for me; I just know that I will continue with food,” Pester said.