The Next Chapter

Masterchef Canada winner Mary Berg's recipe for stress-free cooking

The self-taught chef has written a cookbook, Kitchen Party. It includes over 100 of her favourite recipes designed for big occasions, such as Mother's Day brunch or a low-key bridal shower.
Kitchen Party is a cookbook by Mary Berg. (Appetite by Random House, Lauren Vandenbrook)
Listen15:59

This interview originally aired on Dec. 7, 2019.

Kitchen Party is the first cookbook by Mary Berg, MasterChef Canada winner and host of Mary's Kitchen Crush. 

The book includes over 100 of Berg's favourite recipes designed for big occasions, like a Mother's Day brunch or low-key bridal shower.

Berg dropped by The Next Chapter to discuss her latest book and a love of cooked food.

My new cooking life

"Before I was on MasterChef Canada I was an insurance broker, which was something I kind of fell into. What I had wanted to do was work in archives, which is arguably the exact opposite of what I find myself doing now. 

Food, for me, has always been about sharing. These days, I've been able to share it so widely through these different channels.- Mary Berg

"I went on MasterChef Canada at the insistence of my friends and family who I thought were kindly lying to me by saying that I could cook. I thought they just didn't want to cook themselves.

"But since winning, it's kind of been gangbusters. It's so exciting. Food, for me, has always been about sharing. These days, I've been able to share it so widely through these different channels."

Cooking with care

"When I was young my family was in a car accident and my dad passed away. I was four years old and I remember seeing the relief on my mum's face when neighbours came over with laundry baskets filled with casserole dishes. 

Food showed me how much somebody can care about you — without actually having to say anything or having to make grand big gestures.- Mary Berg

"Food showed me how much somebody can care about you — without actually having to say anything or having to make grand big gestures.

"It's just something as simple as making something, usually covered in potatoes, to just say I love you and I hope you're okay."

Anxiety-free cooking

"The joy of cooking, for me, was immediate. I have a very creative brain but I am not artistic. I've had high anxiety ever since I was little. But cooking has always been my outlet. Cooking and being in the kitchen, is the one place that my brain shuts off those loud voices that are always second-guessing things. 

I've had high anxiety ever since I was little. But cooking has always been my outlet.- Mary Berg

"So the joy has always been there, whether it's really personal while I'm actually cooking, to the kind of extended joy you get when you sit down and share a meal with people."

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      Mary Berg's comments have been edited for length and clarity. 

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