A Pandemic Cookbook Serves up a Recipe for Community

A delicious side project brings busy students together to share stories about food.

November 18, 2021

Goofy group portraits of the Class of 2021 MBA Cookbook, laughing and posing with kitchen appliances. From left to right: Beverley See, Whitney Chu, Lauren Phelps

Pressure cookers: Beverley See, Whitney Chu, and Lauren Phelps, MBA ’21 | Courtesy of Beverley See

Earlier this year, just as the end of her time at Stanford GSB was in sight, Beverley See, MBA ’21, took on one more project: “I wanted to do something that reflected the spirit of the times we were going through.” Making a Class of 2021 cookbook, she thought, “would be a really great way to bring people together and share stories around food.”

See teamed up with Whitney Chu and Lauren Phelps, also MBA ’21, two friends with whom she’d bonded over a love of cooking ambitious meals for classmates. They solicited recipes — and more than 120 came in. Over the next few months, the trio taught themselves layout, design, and photo editing tools as they created a 221-page cookbook that would make any foodie drool. “It snowballed into this giant production,” Chu says. “I got so sucked into this that I was going to sleep at 3 a.m. for three weeks straight.”

From Korean comfort foods to Ethiopian chocolate pudding, the recipes showcased the class’s cultural and geographic diversity. Contributors brought their dishes to outdoor potlucks where the food was styled, photographed, and then devoured.

“The best part,” Phelps says, “was when people would go around and say, ‘OK, here’s what you’re eating. Here’s the story.’ Those were the moments when I was like, ‘Oh right, this is so worth it. This is why we’re doing it.’”


 

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