Harvard grad self-starts a career in food
Serena Wolf is a multi-hyphenate culinary personality with a blog, a website, two cookbooks, video presences on YouTube and Instagram and online classes, all devoted to food and cooking. All of which came within the span of 12 years.
The daughter of “Law & Order” and “Chicago” franchise creator Dick Wolf, she graduated from Harvard in 2009 with a degree in sociology and no clue about what she wanted to do with her life. But a cooking class at the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris pointed her toward her future. She fell in love and a culinary career was born.
Now, on her blog and website, domesticate-me.com, and in her live classes, she shows viewers how to make delicious, tasty recipes, breaking them down to make them more accessible and less intimidating. She also preaches to not be afraid to experiment.
“My overarching philosophy is always to foster creativity and build culinary confidence through empowering people with those basic skills that they need,” Wolf explains. “And I sort of think one of my strengths is the fact that when I did go to culinary school, I had no cooking background so I really had no bad habits to break. I was kind of a sponge. I was literally learning everything, I was building my culinary knowledge from the ground up. And so I was kind of hyper aware of how things were taught effectively.”
Which is what she endeavors to do in her subscription online classes. Breaking her recipes down into teachable pieces in her classes over Zoom, the Long Island, N.Y., resident has her students cook along at home as she prepares a meal that can then serve as the family dinner. So in the end, her students can have a meal on the table and learn something at the same time without having to leave their kitchen, while Wolf gets access to a far wider audience than if she were to rent a facility for an in-person class.
It’s a major convenience and win-win for all concerned.
“You have to make dinner anyway,” she reasons. “Why not make dinner with a professional and a bunch of other virtual friends once a week and make it part of your weekly traditions to try a new recipe and pick up some new skills?”
The inspiration for many of her recipes is her husband, Logan. She wanted to create healthier versions of foods he loved like chicken fingers and lasagna using leaner meats, whole grains and vegetables. In a blog post, she dubbed it “The Dude Diet,” which also became the title of her first cookbook. It caught on and eventually got her hired to create a menu for several members of the New York Giants. That led to a second book, “The Dude Diet Dinnertime.” And a whole lot more exposure.
It’s been a dozen years since she took her first class and her career continues to grow. Not bad for someone who came out of college with no culinary experience and little in the way of skills.
Viewers can check out her recipe ideas on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUUSQgyoDX4j3HtvpIzv1IA), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/serenagwolf/) and her website, domesticate-me.com, where they can also sign up for classes.