Knowing the way around a kitchen may not be a top priority for Millennials. But, with so much time being spent indoors due to the national health crisis, learning a few staple meals may not be such a bad idea.
Lauren Gillon began cooking as a college student to cope with being away from home.
“I started cooking back when I was in college. I was homesick and stressed out from being a pre-med major,” Gillon shared.
As she continued to cook, Gillon realized she had a real knack for the kitchen.
“It began as a hobby. Before you knew it, I was writing my own recipes,” she said.
Citing family as her source of inspiration, growing up Gillon was no stranger to the kitchen and lists soul food as some of her favorite dishes to prepare.
“My grandmother and mom always cooked while I was growing up, and I always watched them cook,” Gillon reminisces. “I’m a big fan of Southern comfort foods. Stuff that sticks to your bones. Things with gravy.”
With over 3,000 Instagram followers and 1,000 Twitter followers, Gillion has been able to use the power of social media to teach Millennials how to cook.
“Every day I post to Instagram. I post recipes two to three times a week,” Gillon says.
For a more hands-on approach, foodies can tune in monthly to learn step-by-step with other Millennials as Gillon prepares meals live.
“I’ve done a few live cooking events. I also do monthly cooking classes on Zoom,” Gillon says.
While cooking can be stressful, Gillon’s classes have the opposite effect.
“I get compliments that it’s very therapeutic. I like to make sure people are prepared. I let them know tips and the format of that’s going to happen in class,” she said.
Aside from using social media, Gillon, also known as Elle The Foodie, began documenting her journey with food online. Launching in 2018, Millennial Meets Stove serves as a food and lifestyle blog operated by Gillon which features personal recipes and “how-to” guides to prepare everything from main dishes to desserts. Receiving roughly 2,000 views per month, MillennialMeets Stove also highlights restaurants around the city of Detroit.
In addition to hosting live cooking classes, Elle The Foodie also offers private events and catering.
“I’ve been specializing in dinner parties. Especially people who have birthdays and can’t go out to dinner,” Gillon says.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gillon is using her skills in the kitchen to help those who have been affected by the virus while also generating more recipes for Millennial Meets Stove.
“COVID has given me more time to produce more content. I’ve also picked up a lot of clients who were stuck at home recovering from COVID and I meal prep for them,” Gillon explains.
To keep clients and herself safe, Gillon uses the internet to grocery shop and has a no-touch delivery system.
“I do most of my grocery shopping virtually. I also drop their meals off on their porches,” Gillon says.
Though cooking is a passion, Gillon’s first love is helping people. Completing a pre-med degree from Farris State University and working as a paramedic EMT, Gillon has plans of advancing her career in medicine.
“Next year I will be applying to Physician’s Assistant schools. Medicine is my first love. I can always take cooking with me,” Gillon says.
Along with plans of pursuing medicine, Gillon also wants to take her cooking mainstream. Listing the host of the Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten as an inspiration, Gillon looks to make a name for herself in the cooking world.
“I love Ina Garten. She’s very classic. Everything is always homemade. I want to have my own cooking show and homeware line,” Gillon says.
As she continues to grow her cooking skills, Gillon looks to expand her range and continue learning new recipes.
“I never try to block myself in,” Gillon explains. “I love to remix recipes. I have a staple alfredo recipe my friends and those who read my blog love.