From scratch: Student whips up fancy food from his dorm

Publication Date

Emanuel Storch '16 isn't your typical gourmand. The Phoenix, Ariz. resident doesn't rely on high-tech tools or state-of-the-art kitchens. Instead, he whips up dishes like roasted vegetable soup, fresh guacamole and grilled artichokes all from his dorm room. He chronicles his food adventures on his blog, Scratch.

Learn more about Storch in our Q&A:

Class Year: 2016

Major: Economics

What is your background with food?

I grew up in the kitchen always helping my mom cook for ourselves or for the many guests that walked through our door. I started cooking dinner for my family in high school, and that's probably when it became a real hobby of mine. After high school, I spent a year at Bar-Ilan University in Israel before coming to Union. I was on a gap year program, where we had kitchens in our dorms but no substantial meal plan. As the year began, my friends grew hungry, and I started cooking every day after class. I would take trips to the open-air market in Tel Aviv and made meals with our countertop plug-in stove and oversized toaster oven. My friends called it "Manny's Meal Plan." Currently, I am involved with Good Eats on campus and will be living at Culinary House my sophomore year.

Why did you decide to start a blog focusing on cooking and food?

During my year in Israel, I began documenting all the meals I made, and my friends told me I should make a food blog with all my photos. That really was my inspiration to start Scratch.

Where do you get inspiration for what you cook?

I watch the Food Network often and get ideas from my favorite chefs such as Bobby Flay or from shows like "Chopped." When I go to a restaurant and eat something I enjoy, I usually try to recreate it at home as well. After living in Israel for a year, I was definitely influenced by the Mediterranean diet and ways of cooking. Using fresh, simple ingredients is very common in Mediterranean cooking.

What advice would you give college students looking to pass over the Ramen and go a little gourmet in the kitchen?

My advice would be that a college diet does not need to consist of frozen pizza or Ramen noodles. Cooking can be easy and fun! I also believe that eating healthfully does not mean compromising taste. There is no reason for us to consume all these processed products served in our dining halls or sold in our grocery stores, when food can taste so much better and be so much healthier.

Would you like to do something with food/cooking after Union?

Yes, my ultimate goal is to make a career for myself in the food industry. I think Americans are becoming a lot more health conscious and are searching for healthy alternatives to both diet products and regular processed products. I also hope to continue growing my blog and gaining a greater presence online.

If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive), who would it be and why?

It would probably choose Anthony Bourdain, both for his humor and culinary expertise. He travels the globe searching for the best edible finds, while experiencing different cultures and people. He meets with some of the most renowned chefs in the world and probably has many entertaining stories.

What's your favorite thing to cook/eat?

This is definitely a hard question to answer, but I enjoy making and eating seared Ahi tuna with a sesame-ginger glaze, served with sliced avocado, alfalfa sprouts and garlic aioli.

What's the best thing you ever ate?

I don't know if it's the best thing I ever ate, but my favorite thing to eat is the mozzarella sandwich at Pane Bianco in Phoenix, AZ. Pane Bianco is one of Chef Chris Bianco's restaurants, where his bread and mozzarella are both made in-house. The sandwich includes fresh basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes with olive oil. It is served with really good olives as well.