In the early days of the pandemic, Jeremy Scheck ’22, like many of his classmates, faced numerous big questions, including how and when to make his way back home to Washington, D.C., as Cornell adopted virtual instruction. Among his concerns: What to do with all those ingredients remaining in his Collegetown apartment kitchen?
Scheck turned to one of his earliest comforts: the joy of cooking – for a virtual crowd. Building on his food blog, which he created as a sophomore in high school, Scheck began filming himself and posting recipe videos to TikTok.
One year later, he’s still serving up recipes and content to a hungry following. He’s amassed 2 million followers and 65 million total likes on his videos. He’s gained the attention of The Wall Street Journal, People and USA Today, not to mention several celebrities, including Lizzo, gaining a spotlight well beyond his expectations.
“I never expected that it would be this,” Scheck said. “I wanted to do something with food and now I can.”
At Cornell, Scheck has nurtured his passion for food through his studies, taking classes ranging from nutrition and wines to animal science and horticulture. He also had the chance to study abroad in Italy as part of an animal science course on dairy studies, where he learned about cheese production and dairy farming.
Scheck entered Cornell as a food science major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and got a taste for foreign languages through classes in the College of Arts and Sciences, where he is now a double major in Spanish and Italian. Because Scheck was fluent in Spanish prior to studying it, he has been able to add more electives to his schedule, giving him the chance to deepen his interest in world cultures and cuisines.
“I like to understand the language as well as the recipe,” he said. “I like to use recipes written in the original language rather than a translation.”
The flexibility offered in his studies has allowed him to curate an education based on his interests and apply that education to his content creation.
“I just love learning about food,” Scheck said. “At the end of the day I’m just taking things that I’m interested in and I try to apply that.”
For his TikTok videos, Scheck records himself, providing commentary and lessons on how to cook, but also ladling in nutritional information, cultural references and a touch of humor to the recipes he’s showcasing. He offers viewers insights he’s learned at Cornell on traditional recipes and how to enhance their cooking skills.
Scheck said he’s grateful that his TikTok success allowed him to pursue his dream of working with food on a regular basis. As he continues to create content, he hopes to cultivate the sense of community he’s gained with his brand in the past year.
His goal is to make cooking and content creation his full-time job, and he hopes his website will become a recipe platform where people can contribute their own recipes and ideas.
Meanwhile, he’ll finish his last year at Cornell, educating a community of followers on what he’s learned during his time as a student, sharing information on the interesting courses he’s taken and sparking an interest in the Cornell experience for his followers.
“I think it’s my daily life; I can’t really separate my life from Cornell,” Scheck said. “My lived experience for the past three years and for another year in the future is Cornell. It’s definitely a part of me.”
Jamie Crow is a communications specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications.