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Jessica Gavin's Science of Cooking

Meet Jessica, professional Food Scientist. She's constantly curious about how to create modernized nourishing meals backed by science.

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Created from scratch in the SideChef Kitchen, where recipe inspiration and ingredient experimentation are a way of life.
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SideChef

Created from scratch in the SideChef Kitchen, where recipe inspiration and ingredient experimentation are a way of life.
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We are excited to have Jessica share with us her recipes for success not only in the kitchen, but in life.

What’s your favorite word related to cooking?

Caramelized.

What’s your earliest positive food memory?

My mom bringing home pink boxes filled with Chinese parties from Oakland Chinatown on the weekend. I have a weakness for custard tarts and steamed buns!

What’s your favorite cooking tool?

I can’t live without my instant-read thermometer or Vitamix blender.

What do you crave when you have a cold?

A big bowl of piping hot pho or Nabe Yaki Udon.

What do you cook when you’re happy?

In the morning mickey mouse pancakes for the family, it’s instant happiness! I really enjoy the process of making a big pot of risotto. It makes you slow down, pay attention, and use all of your senses. I love seeing the rice transform into the most creamy texture. Plus, I get to enjoy some wine too!

Your ultimate guilty pleasure food:

Croissants and hot chocolate, together.

What’s your favorite kitchen sound?

The sound of cold eggs being cracked into a hot skillet.

What’s your favorite cooking smell?

Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (hello Maillard browning!) and the first 30 seconds of garlic sizzling in olive oil.

Who’s your favorite person to cook for?

I love cooking for my husband Jason. I promised to always make him his Grandma’s famous meatballs in my wedding vows (once a month!). I love seeing him light up with a huge grin across his face when I make them for dinner.

You get invited to a dinner prepared by any food icon dead or alive, who is it?

Thomas Kellar.

What do they say to you on your arrival?

He says “Your dreams just came true. I hope you’ve come hungry!”.

What are your 5 top cooking tips or tricks?


  • Take the guesswork out of cooking! Use an instant-read thermometer to gauge for doneness of meats and baked goods. However, your senses are the best indicator, cooking becomes instinctual with practice.

  • Use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients like flour for baking to get consistent results every time.

  • Bloom spices at the beginning of cooking or baking help to draw out their aroma and boost flavor. Gently heat spices in cooking oil or butter before adding in other ingredients like meat. This works great for spices like Cardamom, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, nutmeg, paprika.

  • Match the right cooking oil with the method. I use high smoke point oils for sauteing, pan-searing, and stir-frying like olive, grapeseed, and avocado oil. Deep frying requires peanut or canola oil for prolonged cooking. Use butter at the end of cooking to add flavors and nutty browned notes.

  • Take into account carryover cooking! When you remove food like steaks, chops, and baked goods from the hot cooking environment, the temperature will continue to rise. For meats, stop cooking when it’s 5 to 10 degrees from the target serving temperature, and let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. The only exception is poultry and fish because their muscle structure is less dense and doesn’t retain heat like a steak.

If you could sum up your cooking style into one sentence, what would that sentence be?

Simple and technique-driven, constantly curious about how to create modernized nourishing meals that are elevated by science.

Love this interview? Try these amazing recipe and cook with Jessica Gavin.

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Fresh Berry Tart with Blueberry Yogurt

Jessica Gavin
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