Cornell student shares cooking skills with students

Sophomore Tommie Mezzo is finding new ways to share his love for cooking with Cornell College students as he leads online cooking demonstrations this year.

Tommie Mezzo
Tommie Mezzo

Mezzo was featured in his first cooking program in December, which was part of the Get Cooking activity series organized by the Residence Life Office. He chose a meal fitting for the times.

“For my demonstration, I settled on making Southern-style fried chicken, mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes,” Mezzo said. “Those three dishes are comfort food staples, and I figured that some ‘good for the soul’ food might be needed in these crazy times.”

Mezzo said he has been cooking meals for his friends all school year, and when he heard that cooking show co-host Max Ginsberg was looking for someone to take on the Get Cooking event, Mezzo jumped at the opportunity. Now he’s building his own “recipe” for success as he looks forward to doing more online shows with Residence Life.

Step one: cook.

Even though he had never done something like this before, he brushed aside his nerves and started cooking with his peers watching. He filled the pot with oil and prepared all of his ingredients. Step by step, he prepared a meal fitting for any hungry college student.

Mac and cheese? Yes, please.

Step two: inspire.

“The premise of my show is that I’m a college student using an old electric stove and basic cooking utensils to make easy, affordable, and delicious meals,” Mezzo said. “I’m trying to show that, even with basic materials, someone can make a really tasty meal for a really low price.”     

The sophomore politics major from Brooklyn, New York, is no stranger to the kitchen. In addition to cooking for his family, he has also worked as an assistant pastry chef at an Italian restaurant in New York City. 

“My mother is a wonderfully talented cook, and she instilled the value of being able to cook for yourself,” Mezzo said. “I was able to practice in my kitchen, and this produced my passion for cooking.”

Step three: advice.

Mezzo says he wants students to take on their own cooking adventures.

“Just have fun with it. Learning to cook is a long and extensive process, and there is more for me to learn every day. It can be really overwhelming to get started with cooking, but I promise the end result will be more than worth it. Being able to cook for yourself is a valuable skill to have, and will serve you well as you grow up.”

The sophomore, who also plays on the Cornell baseball team, hopes to one day turn his cooking passion into a career and become a chef at a hospital in New York.

“Living through the pandemic in an epicenter, and seeing how devastated the healthcare system became, made me want to find a way to help,” Mezzo said. “I know that hospitals have a reputation for having lackluster food, which I find appalling.  The doctors and nurses who save lives on a daily basis deserve a good meal from their job place, and so do the people they are trying to save. I want to be able to provide the people trusted with performing miracles a solid meal because it is something they truly deserve.”

With all of the ingredients he needs and equal parts support from Cornell staff and his friends, he’s perfecting the “recipe” for his next cooking show of the Get Cooking series. 

As for the next meal, he’s thinking of cooking up pan-seared steak, baked potatoes, and asparagus–a meal he often cooks for his family. 

The next Get Cooking event is scheduled to happen on Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. Those interested in participating can email Assistant Director of Residence Life Olivia Lennon (

Stay tuned until next time.