The 2007 cinematic masterpiece “Ratatouille,” a childhood staple of current college students, taught our generation an important lesson: “anyone can cook.” On campus, senior Erin Gresh is teaching students that same vital lesson.
Gresh transferred to Villanova from the University of Pittsburgh in the fall of 2019 at the start of her junior year. Just a year after transferring here, she earned the role of President of the University’s Baking Club.
The Baking Club normally meets once a month, and their meetings take place in St. Mary’s dining hall after its closing hours. At each meeting, club members work on a new recipe, and all recipes are easily made with simple ingredients. The club members sit in groups and mix together the ingredients. Then, members of the club’s Executive Board put the creations in the ovens to bake.
“We supply all of the ingredients and supplies for our participants and always leave treats for the dining hall employees to show our appreciation and thank them for letting us use their kitchen,” Gresh said. “We have many regulars that come every month, and we also get some new members each time. It’s so much fun and a great way to make friends. Baking has a way of bringing people together and allowing them to share their own tips, stories and experiences with each other in a fun, easy-going environment.”
The club has been unable to meet in person so far this semester. However, Gresh plans to hold Baking Club meetings over Zoom starting in late October.
Gresh’s role as President of the Baking Club comes after a lifetime of experience.
Gresh discovered her passion for cooking around the age of four or five years old, when she started making Christmas cookies with her mother. She has been in love with cooking ever since.
Gresh made the Instagram account @forgetmenotfood during her freshman year of college. As of Oct. 25, 2020, the account has over 1,250 followers. On the account, you will find hundreds of posts featuring Gresh’s homemade meals and recipes. There is no food that Gresh does not make. You will find cake, cookies, pasta, pizza, sandwiches, pretzels, biscuits and more on this page.
Gresh admits that her favorite food to bake is cake. She makes customized cakes for special occasions of friends and family, each creation tailored to the individual. Typically, the person tells Gresh his or her favorite colors and leaves the bulk of designing up to her.
Gresh plans to officially start a business selling cakes from her house once she returns home in November after the Fall 2020 semester ends. Just like her Instagram account, Gresh plans to call the business “Forget Me Not Food.”
The title “Forget Me Not Food” was inspired by Gresh’s father, who passed away in 2017. His favorite flowers were forget-me-nots. He worked for a pharmaceutical company and loved science.
“My whole childhood, he would make me and my sister do all the science fairs,” Gresh said.
Gresh went on to speak about how she practically grew up in a laboratory.
“While in the lab, I would have an idea and think to myself: ‘I want to make this.’”
This same line of thinking bleeds into her current culinary work. As a Biology major, Gresh applies scientific principles to the kitchen.
Gresh’s science-oriented approach and friendly demeanor combine to make her an excellent teacher. Her teaching skills become apparent by watching the Villanova Television “College Cookbook” series on YouTube.
The “College Cookbook” series has three episodes. The first episode, “13 Minute Chili,” was released on Nov. 19, 2019. Subsequent episodes, released on Feb. 12, 2020 and Oct. 20, 2020, taught how to make “Five Ingredient Brownies” and “Homemade Pasta.”
In each of the videos, Gresh guides an inexperienced cook, sophomore Hunter Dickson, through some quick and easy recipes, while also teaching the science behind it along the way.
“I want to make the recipes easy for college students,” Gresh said. “A lot of college students want to cook but don’t know where to start. In the most recent video, I taught how to make pasta without a rolling pin or a pasta machine. Because who really has a rolling pin or pasta machine in their room?”
Gresh’s talents reach more than just her social media followers and University students. She was on national television just over a year ago.
Gresh was doing schoolwork at her house in July 2019 when she glanced at the television. There was an advertisement for a Grilling Contest, in which contestants could send in a video of themselves cooking their own recipe and talking about it. Winners would end up on the morning show “Live with Kelly and Ryan” on ABC.
“After I sent in my submission, I didn’t think anything of it,” Gresh said. “But a week later, I got a call from the producer. A few days later, on Thursday, I was gonna be on the show.”
On Thursday, July 11, 2019, Gresh travelled from her home in New Hope, PA, up to New York City to show Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest and millions of viewers all over the country how to make a special turkey burger.
Gresh’s television appearance is memorialized on the YouTube video “Grillin'spiration Cook-off: Erin Gresh's Shrimp Stuffed Turkey Burger on Cauliflower Steaks.”
For now, cooking is a side passion for Gresh, as she plans to pursue a career in STEM. However, if her baking business turns out to be a tremendous success, Gresh would love to make it her full-time job.
As of now, Gresh bakes for the people around her, and enters her culinary creations in contests such as "The Greatest Baker." Proceeds from this contest benefit the No Kid Hungry Foundation.
Whether it be with Baking Club, Forget Me Not Foods or College Cookbook, Erin Gresh is a culinary force to be reckoned with. Make sure to keep an eye out for her delicious recipes both on Villanova Television and on her own social media pages.