Meet and Eat: Ida Yu, Serious Eats Summer Intern

Meet and Eat

Getting to know the folks behind the food and drinks you love.

Name: Ida Yu
Location: New York, NY and Charlottesville, VA
Occupation: 4th year college student at the University of Virginia

Guilty pleasures? Stale crackers (preferably Cheez-Its, Wheat Thins or Triscuits), bread smeared with a thick layer of butter (butter on a thin layer of bread?), broken chips (sometimes I throw my chip bags on the floor to break them before I eat them), and, even though I won't admit it to my boyfriend, pop-tarts of any flavor eaten straight out of the box.

Describe your perfect meal. I'm a sucker for local and sustainably raised food, so everything would have to fall in that category. Maybe roasted chicken with root vegetables and greens sautéed in garlic oil? Followed up by a 37-round dessert tasting course.

What food won't you eat? My main gripes with food are texture related, so I don't like tripe or tendon. And I know this is crazy, but I just don't like the texture of raw fish, so sushi unfortunately isn't for me.

Favorite food person? I have a few! Alton Brown is my main man—he's the Bill Nye of the food world; it just doesn't get better than that. Giada De Laurentis and Ree Drummond are close seconds. Giada is like the Heidi Klum of the food world—she's the woman I want to be when I grow up. And Ree is living the life I wanted to have when I was 10 and my favorite book was Little House on the Prairie (it still is...).

When did you first realize you were a serious eater? It all started, somewhat unwittingly, when I was 2 years old and learning the alphabet —I could only pronounce 'k' as 'cake.' My food-loving ways then laid dormant until I was around 12 when I became my sister's sous chef in the kitchen. My first foray into individual cooking came when I made butter out of whipped cream from a can. Since then, I've advanced a bit and taken on most of the baking in my family. My favorite thing to make? Cake, of course.

What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? They appreciate when I cook/bake for them, but they aren't too happy when all I do is post pictures of what I've made and they don't get any! I'm also a VERY farm-to-table, hands-in-the-dirt type of person, and luckily my boyfriend doesn't mind my farm girl tendencies. Which is good since he hears about the newest type of chicken I'm in love with every other day.

Favorite food sites or blogs? The Kitchn and Food52 are both great and I could spend hours clicking through Food Porn Daily on Random. Also, Buzzfeed Food is actually pretty interesting to look through. The Salt is a great read when I'm in the mood for more thought-provoking articles.

Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? My good friend, LK, and I like to explore new restaurants together at school or tell each other about a great place one us tried. But I actually find most of my restaurant recommendations through the internet. I'll browse Serious Eats or Yelp, or I'll post a question in Serious Eats Talk to do a little crowd-sourcing.

What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? I absolutely love breakfast and brunch. Usually, I prefer to make it myself but when I'm in Charlottesville, The Pigeon Hole is my favorite brunch spot. On weekdays, oatmeal is my go-to breakfast. My third year at school, I had the exact same oatmeal (cinnamon, honey, raisins, milk) every single day.

Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? I'm both a cook and a baker. My favorite meal to cook is pasta with lemon-basil-garlic vinaigrette, roasted broccoli, and parm, topped off with a fried egg over medium. My favorite thing to bake is chocolate cake, topped with whatever frosting I like most that day (my birthday cake this year had chocolate tofu frosting!).