After a decade of writing cookbooks with chefs, Ko penned her own, “Better Baking,” which was released fall 2016. She’s also a food and travel writer, recipe developer, and culinary consultant for national media outlets and food companies.
• Earned a BA in religious studies from Yale University, where she continued in a graduate program before leaving to pursue a culinary career full-time
• Simultaneously apprenticed as a cook at a classic French restaurant and as a food writer with Mark Bittman in Connecticut
• Her first cookbook collaboration was with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who entrusted her to write “Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges.” They went on to write “Home Cooking with Jean-Georges” together. She is still continuously inspired by him.
• Other books include “Curate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen” with chef Katie Button, “My Portugal” with chef George Mendes, “Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook” with pastry chef and entrepreneur Sarabeth Levine, “Cooking with Love” and “Carla’s Comfort Foods” with celebrity chef Carla Hall, “The Sweet Spot: Asian-Inspired Desserts” with pastry chef Pichet Ong, and “Hey There, Dumpling!” with restaurateur Kenny Lao
• Her solo cookbook, “Better Baking,” has been lauded as one of the best fall 2016 cookbooks by The New York Times, Tasting Table, epicurious, Real Simple, Bake from Scratch, and mindbodygreen
• Served as a food editor at Martha Stewart Living, Gourmet, Good Housekeeping, Health, and Real Simple
• Contributes to Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Saveur, epicurious, Travel + Leisure, Shape, and Parents
• Alternates running, weight training, ballet barre workouts, yoga, and Pilates, depending on her mood.
Flavor First, then Function
Genevieve Ko was born in Los Angeles but traveled to her parents’ native Hong Kong every summer as a child, eating her way through both metropolises.
Her family adhered to traditional Chinese views on food’s impact on the body, but made no sacrifices in flavor at the table.
At the age of seven, Ko began baking under the tutelage of her aunt. In her first solo attempt at cookies, she mixed up the salt and sugar and has never repeated the mistake again.
During her restaurant apprenticeship, she quickly rediscovered her passion for pastry. Developing baked goods for food magazines and working with pastry chefs only reinforced that first love.
For her twin daughters’ first birthday, she wanted their first taste of sugar to be a delicious one that would also be good for them. Her carrot cake—loaded with extra carrots, applesauce, orange juice, healthy oil, and whole grains—wowed the adults at the party as much as the babies. Over the years, she continued to adjust classic recipes by adding more healthful ingredients while reducing refined sugar. When chefs and fellow food writers preferred her more wholesome desserts to traditional ones, she knew she had to put her recipes into a book.
“My goal is to make the most delectable desserts possible. I always want the best flavors and textures to come first because I simply want to make people happy. That I happen to do that by incorporating ingredients like fruits and sweet vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and healthy fats is an added benefit. My desserts nourish your body and as well as your soul.”
“Because my motivation for baking is to bring others joy, I now create original desserts for friends and their kids who have dietary restrictions. I don’t believe in substitutions or in trying to make something it’s not or was never meant to be, but I do believe that desserts can be mind-blowingly good without gluten, grains, dairy, eggs, or nuts. By creating something for everyone, I hope to bring unity to the dessert table.”
“Even though I care deeply about making desserts that you can feel good about eating—and that make you feel good after eating—I care even more about the power of food to bring people together. It’s how we connect, how we share love, and how we come together as families and communities.”