Student Chefs

Aggie student chef, @sarahsmacks on Instagram shares a photo of her seafood salad which features marinated shrimp and crab. 

Three Aggies have taken their love for cooking to the next level by promoting their treats and meals on social media.

Drew Billings of @lecordon_drew, Sarah Bianco of @sarahsmacks and Lillie Kirbo of @lillies___kitchen have all found joy by sharing their food via Instagram with the residents of College Station.

Agribusiness senior Drew Billings said his cooking career started involuntarily due to his mom promoting cooking at home. His time in the kitchen began during his sophomore year of college.

“It really started out of necessity,” Billings said. “My whole life I have grown up with a mom who is an excellent cook. When I moved into my house sophomore year here, I knew I needed to get better at cooking for my taste buds’ sake.”

Billings said he owes the takeoff of his Instagram career to his friends.

“I had a few friends that brought up the idea of a cooking Instagram to me, and I was immediately interested,” Billings said. “But I knew if I was going to actually make one, I would want my personality to be fully present, which means having loads of horrible puns and cheesy jokes that made the page a lot more fun to follow.”

Computer engineering senior Sarah Bianco said her friends were also very encouraging of her budding talent, which inspired her to take her cooking to the next level.

“I decided to take it to a new level when I realized how appreciative my friends and family were to be able to eat my food,” Bianco said. “I never thought that it was something that would become so special to me, and so it inspired me to take a different approach to my cooking.”

Although Bianco is promoting her products on social media, she said her only goal is to spread happiness.

“My goal isn’t to make money,” Bianco said. “As long as someone is happier because of my food, then I’m happy.”

Since her graduation in December, Lillie Kirbo, Class of 2020, said she has taken advantage of her newfound free time by pursuing her love for baking.

“I am taking a gap semester until Physician Assistant school so I have a lot of free time and have always wanted to create a business like this, so I thought it was the perfect time to dedicate all my time and energy to it,” Kirbo said.

Kirbo said since opening her small business, she has found success but wants to grow further in the area.

“My goals right now are just to expand my following and amount of customers,” Kirbo said. “I have been able to reach a lot of college students through friends, but I would love to be able to reach families throughout College Station.”

For those thinking of starting their own business, Kirbo said she recommends advertising well and cooking for friends.

“The best advice I could give is to make sure to take lots of pictures of what you cook to be able to advertise it,” Kirbo said. “Also cook as much as you can for your friends because then you can get a reputation for being a good cook so more people are going to want your food.”

Billings said even though his page isn’t meant to make a profit, he hopes opportunities arise through sharing his food online.

“I think it would be awesome if my social media page opened up opportunities for a career in the culinary world,” Billings said. “Right now I just want to grow my presence as much as I can.”

Bianco said she has found many different ways to appreciate the art of cooking and encourages young chefs to get out of their comfort zone and try something new.

“There is so much more to cooking other than the physicality of it,” Bianco said. “It’s a way to learn about other cultures and appreciate our ability to have food on our tables 24/7. So if anyone is afraid of branching out into new ingredients, just go for it.”

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