A strong sensitivity and the desire to help people in their kitchens, this is the drive of Mike Silverstein that is leading him to success. This young chef, whom we were able to appreciate through MasterChef, has recently published his new book which talks about the ketogenic diet and speed in the kitchen while maintaining a high culinary level. It’s a really not to be missed topic for anyone! We talked to Mike about this and more, right down to youth values via social media. Let’s find out together!
I would start by talking about the fact that your third cookbook has just come out, “New Keto: Dinner in 30”. We want to know everything about the making of your latest masterpiece!
A little over a year ago, I arrived back in Texas after filming MasterChef in LA for 3 months. That entire experience pushed me to my personal and culinary limits. One of the biggest lessons that I learned on the show was the value of creating truly delicious food in a very short amount of time. I knew right away that this approach to cooking could be applied to day-to-day life. I then realized that I wanted to help
others make chef-quality food at home…in 30 minutes or less, no matter their skill level in the kitchen.
Heck, some nights of the week, even I don’t feel like cooking, so giving everyone access to such quick (but delicious) recipes was a really inspiring challenge for me. So, my new cookbook, “Dinner in 30,” is designed for everyone, keto or not, who just need to get dinner on the table quickly and easily. I wanted to create a book that would genuinely help others find joy and success in the kitchen without it requiring hours and hours over the stove or hundreds of dollars at the grocery store. This book solidifies and exemplifies my life’s work of helping others cook through their journey to health.
Where do you think your passion for cooking came from?
Gordon Ramsay recently said to me, “It is clear, young man, you were born to cook.” When he first said that, I’m not sure I fully comprehended it, and I wasn’t even sure I completely believed it. But when I really think about my life, I’d like to think that Gordon is right! Food is my world and cooking is my love language. I distinctly remember telling my sister, at maybe 8 or 9 years old, that one day, I was going to have my own restaurant. I always knew I wanted to cook, and I’ve worked my entire life for this.
Also in Italy, MasterChef is a very popular TV series. You finished second in season 12 of MasterChef: Back to Win and now you are effectively one of America’s most accredited chefs. How are you going to use this popularity? Any ideas incoming, aside from books of course?
Simply put, my goal is to share my food with as many people as possible. Fortunately, there are so many ways of cooking and connecting with people all over the world. From television to social media to restaurants, I want to do it all! No matter how proud I am of what I did on MasterChef, now is when I write the next chapter of my career. So, I’m continuing to work really hard at sharing my food online and through books. I’d also love to get back on TV for another cooking show. But most importantly, I’m working on my first restaurant opening in the coming months. So, stay tuned for lots more yummy food coming your way!
Any funny memories during the shoot that you want to share with our readers?
Truthfully, there were not a lot of funny moments! It was a brutally challenging and intense competition, day after day. As cast members, we were all there to win, and even when we weren’t filming, you’d probably find us studying or trying to get some sleep whenever we could. That being said, it was the most thrilling experience of my life and wouldn’t change it for the world.
We know you lost 80 pounds on the ketogenic diet. It is a diet that, periodically, I also do because with endometriosis a sugar-free diet is recommended. Sugars are responsible for increasing inflammation and pain, in general! How did you come to choose this type of diet and, also, would you recommend it as an everyday diet or only for some periods?
I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life, and believe me, I have tried every diet that there is. I finally found success with the ketogenic diet because it didn’t completely rely on restriction and calorie counting. As a chef and avid eater, keto worked for me because I could eat real food, meaning full portions of meat and veggies, and it never felt particularly difficult for me to stick to because of those
freedoms. Beyond the weight loss, I also just feel amazing when eating keto and my body tells me that it’s happy! So, I decided to build a long-term lifestyle around keto because I find it comfortable, sustainable, and delicious.
That being said, the ketogenic diet has been a controversial topic for some time now, as it can really easily be misused as just another “fad” diet. The reality is, keto has been around for over 100 years, and has been proven safe and effective, not only for weight loss but for many medical conditions as well. I believe eating keto long-term is very safe if you are taking a balanced approach to it. Sticking to high-quality meats, veggies, and fats (avocado and olive oil), and avoiding highly processed and packaged foods (even if they’re labeled ‘keto’) is really important when considering this diet long-term.
Popularity obviously generates a large following on social media. How do you live all this? What relationship do you have with fans and how do you manage to divide your private life?
I love this question! And this is the first time anyone has asked me this. The truth is that popularity, especially on social media, can be a double-edged sword. The beauty is that I get to personally connect with people all over the world, and it brings us all closer together. However, I don’t just get to “clock out” from my social media work. Creating content is a 24-hour job. I have found that taking breaks from
social media every few months is really important for me to stay healthy with my relationship to social media.
But to be clear, it’s also the best part of my job and I wouldn’t be here without it. My community has become a little family to me, and I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve built online. It also gives me a space to share my life and my food on a daily basis in a way that wasn’t possible before the Internet era, and it’s becoming a bigger part of the work I do every day. As a pretty emotional and sensitive person, it means so much to me when I see people cooking my recipes online in their own kitchens. It reminds me why the work that I’m doing is important – I feel like I really am helping people.
Again, the other side to being such a sensitive person is that I inevitably encounter trolls and negativity every step of the way. While that’s a very small percentage of the reaction I get online, it still hurts and sometimes gets under my skin. So, I’ve had to learn to separate my feelings in those situations, reminding myself to be proud and confident in the work that I’m doing.
How do you think social media can help today’s youth (tomorrow’s adults) become more aware? We think of important issues such as racism, bullying, and environmental protection for example.
Beyond its ability to connect people worldwide, social media really opens the blinds to what’s happening in the world. There is constant access to the facts, making it harder for the truth to be hidden, and I see this every day. On TikTok, for example, information spreads extraordinarily quickly, and I see brilliant young adults sharing deeply insightful perspectives on even the most complicated issues of today, and that’s really what we need right now. And I’m excited to see the youth grow into the next generation of thought leaders.
If you could look forward and make a wish, how would you see yourself?
Interesting. If I’m being honest, I don’t often think that much about the future. Ironically, I don’t consider myself much of a dreamer and try to stay present and focused on the “now.” So I’m not exactly sure what the future would hold or look like, but if I had one wish… I’d want to be the next Gordon Ramsay 😉 In all honesty, I hope to have my own flourishing restaurants around the world along with a few more best-selling cookbooks!