TikTok's Cooking With Lynja Is All About Breaking Food Records - Exclusive Interview

The foodie side of TikTok knows all about Cooking with Lynja. Viral sensation Lynn Yamada Davis is a retired MIT engineer who began making videos with her son behind the camera back in 2020. Suddenly, the TikTok star's simple recipes swarmed the internet, with her page garnering 15.1 million followers and approximately 257 million likes to date.

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Davis talked about her upcoming visit to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, where she expects to spend some time with Food Network star Andrew Zimmern. The TikTok food personality is also recognized for her several Guinness World Records with content creator Nick DiGiovanni — like the world's largest chicken nugget and the fastest time to filet a 10-pound fish. While Davis is out here breaking records, she took some time out of her busy schedule to give us her amazing cooking advice. Warning: Creamier mashed potato tips are ahead!

Lynja has some cool videos in the works

I wanted to start by talking about the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. What will you be cooking? There are some cooking demos going on or immersive experiences.

I'm not going to be cooking. I am going to be doing a meet-and-greet on Saturday afternoon, and I'm going to be attending a demo on Sunday of Andrew Zimmern. Also, Mr. Zimmern and I were going to attend the last event, the Bacardi Carnival, and walk around the beach and try food and talk to people.

Is there anything that you know of that you're particularly excited to eat, or do you not know yet?

I don't know yet. But ... I love food from all over the world, so I'm so psyched.

I'm sure — I was looking at the list, and it looks really cool. You've broken quite a few records with Nick DiGiovanni. Are there any plans to break another record this year? What's in the works?

At this point, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's one or two in store for us this year. Our most recent one was donating the most turkeys [in 24 hours].

That's great. Do you have videos with other content creators in the works? If so, who?

Yes, we just filmed with ... I don't know if you know him, Meals by Cug, Danny. We did a video earlier this week. Then, my son and I keep on talking about, "Oh, we should do a video with Max the Meat Guy or New York Nico, because they're in the New York area." There's a lot of people and a lot of creators that we could collaborate with.

There are so many options out there, and they're all great content creators, so you can't go wrong.


The TikTok inspiration keeps on coming

You have an assortment of recipes — from frozen jello to pickle chips — on TikTok. How do you keep the creative culinary inspiration going?

I'm always on the internet looking for meal recipes for my husband and I. I'm always going, "Tonight, I don't know what we're having for dinner," so I'll get on the internet and I'll start looking for something. I'll try to think of something I had when I was younger that we might like.

It's funny — as you keep looking on the internet for recipes, sometimes you end up down a rabbit hole of what you didn't expect. That's where we get a lot of crazy things, like the frozen jello donuts there. People can fall into a rabbit hole a lot.

I love your page because it's not necessarily specific on one type of food, but they're always entertaining and creative, and they always bring something new to the table.

Thank you.

What would you say is your go-to appetizer to make and why?

My go-to appetizer is guacamole. There's something about the creaminess of the avocado, the crunch of the onions, and the heat from the raw jalapeños. I don't know; I love it. It's a perfect appetizer.

Are there any ingredients that are maybe unusual that you like to throw in, or is it more a regular guacamole?

I throw lime juice into it, but that's pretty classic.

Do you have any tips for beginners at home making guac?

My biggest tip would be: Make sure you get those avocados three or four days early, because you can't make a guac from avocados that are hard as baseballs.

The East Coast is all about pizza

You're located in New Jersey, and the East Coast is very well known for its pizza. What would your number one tip be for someone making a homemade pizza?

For homemade pizzas, the hotter the oven you have, the better the pizza. [You need] a hot, hot oven. You should crank it up as high as you can, even though it's scary — but the hotter the oven, the better the pizza is going to be.

What do you normally set the oven to when you do that?

Ours goes to 500.

Wow — you put it that high? How long do you keep it in for?

Not long — maybe five minutes.

Some people warm up the crust first and then take it out and put the toppings on. Do you do that, or do you do it all at once?

I do it all at once.

Where would you say is your go-to pizza spot on the East Coast?

It's called Joe's in New York City. It's my favorite pizza. It's classic plain pizza, but it's perfection.

Do you order a single slice or a big pizza?

Oh, you can never order just a single slice. You order a whole pie.

With St. Patrick's Day coming up, do you have any fun recipes or videos in the works?

I'm thinking about a green milkshake with the Lucky Charms marshmallows on top. That would be on top of a little whipped cream on top of the milkshake.

They sell Lucky Charms marshmallows by themselves now, too. That would be fun.

We've done it before, and we had to get a big box of Lucky Charms and pull out the marshmallows. You can now get just the marshmallows.

Mix sour cream into your mashed potatoes

What would you say is your least favorite social media food trend and why?

I don't know how big a trend it is, but I've seen it — it is a butter board, which is like a charcuterie board, except it's butter and bread. The butter has been dressed up. It seems so specific; I don't know. I can definitely see part of a butter board on a charcuterie board or an appetizer board, but just a butter board seems too much for me.

I saw that you also had a mashed potato recipe on your TikTok. What ingredients would you use to upgrade mashed potatoes?

I would use cream cheese, sour cream, and chives. A lot of people put sour cream on top of mashed potatoes, but if you put the cream cheese and the sour cream, it makes it ultra-creamy, and that's a nice mashed potato.

Do you put equal parts cream cheese and sour cream in?

Yes, but it's a small amount, like a quarter of a cup of each.

I'll have to try that. Do you have any upcoming projects or anything else you would like to share?

Let's see ... Well, the Super Bowl is coming up, and I'm feeling the need for Swedish meatballs, so I want to make Swedish meatballs as one dish for the Super Bowl.

Yum. Are you having a party?

No, we're not having a party, but I want to make a video. I have a costume. I have the decorations.

You can learn more about the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which commences on February 23, on its website. Make sure to keep up with Cooking with Lynja on her TikTok page.

This interview has been edited for clarity.