Dorm Room Cooking Holds A Special Place In TikTok's Heart

It's the ultimate challenge: How do you cook something good in a space with no burners, no oven, limited refrigeration, and minimal counter space? Throw a very limited budget into the equation and you've got yourself some dorm room cooking. It's hard not to have a soft spot for people who persist in rising to the occasion, despite the odds. While most of us are ordering takeout, a few fine folks are honing their culinary skills without the benefit of an actual syllabus or any credits on their transcript.

It makes for great videos, since there's no end to the creative solutions people have found and shared on TikTok — to immense popularity. LazyPotNoodle is one of the most striking cases: They have 1.8 million followers on TikTok, with cooking videos featuring everything from a crawfish boil and buffalo chicken mac and cheese balls to chicken shawarma and steak and fries. They create these masterpieces without a kitchen in sight, by making use of electric cooking appliances and a spectacular (and speedy) skill set. 

Perhaps equally amazing is that the famously fierce Gordon Ramsay shares our sympathy for such home-away-from-home cooks. Even Ramsay has shown his respect to those worthy individuals who faced the beast that is dorm room cooking. Indeed, he actually voiced his public approval of LazyPotNoodle's filet mignon in one of his famous duets.

Several veteran chefs respect make-do cooking

All of this is not so surprising once you get to thinking about it; after all, it's like a private version of "Chopped," only the participants haven't quite volunteered for a show. Gordon Ramsay has been downright encouraging in his feedback, and it may be that he's seeing some hope for the future of food as he watches industrious students find ways to work around the limitations of their environment and equipment. Truly, LazyPotNoodle is an inspiration — anyone making beef Wellington in a dorm room deserves all the props they can get. 


Making Beef Wellinton in my dorm room as requested! 🍖 #foodtok #foodtiktok #foodie #lazypotnoodle #dormlife #collegelife #asmr #beefwellington #gordonramsay

♬ original sound – Lazy Pot Noodle🍜

Ramsay isn't the only celebrity chef sending positive vibes to upstart college chefs. Ina Garten got into the mix by offering some tried and true advice and, while you'll need access to some sort of oven to follow her suggestions, you should never underestimate the power of a simple toaster oven.  When asked about the best toolkit for scholastic cooking, the Barefoot Contessa came down strongly in favor of sheet pan cooking as an essential college dorm cooking method, noting that one pan is all you need to make your whole meal, including dessert.

More than anything, dorm room cooking reveals the possibilities for great food in far-from-ideal situations, which is something most TikTokers can easily relate to. And whether or not you decide to follow the lead of the foodies on the platform, they're great fun to watch.