The Family Tragedy That Led To Mary Berg's Love Of Cooking

Mary Berg, MasterChef Canada winner and food blogger at A Small Stove, has been passionate about cooking since she was a young girl. After emerging as the Season 3 winner of MasterChef Canada, her food career has blossomed with opportunities to host two TV food shows, "Mary's Kitchen Crush" (per IMBD) and "Mary Makes It Easy" (per CTV). On top of all that, she has also found the time to write a couple of cookbooks, "Kitchen Party: Effortless Recipes for Every Occasion" and "Well Seasoned: A Year's Worth of Delicious Recipes" (per her website). 

Although Berg's success may seem like a dream with one opportunity leading to another, not everything in her life has been easy. When we see someone become successful — especially when it seems like it happened overnight — it's easy to overlook the hardships they faced to get to where they are. In Berg's case, she suffered a traumatic experience when she was just four years old. She and her family were in a car accident; her mother and brother survived with injuries, but their father didn't make it (per the Toronto Sun).

The tragedy of losing her father at such a young age left a mark on her. What also left an impression on her was how the people around them came together to help her family get through such a difficult time.

Her father taught her the importance of sharing

Words are hardly enough to capture what someone feels when their loved one dies. Thus, food typically becomes a way for people to show that they care about the bereaved. Mary observed relatives, friends, and neighbors bringing homemade food for her family. "I saw how impactful those laundry baskets filled with casserole dishes were to our family ... I saw how much that helped my mom and helped our family just get back on the horse" (via the Toronto Star).

Berg doesn't remember her father that well, but she does recall his immense generosity. "I don't recall too much except that the memories of my father was always sharing everything, including food," she shared with the Toronto Sun. "He was legendary for this – he may not have had a lot, but what he had, he shared." This life lesson has become fundamental in how she leads her life — sharing, connecting with people, and bringing them together through food. 

As Berg herself told the Toronto Star: "It was instilled in me from a young age on how sharing something as simple as a plate of food is immeasurable in the joy that you not only give, but how it gives back to you."