For quite some time, it was really only chefs and foodies who knew who Christina Tosi was. She cut her teeth in countless impressive New York City kitchens before joining David Chang in his Momofuku empire. She got her start helping create some desserts for Chang's menus, and eventually, he decided to give her a restaurant she could truly put her sweet stamp on. That restaurant was Momofuku Milk Bar. Milk Bar has since become an international phenomenon, with people from around the world dying to try Tosi's compost cookies, crack pie, and stunning layer cakes—not to mention the cereal milk soft serve and lattes!
Tosi became a household name recently thanks to her role as a judge on MasterChef, where she helped decide which home cooks would advance from episode to episode as they completed different challenges. Contestants were always incredibly nervous if they had to make some sort of dessert for Tosi, and let's get real—who wouldn't be? It must be absolutely daunting to craft a sweet treat for the queen of cookies herself.
In the latest season, Tosi stepped back from MasterChef to focus on her culinary empire—and we absolutely cannot wait to see what she's got up her sleeve. It's evident that she has an incredible passion for whipping up inventive sweets in the kitchen, and the sky's the limit for the Milk Bar queen.
Here are 20 things you may not have known about cookie queen Christina Tosi, lover of all things sweet and baker extraordinaire.
20 She's Married To Restaurateur Will Guidara
For years, Tosi had a thriving career and great friends but hadn't yet found the perfect person to share her life with on a daily basis. Then, she met restaurateur Will Guidara. The two started dating, fell in love, and ended up tying the knot in 2016. While Guidara isn't a chef himself, he's the co-owner of a hospitality group that owns and operates several incredible restaurants including Eleven Madison Park, Made Nice, and the NoMad restaurants. While people from different industries certainly can and do fall in love, we have to imagine it's nice to have that common culinary background—they both understand the challenges of working in the food industry.
19 She Comes From A Family Of Home Bakers
While Tosi definitely learned a lot from culinary school, a lot of the knowledge she acquired about baking actually came from way before then—from watching her family in the kitchen. Apparently, all of the women in Tosi's family were fantastic bakers, from her mother to her grandmother to her aunts. Baking was just a part of life for them, and so she got to see all the different women in her life getting involved in the kitchen and whipping up amazing treats that were absolutely irresistible. We absolutely love the fact that Tosi has always wanted to bake from the heart rather than crafting super technical, fussy desserts.
18 Her Worst Kitchen Injury Involved A Burn Across Her Face
The kitchen is certainly not the place for the faint of heart. Yes, whipping up cookies may be a little bit more relaxing than doing a dinner service, but it's still a grueling day and a tough pace, hour after hour. So, pretty much every single chef, including Tosi, has some battle wounds from his or her time in the kitchen. Apparently, while she was working at a convention center off the coast of New Hampshire as the head baker, a piping hot sheet pan toppled off a cart she was carrying and ended up hitting her right in the cheek, giving her a gnarly burn and scar right across her face. Ouch!
17 Being On MasterChef Inspired Her To Take Dance Classes
You may think it's the contestants on the show who are inspired by the judges' success, but that inspiration often goes both ways. Tosi found herself so inspired by the way that the home cooks really took a risk and put themselves out there in order to compete on the show, so she decided to put herself out there a little bit more as well and take some dance lessons. She's worked on everything from the swing to the foxtrot and has said, "I get a little nervous before class—I wonder what I'm going to be thrust into that week—but that moment when you just let go and dance is so freeing."
16 She Studied Electrical Engineering And Math In College
You might assume that Tosi always knew she wanted to be a baker, but that definitely wasn't the case. In fact, the academically minded chef first went to school to study electrical engineering. She ended up switching her major after about a year, graduating with a degree in math and Italian in just three years. She pushed herself hard to achieve everything she wanted and get that college degree under her belt and, at that point, realized there was something missing in her life—baking. So, she packed up her degree and headed to New York City to try to make it in the culinary world.
15 She Loves Blasting Reggae In The Kitchen
While we have no doubt that Tosi runs a tight ship, we can't help but imagine it must be an absolute blast to work in the kitchen at Milk Bar. After all, you're spending your day whipping up crazy treats that take people right back to their childhood and bring them immense joy—what's not to love about that? And apparently, the soundtrack just adds to the experience. Chefs are usually quite particular about what they like to play in the kitchen, and Tosi is no different—she apparently really loves to play reggae. It allegedly reminds her of being on vacation and drinking pina coladas, which we totally get!
14 She Has A Sneaker Collection
Tosi may have gotten dolled up for her appearances on MasterChef since she was a judge in front of the camera and usually not actually the one doing the cooking, but she's definitely not rocking high heels in real life all that often. In fact, her footwear of choice is sneakers—she's confessed that she has at least 20 pairs of high-top sneakers and that her favorite "is a really old, tattered-up pair of red Converse" that she wears everywhere." She's certainly a busy woman, always on the go, working on her various projects, so it makes sense that she'd need comfy footwear that can take her through a long day!
13 Her Ford Ranger Is One Of Her Most Prized Possessions
When you consider how obsessed with baking Christina Tosi is, you'd likely assume that her most prized possessions would all be related to baking in some way—perhaps the first mixer she bought or a family recipe book she lovingly put together. However, in actuality, one of her favorite things in the world is her Ford Ranger truck. She dished to Delish, saying, "My grandmother passed away two years ago, and she had a granny pickup truck... it was perfect for me. I'm a Southern, Virginia girl with roots in Ohio, so it reminds me of home and harnesses the tomboy in me."
12 Her Favorite Cereal Is Lucky Charms—Extra Marshmallows!
Tosi is known for creating the addictive and inventive Cereal Milk, so obviously, everyone always wants to know what her favorite cereal is. And, while she likely has a lot of favorites, the one that comes out on top is Lucky Charms—with extra marshmallows, obviously. It totally fits her personality—she's so into things that are fun and playful and colorful, so obviously she'd love the cereal that comes packed with vibrant marshmallows in all shapes and sizes. She's worked with some brands before on different projects, so who knows? Perhaps, one day, she'll end up being the face of Lucky Charms.
11 She's Totally Over The Bacon Pastry Trend
Christina Tosi has always kind of marched to the beat of her own drum, but as a pastry chef and entrepreneur, she obviously needs to keep herself up to date on the trends in the industry and what other people are doing. After all, it's research! And, while there are things she probably is intrigued by, there's one particular trend that she's had enough of—bacon. While the combination of salty and sweet can be absolutely delicious, there are other ways to get that flavor profile without always resorting to using bacon in your baked goods. We totally agree with her—bacon is so 2016.
10 She's Super Handy And Can Fix Just About Anything
While Tosi has a pretty large staff now that helps her keep the Milk Bar empire running, there was a time when it was a small but scrappy team trying to bring outside-the-box desserts to the New York masses. So, Tosi had to learn to be good at just about every aspect of owning a business, including the nitty-gritty things like plumbing. She said in an interview, "Building an empire, you've got to be a great bootstrapper, which means teaching yourself the masterful arts of a plumber, electrician, painter, architect and more. I love knowing and understanding the way things work, and knowing how to fix anything and everything."
9 She Meditates And Runs Every Morning
Chefs, in general, have really long, grueling schedules, but someone like Christina Tosi takes things to an entirely different level. In addition to being in the kitchen on a regular basis, she also had stuff like appearances, press events, brainstorming new ideas, and more. With such a packed schedule, it makes sense that she'd find a few ways to build in some stress relief—and, for her, it's all about meditation and a morning run. She's called her morning meditation practice and run the "key to my endurance and my sanity." And, as for nighttime routines, she swears by a cup of ginger tea in bed. Sounds amazing!
8 Her Headscarf Has Become A Milk Bar Staff Staple
While she always looks glam on television, if you ever see Christina Tosi in the kitchen, she's almost guaranteed to be wearing a scarf on her head—and it's a Milk Bar staff tradition. As she told Food and Wine, "When we opened up Milk Bar, I had my stash of head scarves, but all of a sudden, I had a team of girls and guys who were also in white, so my grandma started making headscarves for everyone. It's become the important glue that holds us together at Milk Bar." Tosi's grandmother has since passed, but the scarves live on, which is an amazing tribute to the woman who inspired Tosi to get in the kitchen and start baking.
7 For Her, The Toughest Part Of Being On Camera Is The Hair And Make-Up
While Tosi has likely done a few interviews and television appearances over the years, it's completely different to be the guest on a show and to be a judge on recurring episodes of a huge reality television competition show. However, the toughest part of the MasterChef experience wasn't knowing where to stand on camera or even speaking on camera—it was the getting-ready part. She confessed that the hardest thing of being in front of the camera was wearing make-up. She said, "The thought of having to worry about your looks before you go into the kitchen is a very strange thing to me."
6 Like A True New Yorker, She Has A Go-To Bagel Order
Christina Tosi is a total New Yorker, so obviously, she has a go-to bagel order—after all, sometimes, she has to mix in a few savory meals amongst all those sweet treats! When she's treating herself to a bagel for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up, her order is an everything bagel, toasted, with scallion cream cheese, bacon, and a slice of tomato. Sounds totally delicious—and with taste like that, it's no wonder Milk Bar's savory offerings do just as well as the sweet ones. The bagel bombs they have on the menu are absolutely addictive—and given that they have a scallion cream cheese and bacon filling, we see where the inspiration came from!
5 Her Favorite Grocery Store Cookie Is A Double Stuf Oreo
Tosi obviously spends a ton of her time creating new recipes and baking cookies from scratch until she has them absolutely perfect. However, that doesn't mean she doesn't enjoy a store-bought cookie from time to time. So, if you ever find yourself browsing the cookie aisle at the grocery store and wondering what Christina Tosi would go for, you don't have to wonder anymore—she's admitted to Food Network that her go-to supermarket cookie is the Double Stuf Oreo—not any of the artisanal cookies, not the unique Oreo limited edition flavors, just the decadent classic Double Stuf. We have to admit—we totally love her style.
4 She's All About A Morning Cappuccino
Given what a sweet tooth she has, it makes sense that Tosi's go-to coffee order would be something beyond just a plain black coffee. When asked how she takes her morning cup of joe, she responded, "I'm a cappuccino lady or a flat white if you're in Australia. I like it strong, creamy and sweet, like a hot coffee pannacotta." Sounds absolutely delicious! Obviously, given that she's at the helm of the Milk Bar empire, she has to take her morning coffee with a little dose of milk. Now, the question is, how often does she make a cappuccino with cereal milk?
3 As A Child, She Was A Picky Eater
There are some chefs who are fearless eaters growing up and have crazy tales of the foods they'd try as children. Tosi had a slightly different experience with food growing up. She was actually an incredibly picky eater when she was a child and was unwilling to try the vast majority of things her mother served. The one part of the meal she always looked forward to, though, was dessert—she had a major sweet tooth and always wanted to know what treats were on offer. That's how she first got started in the kitchen: whipping up treats for herself. And the rest is history.
2 She's Worked In Just About Every Food Industry Role Imaginable
There are many chefs who start with a smaller role at a restaurant and work their way up through the ranks but always remain in the chef portion of the food industry. Tosi has a slightly different perspective because she's worked in just about every food industry role imaginable—she's been a restaurant hostess, she's been a caterer, she's been a food stylist, and she's even helped restaurants with the nitty-gritty things like safety manuals. Her passion for the food industry is all-consuming, and even when she didn't have a full chef role, she found a way to get involved in food somehow.
1 She's Gotten Major Recognition In The Food World
There are some chefs who attain notoriety in the food world but never really become known to the general public and vice versa. Tosi has managed to achieve the near-impossible feat of being beloved by both the customers buying her cookies and the critics judging her dishes. She actually snagged the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award back in 2012, and just three years later, in 2015, she won the prestigious James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef Award. Obviously, Tosi doesn't do what she does for the recognition, but we imagine it must feel pretty special to get such high praise from a group of her peers!