Influencer Justine Doiron ’16 Cooks Up Healthy Comfort Food

Stories You May Like

As the Statler’s GM, Hotelie Doles Out Big Red Hospitality

Cookbooks by Cornellians: Ideas for Tasteful (and Tasty!) Holiday Gifts

From Food Network to TikTok, Hotelie Is a Gen-Z Culinary Star

After a personal struggle with disordered eating, the TikTok star offers accessible recipes for an audience of millions

By Lindsay Lennon

“I put an offer on a house yesterday—and immediately backed out of it,” Justine Doiron ’16 confessed to her 2.3 million TikTok followers in January 2024.

As Doiron describes her struggle with “feeling lacking all the time” and her desire to buy a house to assuage it, viewers are treated to a much more abundant visual.

As pale winter light floods her 700-square-foot Brooklyn apartment, she chops fresh herbs, shallots, and lemons before tossing them into a sizzling pot. She cuts up a head of cabbage, spreads it on a baking sheet, and drizzles it with oil.

Justine Doiron standing with a spoonful of cookie batter wearing a white t-shirt and jeans

By the end of the 57-second video, the Hotelie has assembled a tower of piping hot veggies and herbs in a shallow bowl. She adds a steamy liquid, shreds fresh parmesan atop, and voila: herby cabbage in a parmesan broth.

“I was building up this fake future, in this fake house, and realized it just wasn’t meant for me,” she concludes as she brings a spoonful to her lips. “Maybe my 2024 is just about finding what’s real.”

This juxtaposition of vulnerable voiceovers with mouth-watering cooking videos has come to define Doiron’s relatable social media presence. She has never worked as a professional chef, and doesn’t purport to be one.

Within the walls of her apartment—which she shares with her partner and their French bulldog—she inspires followers to find joy in home cooking and forge authentic connections through food.

After working for L.A.-based publicity firms through the Cornell in Hollywood Internship Program, the St. Louis native landed PR jobs for alcohol and food brands after graduation. She later transitioned into media PR, working for ABC News before moving to Discovery Networks.

When did food enter the picture? Doiron admits it’s complicated. Throughout high school and college, she explains, she struggled with disordered eating.

"I had to heal my personal relationship with food before I could become truly interested,” she says. "As long as you’re trying to control what you eat and maintain a certain body or way of ‘health,’ it blocks you from the joy and curiosity of food.”

After landing at Discovery in her mid-20s—which then owned Food Network and the Cooking Channel—Doiron began cooking as a hobby, and in 2017, started a YouTube channel “just for fun.”

I had to heal my personal relationship with food before I could become truly interested.

Now, she’s a full-time content creator with millions of followers across TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest. She maintains advertising partnerships with several food brands including Sahale Snacks, Quaker Oats, and Libby’s.

“Seeing that she has become such a success—it’s just amazing,” says Annemarie Morse ’86, MPS ’10, manager of the Student Learning Center, where Doiron worked in the library as an undergrad.

“She seems so completely natural in sharing her recipes and ideas with people, and so open in sharing her worries and angst when she’s cooking. It makes her so approachable and engaging. I think that’s what makes her so successful: you want to hang out with her.”

Stories You May Like

As the Statler’s GM, Hotelie Doles Out Big Red Hospitality

Cookbooks by Cornellians: Ideas for Tasteful (and Tasty!) Holiday Gifts

A pescatarian, Doiron describes her style of cooking as “plant forward.”

Food influencer Justine Doiron stands in the doorway of a pantry holding two plates of food
In the pantry of her Brooklyn apartment.

She creates and executes recipes with a focus on what she calls “impact-minimizing cooking,” which avoids hyper-processed foods.

Most dishes revolve around fresh fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on in-season produce, ethical agricultural practices, and buying local.

The two ingredients she considers “absolute staples”: cabbage and fresh herbs.

“I find cabbage to be versatile in the fact that it can be sweet, savory, roasted, or raw,” she says. “In the wintertime, it’s top of mind for me, because it’s accessible, affordable, and sustainable.”

Herbs, on the other hand, “transformed my cooking.” She used to think of them as a “frivolous way to run up a grocery bill"—but after learning how to store them for longer shelf life, she includes them in every meal as an enhancer of color and flavor, and a provider of micronutrients.

She touts breaded tofu cutlets as a go-to comfort dish; they’re the main attraction of several of her recipes, including green tomato salad over fried tofu and tofu cutlets with avocado and citrus sprout salad.

And Doiron has perfected her own genre of “baked salads”: a wintertime favorite comprising combinations of hearty greens and vegetables roasted with oil.



12 stalks lacinato kale
1 small head green cabbage
¾ cup uncooked quinoa
1 small red onion
2 sage sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chili oil
Olive oil as needed
Salt & pepper to taste

Baked kale salad with crispy quinoa


Preheat oven to 450 °F. Cook quinoa per package instructions, or in a rice cooker with a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa.

Remove core from cabbage, then thinly slice cabbage and kale. Spread out evenly on separate baking sheets. Drizzle both with avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast cabbage at 450 °F for 20–23 minutes or until golden and slightly crisp. For the last 5–7 minutes, add kale to oven. Remove both and turn oven down to 375 °F.

Put quinoa on a baking sheet and cover with chili oil. Season with salt to taste and toss. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through until quinoa is slightly golden and lightly crisp. While quinoa is baking, make dressing.

Thinly slice onion and place in a bowl. Whisk together honey and water. Put a pan or small pot on medium heat and add a small splash of oil. Add sage leaves and rosemary. Pour in honey mixture and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Add vinegar and a pinch of salt. Stir again and let mixture simmer slightly for 1–2 minutes. Remove sage and rosemary and pour mixture over the red onion. Stir to combine.

Toss together kale, cabbage, and dressing. Pile generously into bowl. When quinoa is out of the oven, sprinkle liberally on salad and serve warm.

All images provided.

Published January 29, 2024


  1. Hindatu Mohammed

    She seems like a lovely person. I went over to her TikTok channel and found a recipe to try for dinner tonight. Always great to see Cornellians finding success!

Leave a Comment

Once your comment is approved, your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other stories You may like