For most of us, the idea of mathematics and cooking seem like odd bedfellows. The former often invokes cringeworthy memories, while the latter is often connected to favourite meals, spending time with family and friends, and culinary delights that are visually appealing and delicious.
However, for my MSc Mathematics student, Michael Griffiths, a shared love of both has led him on a rather interesting academic path.
It was late last year that Michael first approached me with a desire to audition for the newest season of Master Chef Canada (which begins airing on April 3rd). While it wasn’t exactly related to his research (where he’s developing a system of differential equations to model a common infection in cows), I really couldn’t say no. First and foremost, this represented a once in a lifetime opportunity and it would be silly to ignore that. Second, it was only an audition so the potential impact on his research would be minimal – unless he made it on to the show – but that, I figured, was a future problem that he and I would deal with. Third, his passion for food equals his passion for mathematics. In my opinion, denying one would be to the detriment of the other. And finally, given that I’ve considered auditioning for The Amazing Race Canada with my friend Rick, it really would have been hypocritical for me to say no.
Michael auditioned last fall with thousands of other contestants from across the country. As you can see from the image above, he is one of only twenty-one who made the cut and are now vying for the title of Master Chef Canada.
I’m so incredibly excited for and proud of Michael, and I’ll be rooting for him every week.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, Michael is expecting to complete his Masters before the end of the summer. I’ve already joked with him that if he wins, he has to defend his thesis while preparing the examing committee a tasty meal.