- People ask me how old I was when I learned to cook, which is not the right question. At 29, I am still learning how to cook. The right question is when did I learn that cooking food for people gave me satisfaction. I was thirteen. Under the kind supervision of my grandfather I’d made a whole chicken for my family. And when my family leaned back from their plates, every one wiped clean, it was (and still is) a highlight of my life.