Emily Mariko: The Simplistic, Yet Captivating At-Home Chef

Sophia Li, Staff Writer

If you have been on TikTok, you’ve probably scrolled through one of the countless viral food videos the platform has to offer. One of the creators, Emily Mariko, has been all over TikTok, from being tagged in recreations of her recipes to viewers watching her food videos. Recently, she gained a lot of attention from her TikTok videos ranging from cooking, food prepping, and lifestyle videos. 

Emily Mariko is a 29-year-old influencer who is half-Japanese and half-American. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, her whole life. She went to Columbia University and now is a full-time influencer, popular on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. 

Her simplistic yet straightforward cooking style appeals to many, as she shows exactly what she eats without trying to look a certain way. Many influencers nowadays only show healthy meal after meal, and this type of mindset of only seeing others eating the healthiest of foods can be detrimental for viewers. However, Mariko is simple and classy, using ingredients like white rice and mayo in her most popular recipe for her salmon-rice bowl, which she says she eats at least once a week. Many people think it’s refreshing to watch someone who shows themselves eating leftovers, and how things may operate behind cameras. 

“I think she’s a really cool influencer because she’s different from others, and her recipes are unique,” freshman Vania Ahmadi said. “It’s refreshing to watch someone be authentic. I think we should have more influencers like her.”

Not only does she show her cooking and her recipes, but she creates food prep videos at the start of every week on Sundays. The videos feature the crisp sound of her knives cutting carrots, popping on lid containers, and pumping her vegetable dryer to get rid of excess water. These tasks may seem ordinary in real life, but in Mariko’s world, they come to life and have an interesting feel to them. Viewers enjoy listening to autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) in her videos because they’re relaxing.

Mariko’s most famous videos are of her salmon-rice bowls, which are made from leftovers and two sauces. The recipe is insanely easy to make and is full of flavor and healthy fats. To start, use a fork to shred up leftover salmon and add that to a plate with leftover rice on top. Add an ice cube to the center of the rice, take parchment paper, and place it on top to put into a microwave. Take off the parchment paper and ice after heating up and mix in Japanese Kewpie Mayo and Sriracha sauce. Top it off with avocado and kimchi, and use seaweed to wrap the rice! 

Clearly, Mariko’s recipe isn’t anywhere close to the diet culture and healthy push that influencers like to show. Mariko is all about feeding your body whole foods and eating what you want in moderation. She says on her YouTube channel that her content is about “looking and feeling your best”. Hopefully, in the future, influencers can be more like Mariko.