Photo of Case Western Reserve University student Winston Li wearing a cooking apron at a campus event

Spartan Showcase: Winston Li

Year: Second year
Major: Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism

Photo of Case Western Reserve University student Winston Li wearing a cooking apron at a campus event

Many college students have a few shared memories from spring 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began: long hours spent inside with roommates or family members, endless Zoom calls and virtual classes, and an unexpected amount of free time. For Winston Li, it was an opportunity to cultivate one of his earliest interests: cooking. 

Li credits his mother for introducing him to cooking at a young age, but his interest in cooking blossomed during the initial lockdown. As a nutritional biochemistry and metabolism student, Li became particularly fascinated with the nutritional aspects of food—he remembers spending hours researching recipes and nutritional information online in order to stay fit.

He soon became intrigued with the idea of baking bread, which wasn’t an instant success.

“The first loaf (I made) … was a brick, essentially,” Li said. “But it tasted so good, so fresh and aromatic that it motivated me to keep going.”

Case Western Reserve University student Winston Li standing outside next to a tree

When Li returned to campus for his sophomore year, his love for cooking came with him. He turned his suite’s kitchen into a bakery as he experimented with different types of bread—from thick, artisanal loaves to sandwich-style slices. He’s since expanded his hobby to include baked goods and more, currently favoring lemon bars because of their unique flavor and flaky crust.

Li has found a way to share his passion for baking as president of the Case Cooking Club, an organization that allows students to celebrate and share their cultural backgrounds through cooking. He is also a member of Case for Sight, CWRU’s pre-ophthalmology organization, and he hopes to pursue a career in ophthalmology/optometry. 

“(Ophthalmology) is not terribly closely related to nutrition, but I find it fascinating how many detailed components are in the eye—and how they all come together to provide vision,” Li said. “Becoming an ophthalmologist would allow me to help others repair their eyesight and educate them on better habits.”