Chef bakes delicious strawberry cheesecake pie

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Marie Antoinette’s famous dictum, “let them eat cake,” no longer defines the fine line between the rich and the poor. Today, a rich cake makes an affordable special occasion of any meal for any person of any class.

Senior computer science major and at-home chef Justin Patterson might not have learned to bake delicious cakes if costs barred him from doing so. His go-to recipe is a hearty cheesecake with a touch of passion.

Patterson comes from a rich tradition of home-cooked, southern meals. He describes the fact that, even though his family did not have a vast disposable income, he always had a warm meal waiting for him at the table.

“Growing up, my family didn’t have all the money in the world. But the important things were there, especially food,” Patterson says.

Patterson holds an associates degree in biology from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. He was inspired to be a surgeon for two reasons: the pay and the calming feeling he gets from working with his hands, even on an operating table. When he transferred to St. Mary’s, however, he changed his major to computer science because his teachers encouraged him and he was unhappy with the biology program.

“I love the teachers at St. Mary’s,” Patterson says. “I just feel like the business program is too privileged and other programs suffer from that.”

Working with his hands is what interests Patterson in cooking. His signature dish is a recipe for ragu spaghetti that takes four hours to cook. But, when he’s feeling passionate or adventurous, he enjoys baking. One such occasion prompted him to try out a recipe for a strawberry-topped cheesecake.

“I’ve baked cheesecake before, but I’ve only used blueberries as a topping,” Patterson says. “This recipe was designed for my girlfriend. Cooking it was a timely decision … I wanted to make her birthday special and a store-bought cake just wouldn’t do that. She loves cheesecake and strawberries, so I put two and two together and decided strawberry cheesecake would be the perfect birthday cake solution!”

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