ST. LOUIS – A social media influencer used his skills as a trained pastry chef to seamlessly transitioned from the kitchen to the digital world, where he now thrives as a social media manager, digital creator, and self-proclaimed “jack of all trades.” His journey is a testament to his versatility and passion for food, culture, and creativity. That journey also includes a major weight-loss transformation.

Mason Cooksey’s love for the culinary arts began at the age of four, growing up in a household where spaghetti meat sauce from a jar and Hamburger Helper were staples.

Driven by a desire for better-tasting food, Cooksey took it upon himself to improve the family meals. By the fifth grade, he was cooking family dinners.

Cooksey said he was always fascinated by food.

“It just made sense to me. By the time I was in high school, I was enrolled in a culinary program,” Cooksey said. His passion for cooking only grew.

When Cooksey was 21, he was juggling multiple roles, including executive pastry chef, kitchen manager, and social media manager.

“I couldn’t get a raise. I could get more job titles,” Cooksey said. He decided to experiment out of frustration with the lack of recognition, hoping to break into the exclusive “boys’ club.”

“I wondered if losing weight would make a difference,” he said.  

Whistleblower lawsuit alleges retaliation by Missouri House speaker

Cooksey committed to an intense regimen, hitting the gym twice daily and following a strict diet. The results were swift and dramatic—he lost 60 pounds in the first month.

Almost immediately, his efforts were rewarded with a promotion, a raise, and acceptance into the inner circle of his male colleagues.  

The transformation was not just physical but also psychological. “I realized I was being perceived differently just because I was smaller,” Cooksey said.

The newfound validation initially felt empowering, but he soon recognized that external approval was fleeting. “Their validation didn’t matter anymore. It became about how I felt and looked to myself.”  

This shift in focus helped him understand that his journey was about more than just fitting into a societal mold. The journey wasn’t smooth. After losing a significant amount of weight, Cooksey faced new challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

His diet had become restrictive; he decided to go gluten-free, and even when he attempted to add variety, his weight continued to drop.

He eventually started a pescatarian diet on a trip to Florida and that’s when he finally started to gain some muscle. COVID-19 pandemic also prompted him to reevaluate his career path.

“At my first influencer event, I had no idea who anyone was,” Cooksey said.  

He accidentally stumbled into the world of social media when he met Morgan Casey, creator of Date Ideas Things to do.

Allegiant extends seasonal service to 66 cities, adds flights from St. Louis

Cooksey said that by the next day, Casey asked him if he wanted to be a ‘doer’ for the city. That role involved attending events and creating content, which sounded like a lot of fun. That’s how he started his journey on social media.   

His content initially focused on gluten-free recipes, as his following grew, and he became known for his engaging food photography and videography. 

As his career evolved, so did his relationship with food. Cooksey, now a successful foodie with a growing social media presence, often finds himself consuming large quantities of food for his job. Balancing this with maintaining his weight has been a continuous experiment.  

“I’ve been increasing workouts and practicing intermittent fasting to manage the demands of my job without compromising my health,” he explains.  

Cooksey said that people would comment on his weight before his transition, saying things like, “Never trust a skinny chef.”

“And they were looking right at me, you know, like I was the biggest in the room,” he said. This prejudice against both ends of the weight spectrum revealed much about societal attitudes towards body image. 

Cooksey’s path to losing weight turned into a deep exploration of self-awareness and strength in the end.

“You learn so much about yourself, your eating habits, and why you eat the way you do,” he said.

In August of last year, he retired from the culinary industry to focus full-time on digital content creation. However, the allure of restaurant life soon called him back.

He recently accepted a role as a restaurant manager at Bridge Tap House in St. Louis, where he also manages social media accounts.   

“I love the freedom of roaming St. Louis, eating food, and doing events,” Cooksey said. “But I also missed the hustle and bustle of a scheduled life.” 

Check out Cooksey’s Instagram here.