Cal student mixes food and science in creating book ‘Bakers in Lab Coats’

Senior Tanya Gupta publishes new book, interactive website to help students improve nutrition


Courtesy of Tanya Gupta

Cal High senior Tanya Gupta recently published her nutrition book, “Bakers in Lab Coats: Health Science Meets Nutritious Desserts”.

Hannah Shariff, Staff Writer

While many students were binge-watching baking shows during quarantine, Cal High senior Tanya Gupta was developing enough skills to be on one herself. 

But that’s not all. Gupta dedicated about two years of extensive research on the subject of food science, publishing a book and cultivating an interactive website teaching students the importance of reading food labels to have a nutritious diet.

Gupta, 17, published earlier this year a nutritionist book called “Bakers in Lab Coats: Health Science Meets Nutritious Desserts”. The book is available on Amazon Kindle, and 20 percent of profits from it are donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The book teaches the health benefits behind food from a scientific perspective and shares recipes separated into categories, including monk fruit sweetener, lemons, matcha, and almonds. Each category has about three recipes. 

Gupta’s inspiration for the book began with her family because of a history of health-related issues and wanting to help create a better food palette at home. The recipes included a lot of trial and error because of the substitutes she was working with. Gupta also interned with nutritionist Kathryn Chess, who encouraged publishing the book.

Tanya has ‘special sauce!’ It’s a mix of curiosity and tenacity and this is just what the human population needs to keep our bodies functioning like well-oiled machines,” Chess said. “Having Tanya as my intern feels like I have a Fairy Godmother that’s just an email away.”

Although Gupta’s favorite hobby is baking, she really became interested in the subject of nutrition after taking AP Chemistry and Honors Human Body Systems. She began writing her book in August 2020 and finished it last February.

“It was more of a break from the stressful environment,” Gupta said of the book writing experience. “I wanted to try and make it as fun as possible.” 

Gupta said she had the most fun designing the book with colorful artwork and informational diagrams. She took the project one step further by creating an interactive website at, which can also be viewed on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District’s website under “Menus & Nutrition” in the “Child Nutrition” category.

Gupta said it was an extensive process to get her story and site featured on the district’s website.

“I began with speaking to my counselor who turned me to the superintendent who sent me to the district director of the curriculum,” Gupta said. “I then attended the district meetings and met with the district’s child nutritionist who reviewed it and worked with me, then approved for it to be put up.”  

Gupta made sure that when creating her website it was interactive and easy to view. The website helps teach students the importance of reading nutrition labels and what they mean. She breaks down the different components of a label and explains what to look for when making healthy decisions. 

Gupta’s father, Sameer Gupta, said that he and his wife are extremely proud that their daughter was able to pursue her academic and non-academic passions and create great resources to help the community. 

“She amazes us every day with her creativity, hard work, and to see her grow as a responsible and fine human being,” he wrote in an email.

In the future, Gupta hopes to study pre-med. She believes her experience with this book has been a good start for her study in medicine.

“Food science is a good gateway because it gives a holistic way of looking at medicine,” she said. 

Although she isn’t going into food science, Tanya plans to create more books in the future and maybe create a scientific journal after she graduates. 

“It’s important for students to know the science behind it,” Gupta said, “rather than a step-by-step list that we are often taught in school.”