Last week, I wrote about virtual cooking chef / teacher, Kate, and the classes she offers online. I love her so much and her background is so fascinating that I wanted to share more about her with you! (And don’t you just love reading and finding out more about people — people are so fascinating!) Read below to find out the questions and answer session with Kate! And thank you, Kate!!! (Please note: all pictures are taken from Kate’s instagram page).
1. How did you discover that cooking was your passion / career path?
I have always loved to eat and cook, and it has always been a central part in my life, however I think the moment I realized this is what I was supposed to be doing was right about the time I moved to NYC. I lived in a janky railroad apartment on the UES and I was about to host my first dinner party. Even though there was no AC (it was August and my apartment was a 5th floor walk up) and I was using my coffee table as a dining room table, I was so excited. From working out the menu, to hearing my guests say “OMG, you made this!?”, there was something magical about the whole thing. The next day I remember thinking “Hmm…I wonder if I could do this for a living?” and I haven’t looked back since.
2. Who is the biggest cooking inspiration in your life?
My parents were always great cooks, but I have to give this one to my grandmother, Mimi. She is that quintessential Italian-American grandma who would bring no less than 4 homemade pies to Easter and would give you two more scoops of pasta before you even finished the first. Often on Sunday’s after church, we’d go to her house for dinner (at 2pm) and everything she made always seemed so effortless, even though I now know how hard she worked. She had a way of making everyday ingredients become something really special. I still crave her spaghetti and meatballs and can’t quite figure out what mine is missing that hers had. I might never figure it out, but you can bet I will continue to try every tomato sauce recipe until I figure it out.
3. What is your favorite food to cook?
Thai food is so inspiring to me. I love how the flavors just punch you in the mouth. It can be so sour and then so sweet and then all of a sudden so spicy! It is amazing! The use a ton of cool cooking methods and ingredients that are unfamiliar to me. It is always an adventure from the grocery store to the cooking process when I make Thai food and I love it.
4. What is your least favorite food to cook / or least favorite part of the cooking process?
I love cooking anything, especially if its for someone else. However I really dislike doing the dishes. I try my best to clean as I go because when I sit down with a yummy meal, the last thing I want to do is get up and wash dishes after. I usually throw on a podcast to help me stay motivated to just get them done.
5. What was your most memorable meal?
My wife took my to this cooking school in Brooklyn for my 30th birthday. When we pulled up I thought the surprise was that her and I were taking a cooking class there. When we walked into the room where the class was, all my friends and family were waiting for us! She invited my parents and siblings and flew in my best friend from California. We spent the first part of the night making food together and the second part eating and celebrating. It was a perfect night.
6. Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Oh gosh…this is so hard. I have to say I am obsessed with the annual Food & Wine cookbooks. It is basically every single recipe found in their magazines from the entire year. Yes, I get the magazines but something about the way the books are written, and the fact that there are so many recipes, I could look at one book for hours. I have been collecting them and so far I have every year dating back to 2010! And now I feel a bit dorky, but I will own it because I just love them so much.
7. How has the transition been from working in restaurants to zoom cooking classes?
Before I went to culinary school, I was a preschool teacher, personal trainer, and soccer coach, so teaching has always been a passion of mine. I learned so much working in restaurants about cooking but honestly, transitioning to teaching online cooking classes has been amazing and so enjoyable. I can happily say, I love my job.
8. What do you do with all the food you cook for all your classes?
My wife and I just moved to Denver during the pandemic, so while I would love to say we give it to friends, we don’t really have many out here yet. Haha! Often I make a half batch of the meals during virtual classes, but I still freeze a lot of things. Let’s just say if there’s a zombie apocalypse, head to my house. I can probably feed a family of four for a year before running out.
9. What have you found is the most loved food that people want to cook?
Fresh pasta, sushi, and pizza dough*.
*People always want to make pizza but never want to make a dough 2-3 days before, and then they wonder why their pizza dough is mediocre. People need to stop trying to make good, 1-hr pizza dough. It just isn’t happening.
10. Baking or cooking? Why?
COOKING! Hands down. I am way too ADHD for baking. Too many precise measurements, and often too much waiting. I love tasting and adjusting as I go and you don’t get to do that as much when you are baking. That being said, I enjoy baking bread, but probably mostly because I love eating bread…