Life is a culmination of events that shapes who we are and who we become.
My love of food has been a long, adventurous and sometimes harrowing journey. Beginning many years ago when I was chasing dreams never to be caught – and looking in every corner of life for something that I could always find around the table.
My earliest table memories were those spent at a round, white formica table with silver trim and mismatched chairs that sat at the far end of my grandparents bright green galley kitchen. I could always find Grandpa sitting on the left side of that old table with his favorite coffee mug in hand. Grandpa had twinkly eyes, a brown bald head and the sweetest smile. He wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy but he never missed a moment to give me a smile – which always warmed my heart. I’d pull up a chair around the table and sit with Gramps while he sipped his coffee. We’d talk about history and the year 1901 (the year he was born), Gramps life before family and all the wild events he experienced and then we would eventually end up on his favorite subject, hamburgers. He’d joke and make me laugh and I felt safe and loved.
Mary Bernice, my Grandmother, would eventually make it into the kitchen to start supper. She was a Southern gal who could load a table with an impressive assortment of food. Because Gramps loved ground beef, she served a lot of pan fried hamburgers and called them steak. She’d make a beef broth gravy to top that steak along with mashed potatoes, creamed corn and green beans with bacon. Today I recreate that meal with my version of Grandma’s steak, a Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy, my Summer Corn Gratin and Roasted Fresh Green Beans with Bacon – because who can resist green beans with bacon?
I come from a family with larger than life characters and people with big personalities. I often got lost in the shuffle, but I never lost my place at the table. There is a whole lot of life between those memories and memories I’m creating now. Life events, mishaps, tragedies and adventures all leading to where I am today. A chef, writer, photographer, mom (my most favorite job) and wife.
How did I get here? Seventeen years ago I realized anything I cooked might cause a slow and painful death. Yes, I lean a bit toward the dramatic. 😉 It was during a career hiatus and another move to a new state that I realized I hated my cooking. So in my typical fearless, I can do anything attitude, I took myself to culinary school – never dreaming I’d find a passion so intense it couldn’t be ignored. It’s been one delicious roller coaster ride ever since. Jumping into every type of culinary work I could find.
I’ve worked as a caterer, prep chef, cheese specialist, private chef (emphasis in nutritional therapy), sous chef, culinary instructor and freelance writer. I’ve had the pleasure (and honor) of working with some of the most talented Pacific Northwest Chefs, as well as brilliant Nutritionists with the IACP award winning culinary school, PCC Cooks, in Seattle, WA.
Today, I develop recipes and food related articles for several publishing companies, food brands, wineries, online lifestyle magazines and my personal recipe blog, Karista’s Kitchen. As well as the important things of course, like being a mom, wife, the family dog walker (more like dog chaser), a culinary anthropology nerd, and an outdoor and travel enthusiast. Not to mention my insatiable love of British mysteries.
I now live in the Willamette Valley where we’re fortunate to enjoy an abundance of farm fresh produce, meats, poultry and fresh Pacific seafood. One of my favorite ways to spend a day is visiting our local farms and ranches, snapping photos, and of course, bringing the farmers a home cooked meal. My meager thank you for letting me spend hours playing with the animals or picking produce.
Here at Karista’s Kitchen, you’ll always find an enticing, sometimes eclectic selection, of whole food and seasonal recipes prepared from the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. And… with a little decadence just for fun.
I wish you all good health, happy hearts and loads of love in your life around the table,
For questions about working with me, recipe development and food photography please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.