Tastemaker: Katie Chudy of The Small Boston Kitchen
I’m always amazed at how photographers can make food look so pretty. It’s such an art! I’ve been a longtime follower of Katie Chudy and her blog, The Small Boston Kitchen. She’s a girl on a mission – with a popular blog, a podcast series, a catering company she co-owns with her husband (also a chef!) called The Skinny Beet, and a soon-to-be book that will hit the shelves this summer. We caught up with Katie to learn about her favorite local restaurants, what items she can’t live without, and what it’s like to work so closely with her husband.
So, tell us – how do you have time for it all? Between writing a cookbook (and photographing all the delicious recipes), you blog, write for Eater Boston, run a podcast, and own a personal personal chef and catering company, The Skinny Beet, with your husband Richard Chudy. Wow!
We tend to be pretty busy and on the go a lot, but I love what I do so it really doesn’t feel like work. Everyday is exciting and that excitement is so energizing and motivating. That’s not to say that it doesn’t get tiring sometimes. It definitely does, but I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love for a living and the fact that I get to do it with who I love makes it all so rewarding. We are lucky, we get to have a lot of fun with what we do and when we feel a little overworked, we’ll take a half a day off or so with no phones or email and we’ll go off and do something fun, just to unplug and unwind a bit.
Your husband is also writing a cookbook and authors a blog devoted to burgers called Boston Burger Blog. On a normal night, who can be found cooking dinner? Do you and Richard share a similar palate? What is it like working with your partner?
I’d say it’s a pretty fair split on who does the cooking at home and yes, we have very similar palates which is really helpful in so many ways. We also think about food similarly which is I think what drew us to working together in the first place. Because Richard and I worked together before we started dating, it’s all we’ve known and it’s been wonderful. We work so well together and it’s so great to have someone to talk about things so in depth with who totally gets it in every way. He’s my biggest supporter and he’s always pushing me to step out of my comfort zone and I do the same for him. He’s a tremendous source of inspiration for me and I love working with him. Also, because there is just so much to learn in the world of food, we like to challenge each other in new ways, which makes things extra fun. We play what we call, “the countries game” where we’ll take turns researching an area of the world that we may not be as familiar with and then we’ll make a three course meal based off of the research. It really helps to bring a lot of inspiration to our cooking because there are just so many flavors and combinations of those flavors out there in the world.
If you were stranded on an island, and could only bring three things, what would they be? Bonus question: if you could only bring materials for three meals, what would those three meals be?
I would bring coffee, cheese, and books. Let me bring my husband and toss in some wine and that’s an island that I’d happily be stranded on.
Assuming that I have all equipment, etc., I’d want to bring the ingredients to make tacos, pizza and lasagna. You know, all of the healthy stuff…
Probably a very difficult question, but, could you please share a few of your favorite local restaurants?
Oh man, this is a tough question because there’s so many great spots! Lately I’ve been cooking a lot more at home and eating out less but some of my standbys are East by Northeast, Alden and Harlow, Giulia, El Amigo Taqueria, Seta’s Cafe, Moody’s, and the brunch at Commonwealth is one of my favorites.
Favorite season to eat in New England?
Another tricky question because they are all so good for different reasons. Even winter because then you have an excuse to stay inside all day and make some good old fashioned comfort food. I think that the best time of year to eat in New England is that time right between summer and fall when pretty much everything is in season, especially tomatoes, which I personally love and have such a short season here.
How do you stay inspired? Do you have any food-related (or just generally speaking) mentors? How do you continue to craft and develop interesting recipes?
I find inspiration in a lot of places. In my job for Eater, I get to meet and talk with a lot of very talented people that are doing some really amazing things so I draw a lot of inspiration off my conversations with people. I also get inspired by the fact that there is just so much to learn about food and fortunately we live in a time where there’s a lot of information widely available. We have quite an extensive cookbook collection at home and we subscribe to all of the food magazines. I am also an avid reader too so I read a lot of food memoirs which inspire me a lot as well.
As we look ahead to 2015, what are your trend predictions for the local food scene?
Locally, there are just so many restaurants that are opening up and it’s great to see that constant influx of newness to the dining scene. I don’t feel like there’s going to much by way of groundbreaking trends but I have noticed, there’s been more of a move towards making even more things in-house, which is really great to see chefs showcasing their skills in new ways. I think that we’re in the middle of reverting back to the old ways of doing things but modernizing it all just a bit to fit into todays times. I wouldn’t necessarily call this a trend but I also think that we’re getting more used to being thoughtful about where we source our food and the showiness of sourcing locally is starting to fade and it’s just becoming a normal thing.
If you find yourself with a free day, what do you do?
Photo credit: Katie Chudy