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Talking Food and Family With Katie Lee

Photo: Courtesy of Erica Hampton

Katie Lee is a cookbook author and a TV co-host on The Food Network. How has food influenced her personal and family life?

What jumpstarted your career in the food industry? What was your first experience in this career like?

I was always into food when I was growing up, but I didn’t think of it as a career option until I was in my junior year of college. I was a journalism major and I loved reading food magazines and books. I was working in restaurants and started taking food science; I decided I wanted to be a food writer. After I graduated, I moved to New York, got a job in a fish market, and started a food blog with a friend. Opportunities grew from that. 

Who do you look up to in the food industry and how have they impacted your cooking style?

Bobby Flay has been a mentor of sorts for me throughout my career. He is the OG of the Food Network. I really admire all that he has accomplished. I feel fortunate to call him a friend and ask him questions or for advice. We have had many fun times in the kitchen cooking together. I always learn something new from him.  

As a new mother, why is family time in the kitchen so vital?

Time in the kitchen, both cooking and around the table, was such an important part of my childhood. I am so beyond excited to create new memories with our little one. Food brings the family together. My husband and I can’t wait to share our passion with our daughter. We always talk about how excited we are to watch her try new foods, try all of the things we will cook with her, and see all the places we will travel to in the future. 

How should a family go about finding food substitutes when dealing with an allergy?

First of all, talk to your doctor about requirements, then start researching alternatives. There will be some trial and error for finding substitutes that please the palate. Some people love almond milk, some love oat milk. You just have to try different options and find what works for your tastebuds. There are so many great cookbooks and blogs out there nowadays with great, inventive ideas.  

What do you eat in a day, starting with the most important meal — breakfast?

I start each day with a big bowl of fruit, either as a frozen smoothie bowl or fresh with some yogurt and granola. I like to start with all of those antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. For lunch, I almost always have a big salad so I can load up on all my veggies. I will top it with some canned salmon or boiled eggs for protein. For dinner, I like to make pastas, stir-fries, or experiment with new recipe ideas.

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