Kate, with gf frangipane tarts
Today I had the privilege of interviewing Kate Baird from ‘Kate’s Cuisine’. Kate, a qualified chef has been in the catering business for seven years (or more if you count her many years catering for friends’ events). Her high-end catering has become a hit with clients – both corporate and personal, and it’s her commitment to providing quality, tasty, well-presented food for regular folk, as well as us allergy-folk that really impresses.
It’s a freezing cold wintery day in Hamilton, and I’ve popped round to Kate’s place to check out what’s been happening in her commercial kitchen. Kate’s face lights up as we step into the kitchen, and you can tell just by looking at her that this is where all the magic happens.
Today’s a day off for Kate, and the oven is firmly off, though I have a feeling it won’t stay off all day.
Kate says that cooking has always been part or her life, something she’s enjoyed since childhood “I’ve cooked since I was allowed in the kitchen … I remember mixing up sugar, flour and butter and then licking away at the beaters.”
Cooking continued to be a big part of her life as Kate stayed home and raised her five children, while her husband Mike went out to work. When her youngest was seven, Kate decided to study Cookery at Wintec. “Studying took me from being a mum who cooks, to being a chef” she said “It was time to do something for me, and it had to be with food … I knew that I needed the qualification.”
A few years after completing her studies, Kate was diagnosed with coeliac disease, a diagnosis, she said that really made her aware of the need to provide tasty food for people with food allergies. “Allergy-free people shouldn’t be parked in the corner with a lettuce leaf. Flavour is very important regardless of whether you’re a coeliac [or have other food allergies].” Says Kate “Before [I was diagnosed], I would have been like ‘pffft’ when someone said they needed gluten-free food.” Kate laughs and says her advice now to chefs on allergy-free cooking would be “to take each person seriously, and to eat the food yourself so you can tell if it really measures up against the non-allergy safe food.”
Regardless of whether the food is allergy-free or not, Kate says her approach to cooking is about “food that lifts the spirits, rather than just feeding people.”
Since completing her study in 2009 Kate has successfully grown her business, catering for a wide range of events, from weddings, to corporate functions and parties. Her menus include a huge array of fine food with vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options in fact Kate says she can cater for just about any dietary requirement, given ‘time and information’.
If you’re not on an allergy-free diet yourself, you needn’t worry about how tasty her catering is either, because Kate has a team of people working in her kitchen who sample all her recipes. Kate’s family also play a role in sampling new concoctions – her daughter Monique who called in mid-interview confirmed that it was no hardship to be called upon to try out one of her mum’s latest creations.
And finally, I asked Kate what her favourite item to cook is “Anything with chocolate in it” (you should see Kate’s grin as she says the word ‘chocolate’).
Check out Kate’s Cuisine at
, email Kate at
or phone her on 07 929 4769.