A visit to Kate’s kitchen

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

www.katescuisine.co.nz

,
email Kate at

kate@katescuisine.co.nz

or phone her on 07 929 4769.

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