august foodie profile: kat osbourn
as you’ll know, this year i want to make space on my blog to explore the huge range of food-related careers that exist and how they affect the way that people cook and eat.
this month we’re hearing from kat osbourn, who lives and works in london. she has worked in restaurants and spent over seven years teaching cookery at leiths school of food and wine.
1. what is your food job?
i have a number of things on the go - private teaching for people who want to learn to cook; food consultancy for a new restaurant where i am helping write and hone the menu; i also work part-time for a lady who writes cookery books - i develop and test recipes for the books and her supermarket range of products.
2. what are the best and worst bits of it?
the best is diversity of projects – it’s nice to do new stuff. the worst is that if i don’t have work, i don’t get paid!
3. how would you sum up your approach to food?
i am obsessed by eating. if i don’t know where my next meal is coming from i get stressed, so i’m always planning what to eat next. my cooking style is about food that is quick and easy to produce, reasonably healthy and involves avocados whenever possible.
4. has your job affected how you cook and eat?
writing recipes for cookery books means i think more about the quantity of food i am cooking and i pay more attention to how much of each ingredient i add. i’m also cooking a more diverse range of food.
5. what is your most useful kitchen utensil?
my lovely 6” knife. and my spatula.
6. what’s your usual stand-by recipe?
pasta with spinach and goats cheese. i usually add pesto and olives too. these are things i always have in the fridge so it’s the dish i make when i can’t think of anything else.
7. which food says “home” to you?
it’s not a particular food as what i cook varies so much. however, once my baby is asleep and my husband is at home, it’s great to cook something with a glass of wine in hand, as we chat and catch up on each other’s day.
8. do you have a guilty pleasure?
salt and vinegar pringles. stacked high and shoved into my mouth sideways. injuries have resulted from this!
9. do you use a list when you’re food shopping?
10. how tidy is your kitchen?
it’s very tidy – i hate mess. my idea of a good meal is one where everything has been washed up before we sit down.
11. what inspired your love of food?
my parents have always been into cooking and eating well. i remember our holidays in france when i was a child - we used to eat out a lot and as children we always ate things from the main menu. i remember eating moules mariniere when i was about eight. i also used to list everything we ate in my diary and score it out of ten.
12. what is the first thing you remember cooking?
13. what is your top cooking tip?
be organised. and if you’re doing anything complicated, write a list of everything that needs doing, in the right order, so you don’t forget anything.
14. what is your signature dish?
my husband always asks me to make bruschetta: brush slices of ciabatta with olive oil and garlic then bake them. top them with a salsa made from red onions, lots of tomato, avocado, black olives, loads of basil, a bit of balsamic and mozzarella.
15. what’s your worst cooking disaster?
i remember making something when i was at school which included eggs, tomatoes, marmite and bread. neither my parents nor the cat managed to eat it which was how i knew it was really bad!
16. do you have any food heroes?
i really like hugh fearnley-whittingstall’s approach to ingredients – local, sustainable and ethical. he is completely passionate about what he does and and this is reflected in his writing, which i love.
17. what annoys you about food culture in britain?
the ready-meal revolution. people are so reliant on their microwaves and don’t know how to cook as a result.
18. do you prefer eating in or eating out?
i love both.
19. what is the perfect foodie gift?
any form of cook book.
20. what’s your unfulfilled foodie ambition?
i’d love to own a tea shop, serving homemade soups and sandwiches at lunchtime followed by delicious afternoon teas. i’d be able to go home around 5pm.