hello Wednesday people. We do hope you are well.
Today we have a lovely interview for you with Kate McCullough … sure to get your tummy rumbling!
I’m a freelance food-stylist, recipe writer and recipe tester, born in Dublin, and living in London. I had no training or qualifications in cooking, and happened upon the job by accident. I’ve never looked back. I cook food and make it look pretty for cookbooks and magazines, and often style the props too. I write recipes, and test other recipes to make sure they work before they get published. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
How and where are you today?
I’m very well, thanks very much. It’s a lovely sunny morning and I’m at my nice big kitchen table with my third mug of tea of the day, a dog on my knee and a big jug of daffodils. All is well.
It’s been pretty long and winding. I’ve always been hopelessly directionless in life as far as a career is concerned, so I dabbled with engineering and law before realising that I could play in a kitchen and get paid for it. Dreamy. I had no idea – until I started doing it – that this job existed, so it certainly wasn’t a destination I was aiming for. I’m glad I got here though! I’ve been really lucky to have support and encouragement along the way when I needed it. This isn’t a money business, but I’m slowly starting to hold my own… I’m looking forward to seeing where I’ll end up next.
Do you have a process to ensure you are in the right frame of mind to create?
Nope. I wish I did! I keep thinking I would create and achieve so much more if I was more organised and methodical about it. Instead I just wait for inspiration to hit me while I watch rubbish on tv or walk the dog or drink more tea. I do try to eat at new places and try new things and read blogs, and my cookbook shelves are groaning. All of these things get me thinking about new recipes to try, or flavour combinations that work or don’t work, or pictures that are beautiful and all that jazz. Today I’m arranging delivery of a nice old desk I won on eBay yesterday. I’m convinced it’ll all come together when I have a desk. I’ll write more recipes, and do more research, and finally start that blog I keep meaning to write….
I’m very much a home cook. You won’t find me doing any cheffy foams or emulsions or mousses. I believe in a good hearty plateful of tasty food that makes you feel good, and I think that comes from my mum’s approach to food and cooking, and my experience of family dinners. She taught me to cook from a very young age and it was always about simple, tasty food that makes people happy. That’s what I still try to aim for now. Food is a really easy way to make people feel good, and to show a little love to the people you care about, and I love that. I’m a disgrace to my Irish culture – I hardly ever cook potatoes. I can still make a mean roastie though.
What does beauty mean to you?
I guess it comes back to the feeling good thing again. Or even just feeling something. Beautiful things or places or tastes or sounds are those that make you feel happy or nostalgic or inspired or wistful. My doglet coming back from her morning sniff around the garden with a snout covered in dew drops isn’t going to change the world or cure illnesses, but it sure makes me smile. People striving to be the best they can be, and achieving it, always brings tears to my eyes. I’m a mess during the Olympics! Good friends, a bottle of vino and chat and laughter around a dinner table is pretty beautiful to me. Things that remind you that you’re alive, and that life isn’t just a trudge from one job to the next, or one bill to the next, or one day to the next, are beautiful. And sleep. A good night’s sleep is a beautiful thing.
God knows. I think I’d grown out of my pilot phase by then. Maybe I wanted to be a housewife then. I’m kind of a housewife now, and if I could time travel I’d go back and tell myself to get some better dreams!
What advice have you received that you want everyone to benefit from?
You’ll find your way. It’s hard to believe it sometimes, and it’s highly impractical advice, but it’s held true for me.
(all food photos taken by Sam Stowell)
Thank you so very much Kate, we are so happy you have you in the family … Especially if it means you will cook us delicious food!!
handsome and pretty