Well hello there!

I’m Natalie and I’m the professional chef, recipe developer, photographer and writer of this blog. I love nothing more than to create seasonal, well-tested, elevated everyday recipes to help busy families with even busier kids slay dinnertime!

I’m so glad you’re here!

This space is where I like to hang out to celebrate food…the touchy-feely stuff – you know, seasonality, flavors and textures, but also the nitty-gritty stuff – the science, the technique, the how-to, and let’s not forget the practical stuff – weeknight dinners, treats for school, and weekend entertaining.

It’s where my 20 years of being a professional chef and my real life at home meet!

Life is busy, I get it.  I’ve got 2 teenagers and am in the thick of it myself.  I hope this can be a place where you can come to learn and find inspiration, but also to bridge the soft side of food with the daily-grind reality of feeding our loved ones. 

After all, life is short AND you are what you eat, as they say – so let’s celebrate our days with local, beautiful and delicious food, made at home, and shared with our favorite people.

What you’ll find on this blog:

Well-Tested Recipes:
As a professional chef and recipe developer, it’s important to me create recipes that are not only well tested, but also things I cook in my own kitchen. My goal is to bring seasonal and interesting recipes to your busy family.

How-to Instruction:
As a chef and as a years-long culinary instructor, the teaching just might be my favorite part! So you can look forward to a focus on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ in step-by-step photos, video tutorials, cooking guides and even workshops – all to help boost your kitchen confidence.

A Bi-Weekly Newsletter:
I send out a regular bi-weekly newsletter with my latest recipes, resources and tips & tricks. I love chatting with my community as we learn about each other.

How my love affair with food started…

For me, it all began with a trip to a flea market with my dad in early May when I was just a young girl.  I found a paperback copy of Julia Child’s The French Chef Cookbook.  I’m not sure why I was drawn to it, but I was.  I bought it for 25¢ and gave it to my mom for Mother’s Day. 

I will never, ever, ever forget the first time my mom made Sauce Bernaise from that cookbook.  I had never tasted anything so delicious in all my life.  I think that was the magic moment for me and when my love affair with all things food and Julia Child began.

As I grew older I watched black and white episodes of The French Chef on PBS with my mom.  We loved Julia – her giant personality, her extensive cooking knowledge, and her natural ability to teach and make the most delicious French food accessible to everyone.

Fast forward many years and I was finishing graduate school in Washington D.C. and beginning my career in international finance.  I was so fortunate to be able to travel so much for work, often eating at such amazing restaurants – continuing to broaden and deepen my palate – and feed my growing interest in food.

I loved my life.  I worked long hours on interesting projects, traveled, entertained, and cooked more and more, to relax.

And then September 11th happened.  

As it turns out, my mid-life crisis came early.  Being stuck at the office until all hours of the night because the city was basically on lockdown and eventually driving past the Pentagon – life seemed so fragile.

Everything that had been lurking in the back of my head about chasing my food passion was suddenly front and center, and I couldn’t seem to rid myself of it.  Long story short, I applied to culinary school, quit my job, and never looked back, all in a matter of a few months.

Culinary school not only opened my eyes wider to the world of food, but also planted a seed in my heart for teaching.  I spent long days immersed in classic French technique and eating the most delicious food.  I, quite literally, could have stayed in culinary school for 10 years if there were a way to have made that happen – it was the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done.

Near the end of culinary school, a few students in my class were chosen to help local chefs prepare a dinner for Julia Child’s 90th birthday. 

Yep – this is where the story comes full circle

I got to work on a dinner for the ‘one and only’ – my special culinary inspiration from way back when.  Even at 90 years old, she was larger than life – gesturing, talking, and laughing.  At the meal’s conclusion, she called all of the kitchen staff out into the dining room, thanked us, and proceeded to tell stories around the table.  I will never forget that moment in my life – it was so unbelievably special.

Fast forward almost 20 years, a marriage, two kids, two dogs, a move, restaurant work, a catering business, a recreational cooking school, professional recipe development work, virtual cooking classes and team building experiences and well, here I am! 

Every day I count my lucky stars for the privilege of doing what I love most – creating memorable and delicious food experiences. 

We should all be so lucky.