October 11, 2021
“I TRULY BELIEVE THAT THE KITCHEN IS MAGIC…” Passionate foodie Kate Marshall has just published her first book Your Magical Kitchen. Here, she tells SO magazine all about the special ingredients that make it an indispensable manual for anyone looking to expand their repertoire of recipes.
So Kate, let’s start by telling you how you got into cooking?
The kitchen was a creative outlet for my mother. Dad was in the army and therefore left a lot. I was an only child, so mom and I spent a lot of time together in the kitchen. She was the main course and I was the dessert!
Have you always liked to make food from scratch?
I grew up in a community where cooking from scratch was the default rule. It never occurred to us to buy a ready-made or take-out meal. Nowadays I have the impression that people think that if you can cook from scratch you are automatically a great cook. But I don’t think that’s true. I think you have to learn to cook to cook from scratch. I didn’t find it to be a totally joyless effort at first …
What inspires your kitchen: the people, the places, the flavors, the seasonal ingredients – or a combination of all of these?
Places! I have been fortunate enough to travel the world (mainly for work, but also for fun) so I like to try different cuisines and their origins. I’m also a huge fan of fusion food – where you mash two cuisines together – like Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) and Mod Oz (Mediterranean-Asian) – which is actually easier than it looks!
Are you a full time cook or do you have another career as well?
I have always cooked almost daily for what some would call “restaurant quality” food. This means that I am in a recurring cycle of buying fresh food and food, cooking ahead, preparing food, marinating, etc. You have to be super efficient when cooking like this (which was the seed of the book’s Nine Steps), especially if you’re juggling an adult job! My career has covered media and government (with a short stint at the helm of a small business) and now that the book is out I can’t wait for my next adventure!
What made you want to publish your personal culinary philosophy to share with others?
The ethos (and later the book) did not emerge in a studied and linear fashion. It was a response to my own frustrations and failures in learning to cook and how to cook well. I was the reader who cares about food and cooking and can follow a generic recipe, but I couldn’t make the dishes he wanted to make, nor expand his culinary horizons. I was also the reader whose kitchen was far from organized. I was missing essential ingredients, foods that had passed their best before date, and too few foods that went together. I wrote the book for people like me in their twenties and thirties, for whom all the kitchen pieces are not yet in place.
Why did you choose to call the book Your Magic Kitchen?
Two reasons. First of all, I really think cooking is magic. Second, I could have called it My Magic Kitchen or In My Kitchen, but neither would have been the book I wanted to write. What I wanted to write was a book that took the reader on a personalized journey – hence, your, in the title.
What do you think is different in your book compared to those by Jamie Oliver et al?
It’s a very different type of book from our national culinary treasures! It’s more like a guide for shopping, eating and cooking. Think of it as a primer. Once you have the basics at your fingertips, you can walk around anywhere. Because we live in an image-based world, the book has plenty of visuals and graphics to make the journey easier for you, including a bunch of recipes that connect to the Nine Steps.
What do you like the most about publishing your book?
Many people have helped me to become a reasonably decent cook. From those first years of working in professional kitchens, through ultra-foodie friends, to weekend cooking classes, I have become better, happier and more joyful in my kitchen. Although the book was almost beyond my life, I wanted to pay for it for the next generation of cooks who also might not feel so confident in their cooking. If just one person discovered something new, it would be a great day.
Your Magical Kitchen is published by Meze and priced at £ 20. For more information visit mezepublishing.co.uk or visit @yourmagical kitchen on Instagram