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KATIE LEE: GOES WITH THE FLOW

INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
WRITER: KATINA GOULAKOS

Despite her supermodel appearance and effortless glamour Katie Lee is one of the most disarming subjects we have yet to cover at Imagista. Katie possesses a certain “pureness” about her, which pairs perfectly with her adorable southern charm. When asked if she sees herself as a “chef” or as a “cook” she responds that she sees herself as a “home cook”, which really says it all.

Photographer Tina Turbow describes her in the following way: “Katie is just really pleasant to be around. She’s super chill and open too. I also found her incredibly sexy and sensual which makes sense considering both her love of food and her approach to cooking.”

Imagista: How did you get into cooking?

Katie: I grew up in my grandmother’s kitchen, she was my babysitter and most of my memories with her consist of cooking. When I got to college cooking became a bigger part of a pop culture. As a journalism major I found inspiration in magazines like Gourmet and Bon Appetit. My dream was to write a column in a magazine, I really never imagined I would end up with this career.

Growing up I didn’t really think of cooking as a profession I would want to pursue because I assumed I had to be confined to being a chef at a restaurant. However, in college my horizons were broadened and I began to envision myself as part of the culinary world.

Imagista: What was your first break in the industry?

Katie: Twelve years ago, before blogs were even cool, a friend and I began a food blog. From there the doors kept opening up for me in the industry and it hasn’t stopped since.

Imagista: Do you consider yourself a chef or a cook?

Katie: I consider myself a home cook. I never went to culinary school or had any real professional training and I don’t want to claim to be something I am not. My recipes are simple; simple meals for people who do not have training in the kitchen.

Imagista: Let’s say you are having a dinner party for a couple friends in the summer, what would you serve?

Katie: There are so many things I could make, however I like to stick to a certain formula. I always serve some sort of protein and I love striped bass. Living in the Hamptons I have access to delicious fresh fish and the striped bass here is to die for. I would roast the fish in the oven, chop up some cherry tomatoes, olives, lemon zest, garlic and capers. I would then prepare a green salad with homemade vinaigrette.

I also like to add some sort of grain, which I usually prepare ahead of time like a pesto pasta salad for example. For desert I would make an Angel food cake and serve it with some delicious fresh fruits or maybe I would make ice cream sandwiches, again both of these can be made in advance.

I try and do as much prep before my guests arrive so that I can enjoy spending time with them. I am a social girl and as much as I love being in the kitchen I don’t want to be cooking all night- I want to be able to sit down and enjoy a drink and a meal my friends.

Imagista: Do you like to drink? Are you a wine drinker?

Katie: I love rosé, especially in the summertime- I feel like it should just be called adult Kool-Aid!

Imagista: If you could eat one type of food for the rest of your life what would it be?

Katie: That’s an easy one, Italian! Pastas, pizzas antipasti, tiramisu, I love it all.  Just the way the Italians grill a piece of fish with olive oil is incredible and I admire the simplicity and beauty behind every dish. I am actually going to Rome tomorrow so I am looking forward to eating!

Imagista: If you weren’t in the food industry, what would you do?

Katie: A lot of people would assume I would be a journalist but actually I think I would be a facialist – there is something extremely satisfying about popping pimples, maybe I’m a little weird I don’t know but that is what I would probably be doing if I wasn’t living this life (laughs).

Imagista: In the world of food, who do you admire most and why?

Katie: I would have to say Barefoot Contessa. I really admire her incredible books and recipes; she has been a huge inspiration to me. I had to honor of going to her beautiful home for lunch and she is truly a fascinating woman as well as a huge influence on the culinary world.

CONTRIBUTORS

Photographer: Tina Turnbow
Stylist: Wendy Mcnett
Chef: Katie Lee

Makeup: Tina Turnbow
Hair: Marc Mena
Retouching: Mori Arany