A Chat with Katie Quinn AKA The Food World’s Next Star

You’ve seen epicurean extraordinaire Katie Quinn on Today Show, The Meredith Vieria Show, covering Sundance, and more, and now is your chance to get to know this amazing lady a little better.

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I met Katie way back when in the NBC Page Program, and she’s gone on to strut her stuff as a seriously inspiring self-starter, covering all things food. Her passion for the food world and drool-worthy YouTube Channel had me all kinds of curious, so I caught up with Katie to pick her brain about cooking, traveling the world, and how she made the brave decision to take her career into her own hands. Bon Appetit!

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After working for larger companies like the Today Show, Serious Eats, and NowThis News, how did you make the brave decision to go into business for yourself?

It was, indeed, a tough decision. A saying I kept in mind throughout the whole process was “Leap, and the net will appear.” I’ve found it to be outstandingly true. Here’s what happened for me: I was offered a staff position at a big network and going through the whole interview process, I completely intended on accepting the offer. Once the offer was made, though, I had a crisis: I did not have that feeling of excitement that you should really have when diving into a new position. I immediately knew why: I had to give myself a chance to make it on my own, for my own brand. It was a hard decision to make, but as soon as I made it, I knew it was the right thing. My heart was smiling. And it was time to hustle to make it work.

For many people, self-employment equals Netflix and sleeping in, but you post videos on your YouTube page twice a week, in addition to a ton of other amazing content. How do you stay on track, and what is your day to day workflow?

This question makes me laugh. For anyone who knows me personally, they know that I’m entirely too Type A for the pitfalls of self-employment to be much of an issue. Even in college, I was bordering on being the stereotypical obnoxious achiever. I think it’s probably just a personality thing. I’m a morning person, so I usually wake up with the sun. I do set a schedule for my days, which helps me organize the different projects I have and allows me keep my YouTube videos a priority–even though they are not the most profitable part of my work.

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Where does your love of food come from? What are some of the specific meals or dishes that inspired you to work with it full time?

I love this question! My love of food is inspired by the incredible variety of dishes that exists all around the world and the fascinating characters who make them. When I worked backstage at the TODAY show, I would get as excited about Thomas Keller coming on the show as other people would get about Kim Kardashian being a guest. Every morning, I hung around the TODAY kitchen set and would interview as many chefs as I could. Their stories and their passion is what wrapped me into the food world. So my love of food is less focused on a specific dish, but rather embellished by a good story, or an interesting person behind the dish.

I can’t help but notice the global feel of your recipes, which are no doubt a result of all your travels. What are some of the places you’ve traveled, and which ones have inspired your cooking the most?

Yes! Travel is SO inspiring, for so many reasons, but especially when it comes to food. Peru and China have had the greatest impact on the way I look at spices, at which parts of the animal can be eating, and at the eating ritual.

A lot of people reading are city dwellers, who maybe don’t have the time or resources to make extravagant meals. What are some staples you recommend keeping on hand to avoid a steady diet of Seamless and Chinese Food?

Lentil soup or a stew where you can just use up the variety of things in your fridge. Pasta tossed with sautéed veggies (whatever kind of veggies you like or have on hand). You can swap out the pasta for rice, quinoa, or any other grain. Put a fried egg on top–and you’re golden.

PHOTO CREDIT: Robert Caplin

In this video, you call YouTube your “metaphorical table” to gather and talk about food. If you could sit down at a real life table with three people from the food world, who would they be?

Holy moly, I love this question. I’ve never considered it before. Off the top of my head I’m going to say: Ina Garten, David Chang, Anthony Bourdain.

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Short Term 12 = Long Term Awesome

The first thing I did when I got my driver’s license was drive to the Castleton Arts movie theatre to see “Kissing Jessica Stein,” and I’ve supported independent film ever since. Movies don’t need budgets big enough to bail out small countries and a year long production schedule to be above and beyond good, and Destin Cretton’s new film “Short Term 12” is proof of that.

Set in a group home for troubled youth, “Short Term 12” tells the stories of Grace (Brie Larson) and Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), a young couple who keep the home running, and care for its young residents. Business is going as usual as it can when working with kids who come from beyond broken homes and occasionally break into frenzied fits while wearing a cape, until Grace finds out she’s unexpectedly pregnant, and a newcomer to the home named Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) makes the news an even harder pill to swallow. Pun recognized, but not intended.

Jayden brings up unresolved issues in Grace, and the drama evolves from there. I don’t want to give anything away, but it all culminates with a scene involving breaking and entering and a baseball bat that had enough suspense to make me want a whiskey ASAP.  “Short Term 12” gives a realistic view of mental health problems and an environment that is usually overly-dramatized and wrought with inaccuracies. In a post-screening Q&A, John Gallagher Jr. revealed the realism was due to heavy research and shadowing actual group home professionals.

While we’re on the subject of JGJ, his performance as Mason was beyond impressive, and I’m not just saying that as a big fan of his work. (Remember when I wrote about it here and here?) After watching “Short Term 12,” followed by a marathon of “The Newsroom,”  John… Mister Gallagher Jr… or whatever is appropriate for me to call him, got me thinking about acting in a way I never have before. Comparing Mason with Jim Harper isn’t quite like comparing apples and oranges. Both are well-intentioned, self-effacing characters who mask their insecurities with humor, however the subtle differences that JGJ (that’s what I’ll call him) brings to each makes me think that his nuanced approach is possibly way more complex than someone who plays a series of starkly different roles.

But enough of the writer trying to talk about acting… “Short Term 12” is a good investment of time, money, and a solid example of quality independent film. You should probably see it as quickly as possible. And a bonus for those of you still reading… I asked JGJ in the Q&A what he was listening to in a scene where Mason was wearing headphones, and while microphones made it impossible to listen to anything, he was pretending to jam out to The Clash.

 

 

 

 

SOUND MOTHEREffING CITY

It happened. I saw Sound City last night. My life is different now. Initial reactions are:

-Rick Springfield… What a badass! How come nobody told me about him?

-The theatre’s speakers were banging. I need a better sound system in my apartment.

-Love the “butched wig” label on Butch’s chair in Dave’s studio.

-Rick Rubin could be my Ghandi.

-MUST HAVE PAT SMEAR’S PURPLE TRINI NOW PLEASE!

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But obvi I walked away thinking about way more than that. Sound City is clearly a celebration of music and the power of what happens when people and instruments join together, however I feel the larger message is to get off your ass.

You want to start a recording studio? Get off your ass and do it.

You want to make a movie? Get off your ass and do it.

You want to write, play, and record songs? Get off your ass and do it.

There couldn’t be a better person to deliver this message than Sound City maker, Dave Grohl. He is a person who never runs away from an idea. Dave wanted to play drums, so he made a kit out of pillows and taught himself how. Dave was restless post-Nirvana, so he made the first Foo Fighters album. And finally, Dave wanted to share the story of a legendary recording studio, so he made Sound City. The interviews leading up to SC’s release are straight-up Tony Robbins-style odes to following through with your creative urges and not letting the fear of failure get in your way.

“Go to the fucking yard sale, buy a fucking guitar, start a band with your fucking friends, get in the garage and fucking suck and work on it until you fucking make great music, and become the biggest band in the world.”

-Dave Grohl (WTF podcast w/Marc Maron)

According to the film, Sound City was constantly on the verge of failing. Bankruptcy was always looming in the background and the question “what are we doing here” seemed to come up a lot. But based on the passion and ferver with which everyone at the studio worked, you’d never know it. They were there cause they wanted to make music, and a hallway that always flooded, “outdated” technology, and lack of funds weren’t going to stop them from getting off their ass and doing it. It’s like learning to play guitar with crazy-high action. You can either quit cause your fingers hurt, or you can just suck it up and press the strings fucking harder. And because Sound City never quit, we have Fleetwood Mac, Nevermind, Rage Against the Machine, Rick “my new favorite person” Springfield,” and so many more.

Even if you have no interest in music whatsoever (if that’s possible) Sound City is worth your while. It’s an inspirational film and I urge you all to get of your ass and go see it.

Eff yeah, television!

2013 has so far brought me a crazy-ass allergy attack, an all senses-numbing cold, and the stomach flu. Also, somewhere in there I threw out my back while blowing my nose. Sexy, right? Luckily my time under resulted in some major sweet abs and the watching of way too much television. And because I love you all so much, here for you now are some of the gems I found while I was laid up, curled up, and not fit for public viewing.

WARPED ROADIES (Fuse)

Warped Tour! Roadies! Behind the scenes action! All these things were promised in the millions of subway ads for Warped Roadies, and that is exactly what this kick ass Fuse reality show delivers.Viewers get to follow the crew that makes the punk rock summer institution possible and each episode covers a stop on their journey. Between the crazy storm in Toronto and the deathly heat in Vegas, this rag tag group of roadies have to fight tooth and nail to bring their emo kid audience together, while battling demons of their own. Each crew member has a checkered past that only enhances your desire for them to succeed. Also, the inside look into what it takes to make Warped Tour happen is beyond interesting. Little things like managing credentials, coordinating buses, and call times are like candy for my young producer brain. That said, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a spin off show all about stage manager Kenny, as I think his Warped Roadie experience is probs the most interesting of them all.

 

Vanderpump Rules (Bravo)

The fact that I love this show makes me worried on a deep psychiatric level. I don’t watch Housewives, I don’t know who Miss Vanderpump is, and I’m not fully convinced that any of the characters on the show worked at her restaurant Sur before filming. All that said, I was drawn into every single story line right out of the gate. There are no good guys on Vanderpump Rules, an hour-long “reality” show about a group of Maxim/GQ level hotties who spend their time working for a British lady at a Los Angeles restaurant, dating each other, and fighting when the dating doesn’t go well. It’s basically a real-life, almost R-rated version of mean girls, with Queen Bee Stassi as Regina George and Sur new-comer Scheana as Kady. Between the sequins they wear, everyone’s giant eyes, and the copious cutaways of technicolor cocktails, I wouldn’t be surprised if my infatuation with Vanderpump Rules is a result of visual hypnosis… Or maybe it just feels good to see how “the other side” lives. Either way, I’m going to keep watching.

 

GIRLS (HBO)

This one will surely be met by a collective DUH by all of you lovely readers, however I know that the reactions to this HBO comedy are very mixed. My reactions though, couldn’t be more steadfastly positive. This show is so well-written that they have conservative, Ann Taylor-wearing Marni carry a Blackberry. Every. Last. Detail. Is thought out and executed in the best way possible. I watch each episode twice just to catch them all. Hannah and co. are coming of age in a really authentic way full of bad choices, and I love how you spend a lot of time yelling “really” at the tv and being disappointed in them. That level of investment is a sign of good writing/acting/directing/producing/and every last part of Girls.  Based on the guest stars alone… Donald Glover, Miriam Tolan, John Glaser, et al, you can tell Lena has a respect for the comedy world that makes it realistic to assume she probably went to her fair share of 9:30 Asssscats. Probably getting in line at 6pm to do so. This respect makes Girls great, and she is only adding to the canon of what future Lena Dunhams will be watching.

In the end, I feel we are in a golden tv resurgence right now. There are SO MANY great shows, and I’ve never had so much to keep up with. Favs include 30 Rock, Mindy Project, New Normal, Top Chef, and New Girl, but it seems across the board, everyone’s bringing their A-Game. And hopefully, my health will follow suit.

This is music, people!

Oy yoy yoy… These tunes are like a massage to my brain.

FROM CAN TO CAN’T – DAVE GROHL, RICK NIELSEN, COREY TAYLOR, SCOTT REEDER (from the Sound City Movie Soundtrack)

 

GRACE POTTER – STARS

 

CARRIE UNDERWOOD – FIX YOU (covering Coldplay)

Met Dave Grohl this weekend…

Thanks to Saturday Night Live, I had a badass weekend. It involved a mini Paul McCartney concert, a Nirvana reunion, and a chat with the King of Rock and Roll– Mr. David Grohl.

I’m not quite sure how to spell all the high pitched shrieking reactions that are shooting through my brain right now, so I thought I’d post some pics instead. Suffice to say, Dave was the nicest and the best, took a selfie with me, and told me I’m a really good guitar player. It’s only upwards from here.

May all of your wildest dreams come true this holiday season! Except for the one about having a boyfriend made of cotton candy… He’d probs just melt in the rain.

Pat Smear's Guitar and Krist Novaselic's Bass

Pat Smear’s Guitar and Krist Novaselic’s Bass

Couldn't be more excited for Sound City!

Couldn’t be more excited for Sound City!

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Sir Paul

Just a couple special guests...

Just a couple special guests…

Oh... and this.

Oh… and this.

 

 

N00b on the Tube

Things I’ve never seen include Back to the Future, The Godfather, Ghostbusters, and up until this week… Friday Night Lights.

The crazy amazing television site Character Grades had me pop my FNL cherry for their N00b on the Tube series, and you can click here to read my review and figure out what the photo means below…

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