The Kate Tin
Have you ever loved a food blog so much, that you need to visit the site every single day? That’s how I feel about The Kate Tin blog. Kate shares creative, delicious and mouth-watering recipes. The photography is brilliantly captured and the recipes are on trend. I love how she modernizes traditional South African recipes and adds her own twist.
It came as no surprise when The Kate Tin won best food and wine blog in South Africa. It’s quite evident, that food is her passion and she is living her dream. Kate is the creative food director on the breakfast show, Expresso. Of course I had to interview her, and find out more about the woman behind the blog.
Tell us a little bit about yourself …
I grew up on a farm in George where my parents farmed vegetables. My dad used to milk the cows and my mom would turn the cream into butter which was spread onto homemade bread which she baked each day. So good food was an important part of my life which naturally meant I wanted a career in food. My dream was to be a food stylist or a pastry chef and after working in a little French Patisserie in George throughout High School I studied professional cheffing and patisserie at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch. After graduating I joined Top Billing as a food assistant to the food editor and after 3 years became food editor myself. This is where I truly found my love for beautiful food and photography! It was when the magazine closed that I joined Expresso Morning Show as their Creative Food Director where I work with an amazing team of foodies to put together the food content for the show every day, which I must say, after 4 years and over 2000 shows later (with 3-4 recipes each day) is become quite a challenge!
What inspired you to write a food blog?
The blog developed as a creative outlet – a space where I could feature whatever I felt like making that week. To be honest, it also developed out of laziness – my friends and family were constantly asking me ‘Do you have a chocolate cake recipe’ or ‘I need a recipe for vanilla cupcakes’ and I thought, let me put all my recipes online, a sort of virtual recipe book, then I don’t have to type out the recipe each time, I can just copy-paste a link! Haha!
How would you describe your site to new readers?
I’m known for having an insatiable sweet tooth which I inherited from my father which means I have a soft spot for the indulgent and decadent (luckily I inherited my mother’s figure!) So TheKateTin developed into a hub of recipes for anyone else with a sweet tooth.
Nothing is too sweet or too over-the-top when it comes to the recipes on the site! We do not judge you for eating cake for breakfast, in fact, we encourage it! Life isn’t easy and we all deserve to spoil ourselves every now and then, TheKateTin is where people can come to look for the perfect recipe to do just that.
Kate, you’ve just won the award for best food and wine blog in South Africa, what inspires you?
I particularly love smooshing (that’s a word) two recipes together and am a huge fan of the double dessert (think banana split cheesecake, chocolate millionaire shortbread cake, tiramisu eclairs) but I also draw a lot of inspiration from our beautiful country. I love reinventing our classic South African desserts and giving them a modern twist (milk tart pancakes or peppermint crisp ice cream sandwiches). The sweeter, the better!
Tell me about your first experiment with food as a child.
I was given a mini baking set for Christmas when I was 6 years old with little measuring cups, spoons and cookie cutters and since then I would put on my very own baking show in my mother’s kitchen. Delia Smith was my hero and just like her, I’d measure all the ingredients out into a million little prep bowls before starting (which meant a mountain of washing up to do!). It used to drive my mom nuts! And I never stuck to the simple stuff; at age 11 I once saw spun sugar in a food magazine and attempted to make it myself only to leave my mother chiselling molten sugar off her floor and walls for weeks afterwards!
What’s the best and worst thing about being a food blogger?
The worst thing I would say is people underestimating just how much time it takes to put a recipe post together – planning, shopping, prepping, deciding which props to use, taking the photographs, editing them, writing and copy-editing… It’s an incredibly time-consuming hobby and virtually every weekend is dedicated to it. But that’s also the best thing, because there is nothing better than investing the time in a post and having readers respond to that hard work! And of course, there’s being able to eat the leftovers! 🙂
Who is your foodie hero and how do they inspire you?
Donna Hay has been my inspiration for years – her food styling and photography revolutionised an entire generation of bad food images. I admire the way she constantly strives for perfection (which often leaves me wondering, how on earth that cake is SO perfect) but also how she keeps reinventing herself.
How many cookbooks do you own and which are you use most often?
I have an odd relationship with cookbooks – I have mountains of them (at last count about 250) and always want more, but never actually use them. I’m lucky enough to be blessed with the knowledge to create my own recipes and combinations so don’t rely on books for recipes, but I love cracking the spine on a new cookbook and reading it like a novel. My most used cookbook is my Larousse Gastronomique which is like the bible of the food world – it contains virtually everything you need to know about food!
If you had to choose a kitchen tool you couldn’t live without, what would it be and why?
I could not live without a scale! Precision measuring is key to baking and nothing is more accurate than a scale.
What is one food you could now never eat in your home country again because you’ve tasted the original version in its country of origin and you’ve been forever spoiled?
Definitely tasting my first Laduree macaron. After spending what felt like a year’s salary I sat on the train with the beautiful box and slowly devoured each macaroon, taking a small bite of each and then ranking them in order of deliciousness before saving the best bite for last. Nothing will ever live up to that moment.
What are the food trends for 2015?
Food trends tend to hit us a bit late here in South Africa – we got the macaron trend almost 2 years after Europe so while some things may be uber fashionable overseas right now, they’ll probably only catch on here in 2016/17. Éclairs are the next big thing – in patisseries in France they have made a massive come-back and are being completely reinvented into miniature works of art with interesting flavours (Check out L’Eclair de génie in Paris http://leclairdegenie.com/) Other trends include pistachios (which took over Italy when I was there last year), ice cream sandwiches and cookie-flavoured desserts.
What’s next for The Kate Tin?
I’m in the process of developing a product which will be the first of its kind in South Africa. But that’s all I can say for now 😉
The Kate Tin: http://the-kate-tin.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html
Image credit: The Kate Tin