Three questions: Personal chef to the stars and Los Angeles caterer Kate Paul.
I met Kate Paul when we lived in Los Angeles. With her confident Sydney style and cheeky grin, Kate, you knew immediately, was the person in charge. At any great party, you'd see the elegant Kate bustling about in a sharp suit, overseeing every detail.
Kate grew up in Australia with both parents working full-time and her mother also studying law.
The schoolgirl Kate would be given instructions as she walked home from school about what ingredients to pick up on the way. She says: my mother was very French influenced in the way we shopped - only what was needed for a couple of days at most. I’d stop at Victor Churchill’s butcher shop on Queen Street, picking up veal (“make sure pink, not white - that’s yearling, Mum would tell me) or leg of lamb . Then to the corner of Jersey Road, the greengrocers for fresh produce. Next door to Arthur & Vicki Tourgelis’s Piccadilly Deli, where I worked on Saturdays, for cheeses & meats and our favorite olive oil that they imported.
My mother coached me on what to do by phone & rang off with “I’ll be home around 7”.
With this early introduction to cooking and shopping for the best ingredients, Kate says there was never anything else she wanted to do. She attended Culinary school but dropped out after 18 months, having learned all the fine dining basics. On the Aussie 'right of passage' big backpacking trip overseas, she met a person who supplied teams of caterers to bands on tours, and that, she says "was pretty much it for my next 15 years - loved being paid to travel the world, cook & be exposed to all kinds of cultures". Kate went on the road with the likes of Madonna, David Bowie, Janet Jackson and Pink.
After the iconic Tina Turner's last tour, Kate moved back to Los Angeles and started the renown catering company, Foodink, becoming the go to caterer for food & event planning. She planned and executed extravagant affairs for Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino, Vanity Fair and luxury labels like Gucci, Bulgari, Cartier and Christian Dior.
Private events for clients like Naomi Watts, Tom Cruise and Alicia Silverstone were part of Kate's regulars.
Fifteen successful Foodink years later, Kate and her partner have begun a new chapter in Baja; exploring all there is to offer in terms of food & local producers, the landscape, indigenous culture & of course, mezcal.
I recently caught up with Kate and finished up by asking her three questions:
1. Best thing you ate most recently? Baja Oysters in Beet & Jalapeño Juice, Aguachile style. Actually also the Lamb Barbacoa. Both at Jazamango, an amazing local restaurant from Javier Plascencia, who also has incredible places in Valle de Guadalupe.
2. Secret naughty food obsession? Gummy bears!
3. Never fail pantry ingredients? Good extra virgin olive oil, good vinegar, malden sea salt, tellicherry peppercorns. Spend the money on good ingredients, it’s worth it! Final ingredient - my smoked fig leaf “gun powder” that I put on/in everything from roast chicken to meatballs to Greek cheesecake.