So happy to bring you another edition of my kitchen interview series!
This time I’m chatting with fellow blogger Kat Higashiyama from San Jose, California.
Kat shares the same love as I do of bringing people together together over delicious, approachable food and she does so through her blog The Heirloom Pantry.
I connected with Kat via Instagram; every time one of her posts popped up on my screen I thought ‘I neeeed to make that dish!’ Her recipes are inspired by where she lives (California) and her Italian and Japanese heritage.
Plus she shares some divine brunch recipes – my personal favourite!
Read on to find out more about Kat, her favourite food memories and the must-make recipe from her blog that is especially perfect for the season – Italian Beef Soup (Brodo di Carne).
Oh and something else super cool – her and her fiance Alec now work on the blog together!
What is your day job?
I am a sourcing manager at a tech startup and I blog at The Heirloom Pantry.
What do you love most about the work that you do as a blogger, recipe developer and food photographer?
The most rewarding aspects of blogging are the learning experiences and ability to share recipes I love with my audience. Blogging is neither easy nor glamorous behind the scenes, but using my platform to educate and influence others to cook delicious meals and feel confident in the kitchen inspires me every day.
Other than the blog do you own or run any other businesses and if so what kind?
I also manage the social media and communications for my family’s restaurant, Folliero’s Italian Food & Pizza.
Do you have a favourite style of photography or a favourite food subject?
I love many types of photography styles, including light and bright & dark and moody. My personal style incorporates highlights and shadows. My favorite subject to photograph is often seasonal produce because it’s colorful and tells a story of the season the recipe was made in.
Where do you find inspiration for your food photography and recipes you create?
I draw recipe inspiration from dishes I grew up with and my travels. I’m fortunate to come from a family of talented cooks and grew up learning from them in the kitchen. I often make recipes that are personally nostalgic or use ingredients my audience may not have tried before, like a lot of Japanese pantry staples.
What’s your favourite recipe to make for family or friends?
Cacio e Pepe with Burrata is definitely a crowd pleaser. It’s a decadent spin on a classic Italian pasta dish and everyone loves it. When in doubt, add burrata!
Who is your dream dinner guest?
I would love to have dinner with Reese Witherspoon. She is an advocate for women, a talented storyteller, and she always knows which books to read next. Her positivity is contagious and it would be exciting to meet such a creative, inspiring entrepreneur.
Do you have a favourite food memory?
There is a meal I had with my family that I think about often, as in, every few weeks. We were in Pisa and stopped by a small casual restaurant called I Porci Comodi. We ordered two cheese boards and little did I know this would be one of the best meals of my life! A cheeseboard sounds like such a common, basic menu item, but these were no ordinary cheese boards. The boards were stacked with local meats, cheeses, fruit, and warm crusty bread. It was such an outstanding meal & I can’t wait to go back.
Is there one ingredient from your pantry or fridge that you MUST always have available?
I always have Kewpie mayo in my fridge. Kewpie mayo is a creamy Japanese mayonnaise that is rich in umami flavor and does not taste like regular mayonnaise. It’s a fantastic versatile base for marinades, dips, salad dressings, and more.
If you could only have one dish from a restaurant the rest of your life what would it be and which restaurant is it from?
I may be biased, but my Nonno’s pizza at our restaurant Folliero’s is quite honestly the best pizza I’ve had. I could eat it every day & not get tired of it! The dough is a family recipe from Italy and is the perfect chewy, crunchy texture.
I love brunch; if we could hang out in real life and enjoy brunch together, is there a favourite brunch dish you’d make OR restaurant we’d meet at??
I would love to have you over for brunch! I make breakfast fried rice with bits of bacon and topped with jammy poached eggs. The rice is cooked in soy sauce and a medley of ingredients that make each bite better than the last. It’s not the healthiest meal, but it is delicious and the most requested brunch dish I make. (Can I just say, Jess chiming in here – THIS SOUNDS AMAZING!)
What’s the one recipe of yours we must-make?!
I highly recommend Italian Beef Soup (Brodo di Carne). It’s filled with tender, slow-cooked chuck roast, vegetables, and herbs simmered in a rich, flavorful golden broth. You can add orzo or pastina and top with finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s the perfect cozy soup for those who love mouthwatering broth and fall-apart beef.
Any advice for my readers?
If you are thinking about starting a food blog or your own business, go for it! Food blogging is hard work and a lot of dishes, but doing what you love is gratifying.
It was such a pleasure to get to know Kat more AND I can’t wait to try her Italian Beef Soup (Brodo di Carne) this Winter – it sounds like such a heartwarming dish!
Until the next cooking adventure,
Photos by Kat Higashiyama