Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kim Laidlaw

Culinary Master Extraordinaire
San Francisco, California



I respect campers but am not one of them. I am usually the one with inappropriate footwear (appropriate forgotten by the door at home) who plans to subsist all weekend on cheap beer and trail mix. Luckily I keep good friends.

I admire those individuals who always have a knife in their pocket and moleskin in their pack, ready for what the outdoors hands them. I have even more respect for those souls who can turn out amazing and inspirational meals while roughing it, up for the challenge each morning and into the darkness each night. Kim Laidlaw fits perfectly into this category.

We met through mutual friends in San Francisco over ten years ago and have loosely kept in touch ever since. Meals with this Texan are always memorable and over the top. Kim has over sixteen years experience working in publishing and three trusted cookbooks under her belt. She recently ventured out on her own as a freelance cookbook author, editor, food writer, producer, project manager, and baker. Last year she published Baby and Toddler on the Go, an excellent cookbook for the new family trying to healthfully feed their children.  As a mother of a two year old, I can say first hand that this is beyond challenging.

Kim lives in San Francisco with her Scottish husband, Keith, and their three year old daughter, Poppy. I impulsively decided to photograph her while we were all camping outside Mammoth for the 4th of July weekend. This is not the usual look into home and life I post but an intimate portrayal of skills, talent and passion. Armed with a tiny gas stove and a fire pit, she made camping into a culinary retreat. Hiking was kept to a minimum but we ate like we had trekked from down to dusk, starting each day with mounds of eggs and beans on toast and ending with roasted vegetables, paella, and berry slump. Recipes do not make it onto my blog but as a recipe developer, Kim’s campfire paella cannot be missed. Kim is determined and unyielding, a true visionary.



What are you up to these days? 


I'm currently the editor on two upcoming cookbooks, I teach baking and pastry classes at the San Francisco Cooking School, I do monthly recipe development and styling pieces for CHOW.com and KQED Bay Area Bites, and I'm writing a proposal for my next cookbook. I also do recipe development for chefs and other authors. 


How did you end up publishing cookbooks?


I was in the publishing world (not cookbooks) and then, during the original dot-com era, decided to go to culinary school and became a professional baker. During that time I baked a cake for a friend's party and met someone who knew the publisher at a local cookbook publishing company. He hooked us up and I started freelancing for them and before I knew it they hired me as an in-house editor. That was 12 years ago. I've been a cookbook editor ever since. Then, in 2011, the publisher I worked for gave me the opportunity to author my own cookbook (Home Baked Comfort) which I wrote the entire time I was pregnant. Good thing I was totally craving sweets! My 4th cookbook is coming out in September (Quick Slow Cooking).


What do you wish the average person knew about publishing a cookbook? 


How much time and effort goes into making a cookbook. It's way more than you think. 




Describe your cooking style? 


Relaxed, casual, seasonal, comforting, flavorful...I like to have fun with food, play with new twists on old favorites. I am at heart a baker, but I also really love to cook. They are different, but intertwined.


What is your earliest food memory? 


If you can believe it, it's from when I was a baby. And it's a taste. My favorite thing to eat (and my mom can vouch for this) was applesauce and cottage cheese. I still like it to this day.


Fav new food discovery?


This isn't really that new, but I just made grilled king trumpet mushrooms the other day. I sliced them in half, brushed them with garlic-herb oil, grilled them, chopped them up, and threw them into a kale salad with some bacon. Hello! (The recipe will be on Bay Area Bites soon).






Describe your personal style? 


I like to be comfortable, and I prefer to wear dresses. I feel more comfortable in them than jeans. Except when I'm running of course, and then I love my running capris.






Advice for working moms? 


Oh gosh, it's hard sometimes. Often. Try not to be so hard on yourself. You can't do everything, and you can't always be perfect. Try to relax and enjoy time with your family and time alone. Have good boundaries between work and family if at all possible. Don't take work on vacation with you, life is too short. I'm only saying these things because these are the things I struggle with, and tell myself.


Last most memorable meal? 


We were just up in Sonoma for the weekend and my friend Max made a crazy Alicante-style paella on the grill that I'd never even heard of...bomba rice with pork meatballs, chicken, and chickpeas all covered with an eggy crust. We served it with two different tomato salads, and finished with a fresh berry tart with vanilla custard that I made. There was a lot of wine, and a hot tub under the stars at the end of the meal (all while the kiddos slept!).





If you could fly to Texas to eat one thing, what would it be? 


You mean I have to decide between Tex-Mex and BBQ? Impossible. I love a great brisket sandwich, and you just can't get one here like they are in Texas. I'm dying to try Aaron Franklin's BBQ. On the Tex-Mex front, there are too many things I love and miss: breakfast tacos, and migas, chile con queso, carne asada and brisket tacos, and refried bean chalupas. But I guess the common thread there is brisket, which I love as BBQ or Tex-Mex.

Campfire Paella

~~~~~

-Nicole

1 comment:

  1. To make every recipe you need a proper guidance or you should be expertise in that. And next thing you will need is the good gas stove without that you will not make anything good.
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