Welcome to Catalan Cookery! I hope you enjoy reading about my culinary adventures and delicious experiences in Catalonia, Spain.

Come check out my current blogging project,
Scrumptious Company, in which I chronicle my once-a-week dinner parties with pictures and recipes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A first hello. And a bit about me and my newest project.

Hello, everyone. My name is Kate French, and I’m so glad that you have seeked out / stumbled upon / followed my link to my blog. Either and any way, I am very happy that you’ve come to visit. Thank you so much for being here.

Well, a little bit about myself to start. I live in Chicago with my husband, Ben (who, I must say, is one of those persons who is just too good to be true). I am a chef, and like most chefs, I love food, and everything, everything about food. Since moving to Chicago (about six months ago), I have been busy building my own catering company, Hilltop Kitchen. It’s been a blast. A scary, overwhelming blast at times, but mainly, a blast in the general sense of the word. That is, really, really fun.

With this little business of mine just barely off the ground, I can still afford to dabble in some other fun culinary projects. While I stay pretty busy prepping for events and refining my business plan, I’m still lucky enough to have the time to do things like teach private cooking classes, attempt some food-writing, and perform the occasional personal cheffing gig. I adore these special projects. And I’m happy to say that I’m about to endeavor into the best one yet!

And that’s what leads me to the topic of this blog. On Sunday, October 11, I leave for Catalonia, Spain! I will be representing my alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America, through an exchange program with the Alicia Foundation, a culinary research center in the mountains above Barcelona. The Alicia Foundation is an incredible institution, devoted to gastronomic heritage and technological innovation in cooking. I am ridiculously excited, because this is truly a world-class place. Want proof? The famed chef Ferran Adria heads the board! Need I say more!?

I’ll be working with the Alicia Foundation for just over two months, right up until Christmas. I’ve been sent a list of potential projects that I may be assigned to, but as of yet, I know very little of what I’ll actually be doing day to day. All I know for sure is that for two months, I’ll be completely immersed in the rich and vibrant food culture of Catalonia, all the while surrounded by some of the best chefs and food scientists in the world.

This blog is a way for me to share this experience with all of you, my family and friends. This is one of the biggest adventures of my life, and with or without a blog, I’d definitely want to keep a journal. So while I’m at it, it’s an easy step to post on-line, and share with you all. Since most of my friends are chefs and foodies too, I thought you may all get a kick out of my stories. Even for you non-culinarians out there, I hope you enjoy the stories of my travels and accounts of my new project.

Thanks so much for reading!


  1. Hola Dear Kate!

    What a truly exciting adventure...wow! Can't wait to follow your blog. I thnk it's a fantastic idea. Safe travels to Catalonia, Spain. I look forward to your aventures.
    Cuídate and I love you,
    Aunt Patti

  2. Wow Kate, What a fabulous opportunity. I look forward to reading your blogs. This sounds so exciting. Ms Biss

  3. Hi, Kate. Really neat project and I agree that Ben is top-notch. I can't wait to hear what the personalities of all these accomplished chefs are like! Do you think any of them like Wendy's spicey chicken sandwich?! Aunt Lynn

  4. Hello Dear Kate,
    You must be settling in as I write.
    What a joy it will be to follow you on this adventure.
    It's cold and rainy in Toledo wish we were there in Catalonia.
    Con amor y bendiciones, Mom

  5. Cake!! aka...Kate,
    I am so impressed with your endeavors to date...and also a bit jealous! I so look forward keeping tabs with your adventures on your blog. Have a whirlwind time of food and fun...and share some great recipes. Rob is tuned in too...also jealous. We love you so! Dede

  6. Hey Kate!

    Great start with the blog. Looking forward to seeing how this exciting experience shapes your thinking regarding your catering and food service business.

    Enjoy your self over there as the time will surely fly by.

    Love, Dad

  7. so far so good!!! Hope you are having fun. I need to get ahold of Ben and make sure he is surviving without you. Perhaps a game of toss the potato will keep his spirits up! Can't wait to hear all about your adventures. I myself have been attempting more cooking lately...homemade soup was interesting. I'll tell you more when you are back in town. Can't wait to hear about Spain!!!


    Dana (and Josh)

    PS...I found Alinea!!!