After attending four different Taste Carolina tours, Kelly was a fan of Taste Carolina and the local food scene. And, as it turned out, she was an ideal tour guide. So Kelly made the transition from customer to tour guide, and it’s been fabulous (for us, and we hope for her, too) ever since. Her teaching skills and friendly personality make the Chapel Hill/ Carrboro tours that she leads a delight for all.
Occupation : Well, I am an elementary reading teacher, but right now I’m on sabbatical. I’m staying home with my toddler. I have an 18-month-old, Paxton. Where are you from? I grew up in Danville, California, which is right outside of the Bay Area. When did you move to North Carolina? I moved here 15 years ago when I finished school at Wake Forest. My parents grew up in Durham, so I’ve always been interested in the area. My dad and step-mom would bring us to Myrtle Beach every summer, and my mom is a proud southerner. She would always try to get Duke games on in California. She and my step-dad now live in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
What do you love best about North Carolina? I always had a desire to discover everything about my own personal history. But now that I’m here, I’m just fascinated by the culture and the people. It’s such a vibrant area. It’s just interesting here. And it’s constantly changing with new people coming in. And, of course, you have the mountains and the beach…. I just think it has so much to offer.
What type of music do you listen to when you’re cooking in the kitchen? I’ve just started cooking since I had my son. I am so not a cook, but I’ve trying to learn . I try to cook when he’s napping, so I usually just try recipes that allow me to keep it quiet. Also, I have to concentrate so much since it’s new to me. I think music would be a distraction.
Top 5 favorite foods? (anything goes) (1) I have a big sweet tooth, so lots of desserts would be at the top of the list – especially chocolate; (2)French fries; (3) I love fruit; (4) I generally like any kind of Mexican food; (5) Sushi rolls.
What is your comfort food? Probably grilled cheese with tomato soup – and a chocolate chip cookie. Or if it’s hot out, I love smoothies. I used to work at smoothie shop in Santa Barbara, and those were the best.
Are there any foods you won’t eat/try? No, and some people are surprised because of my personality, but I I’ll try anything once, and that includes food. I don’t like super hot foods, but I’ll try anything.
What is the last memorable meal you’ve eaten recently? The last meal I cooked that was really good was from Rachel Ray Magazine. It was fettuccine with Italian sausage and kale. It was really yummy; my husband was like, “wow”. We hardly ever eat out anymore, but we recently went to Rue Cler for brunch for my birthday, and it was delicious. Everyone from our family went, and they loved it. I keep telling everyone to go.
The ingredient you currently can’t stop using is: Lately I’ve noticed that anything that has curry in it, I want to try it. I just feel like it’s good with everything. I tried it with fish last week and it was great. If I find something I like I’ll stick with it… I’ll order anything off a menu if it has the word avocado in it.
You have a day with absolutely no obligations. How do you spend it? Oh gosh, since having my son this hasn’t happened to me. I think I would want to spend the day on me if I didn’t have to take care of my son. So let’s see… I would go get a pedicure, meet my girlfriends for lunch at Toast (I get their goat cheese with honey crostini), then I would probably take a short walk or hike somewhere, and read a book. Oh, and go see a movie.
What are some cooking challenges or techniques you would like to tackle? Oh gosh, I feel like all of it is a challenge right now. It’s a process. Like the other day, I tried to cook tofu for the first time, and I had to throw the first batch out. I didn’t understand what pressing was, so I had to go on YouTube and figure it out. But it didn’t bother me. Now that I’m home and not working, I enjoy getting to experiment with cooking. It feels like, wow, I accomplished something. Another challenge is cooking for my 18-month-old son, because right now he doesn’t like anything. So if I find something, hallelujah. Also, my husband is allergic to chicken and turkey, and it feels like every recipe has chicken in it. So we’re trying meatless dishes.
Who is one person you’d love to cook with? I would definitely want to cook with this season’s winner of Master Chef, Christine. She is an amazing cook who happens to be blind. I would love to learn how she uses her senses, taste and touch, to create her meals.