Hiya! I’m Traci…owner of The Kitchen Girl® blog. I’m a recipe-writer, picture-taker, and produce-hoarder to the max. Simple recipes made with everyday ingredients…that’s my jam!
Get to know me…interview style!
This is a long one, peeps…so, kick back, enjoy, and if you think of a question, send it my way!
Where do your recipes come from?
15 years in specialty foodservice and a few decades of home-cooking gives me confidence to buy seasonal ingredients (or raid the refrigerator) and build out themed recipes.
I try to keep up with what’s trending online, but I lovvvve to stroll the prepared foods section at specialty grocery stores. So many ideas! I look for what looks delicious and is flying off the shelf, and I create my interpretation…usually with some healthy twist.
I’m always deconstructing prepared foods in my head…I simply can’t turn it off.
Fun fact: when I’m in my test kitchen, I use voice memos to capture everything I do. I currently have about 300 recipes in cue to publish, so stay tuned!
How do you decide which recipes get published on the blog?
The lowest-hanging fruit…if I can get a healthy recipe past my dude’s meat-and-potatoes palate, and he asks for seconds or leftovers…we have a winner! It’s a matter of time before it hits the blog.
My readers seem to benefit from this approach…but the request line is always open.
Dive in to my recipes, ask me questions, share what you love, and tell me what you don’t love. I want to hear from you!
When did you become a recipe developer?
As a complete novice to bread baking, turned I had quite a knack for it!
On the deli management team, I was entrusted to lead recipe development efforts.
They turned our team loose with a wall of healthy ingredients to develop their entire line of recipes (snacks, soups, salads, entrees, desserts, etc).
Dude…I was in HEAVEN!
I hated to ever leave that job, and am sooo proud of their accomplishments to date!
But I didn’t stop creating recipes over the years, which is why I’m a recipe blogger now.
Gotta get it outta my system, yo!
And can’t I tell you how stoked I am that things like quinoa and nutritional yeast aren’t just hippie foods anymore…somebody pinch me!
When did you learn food photography?
To be honest…even after 4 years of it, every day feels like I’m just starting out. Learning a technical skill can be frustrating, but it’s mostly rewarding. I push through until I get the results I want. But, sometimes I just go with what I have, which usually works out too.
I definitely did not bring photog skills into food blogging. Quite the opposite has occurred.
Why do you blog about food?
My recipe blog is the restaurant I never owned…with much lower overhead. I have way too many recipes to not share them with people who are looking. So, why not do it with a blog?!
Also, I’m crazy about my blogging communities and friends. I love it that we’re all contributing reliable content to the internet to make it a better place. Sounds corny, but it’s so true!
Why name yourself “The Kitchen Girl”?
Seemed like an easy name for people to remember when they ask where to find me online.
And I love kitchens. My kitchen, your kitchen, commercial kitchens, camping kitchens, soup kitchens…all kitchens, and all of the things in them!
Fun fact: If I attend your dinner party, I will be all up in your kitchen, helping you, until the last dish is washed…if you let me. What are friends for?!
Ever attend culinary school?
Yep, right here in Sonoma County at the SRJC Culinary Center. I took a line of courses to hone the skills I felt I was missing…and to have fun!
I picked up techniques in food prep, plating, planning, prep, food costing, knife skills, and food safety.
I’d do it all over again if I could! Can’t wait to take their baking/pastry and food styling courses someday!
Do you read fiction or Non?
Nonfiction. Gimme ALL the business, tech, and cooking resources. Love business podcasts too!
Don’t spend money on stupid crap. Spend it on useful crap.
Favorite creative hobby?
Music!…playing guitar, flute, singing, and songwriting.
During college, I played AND performed with some seriously talented people at local venues. LOVE being behind the mic, especially in the recording studio.
I cut my own album of original songs, and never released it. It needs some remixing…it’s on the list.
Yep, stretched out grad school in Communication Studies as lonnnng as possible. Academia is where I played all of that great music with ALL of the great people.
Best job you’ve ever had?
I think my first bakery / deli job is my fav! Close second would be…working for myself as The Kitchen Girl.
Most unique job you’ve ever had?
Communications instructor (and sailing crew) on an 80’ schooner in the Caribbean for 80 days. Epic? Yep! Challenging? Yep! Hard lessons learned? Yep..and soooo worth it!
Really need to get back to some of those islands!
Coffee…at sunrise. Occasional cold beer…at sunset. And I almost never turn down a glass of bubbles, especially if they’re local.
What’s one word you’ll never stop saying?
Now? Swimming. Back in the day? Rollerblading. The tomboy in me really wants to skateboard into my 50’s, but I’m too afraid to fall and break my sh!t
So, I avoid it…and live vicariously through Casey Neistat.
What’s your favorite meal?
A gorgeous charcuterie platter with ALL the things, chilled bubbles, and ALL the friends to share it with.
Work ethic and retirement plan?
I love to work! ABC…always be creating. Motivation just comes natural to me, be it with food, tech, or music.
I’m not watching the clock, waiting for retirement. Some of my friends think I work too much…I’m all “omg where’d the time go?!”
Drivers who travel in the passing lane, unaware (or aware) that they have a line of cars behind them.
What’s your most proud accomplishment (on-the-job)?
Leaving every place of employment more organized than I found it. It’s all about systems and processes.
How do you pay it forward?
People-helper. When it feels right, I do it.
I’m also the total weirdo that asks you if I can take your grocery cart after you’ve finished loading your car. I mean, I’m going into the store anyway. Why not?
Any volunteer activities?
Not consistently, and not often enough…but when I do, I go BIG!
I participated in disaster response for for two major events 1) Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and 2) Northern CA wildfires in 2017. Still gets me teary-eyed when I recall details…or see footage.
What activities will you never get enough of?
Dancing like a teenager, camping, traveling, and singing harmony.