For Katie Lee Joel, cooking wasn't just a hobby growing up - it was a way of life. Raised in a modest, tight knit West Virginia family, each evening centered around the dinner menu. Eager to get involved, Katie began cooking at the tender age of four, under the guidance of her mentor, Grandma Dora. Using fresh vegetables from her grandpa’s garden and meat from the family’s cattle and pig farms, Katie quickly learned the value of seasonal ingredients.
From food to fashion Katie summarizes her style with her three c’s – casual, comfortable with a couture finish. She also refers to her culinary approach as “conscious consumption.” She explains, “If you are what you eat, then you should know what you are eating.” This philosophy is clearly reflected in her first cookbook, The Comfort Table (Simon & Schuster, April 2008).
Many of the classic recipes come directly from her grandma’s kitchen, but with Katie’s special twist. “By using fresh organic ingredients and a delectable variety of vegetables, comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy,” she exclaims. The book also encourages readers to acknowledge that eating is not just about what you serve, but how you make your guests feel. She is currently working on her second book, which focuses on entertaining concepts and will be released in October 2009.
Katie's broad culinary experience ranges from hosting the first season of Bravo’s hit reality series, Top Chef, to writing the first monthly food column at Cosmopolitan magazine, which premiered in their January 2009 issue. She also pens her own culinary and lifestyle column, Katie’s Kitchen, which is published in Hampton’s Magazine. She regularly appears as a Special Correspondent, covering food and fashion for The Early Show on CBS and Extra, and serves on the Judges panel on Food Network’s, Iron Chef America.
Katie received her bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism at Miami University in Oxford Ohio, and also studied in Florence, Italy. In 2004, she returned to her classroom in Italy to teach American students about dining in Tuscany.
Outside of her culinary adventures, Katie sits on the Chefs Council of Chefs For Humanity and dedicates time to Les Dames d’Escoffier, an organization that educates and mentors women in the culinary profession. When not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time in her organic garden, traveling and playing with her two pugs.