I can’t remember a time I wasn’t interested in food. Among ballerina, zookeeper, president, teacher and professional Irish dancer, I had childhood plans of opening up a restaurant called “The Karasik International Restaurant” – a breakfast and dessert only operation that specialised in hand-stirred ice cream soup with cookie croutons. While my culinary ambitions and repertoire have expanded slightly since then, my love of food and creativity is still alive and well.
After moving to London in 2008 from the suburbs of Maryland, USA to study museum curation and art theory, my love of food had remained a hobby, but as I approached my final year of university, food could not escape my brain. I wrote my dissertation on identity in the menus of Come Dine With Me contestants and researched urban food growing. After university, I got a job with a social innovation tech company called FutureGov, seelingly far away from the realm of food, and yet less that a year into the role, I was working on their one food project, Casserole – a community-based Meals on Wheels project encouraging individuals to cook an extra plate for a neighbour in need. All the while my culinary hobby was growing, and in 2011, after an impromptu visit to Billingsgate fish market and an incredibly good deal on a box of bream, a colleague and I hosted the first ever Bream Team supper in my then-flatmate’s photography studio. After that first dinner, I was hooked. And as each event led to more events, and catering opportunities, by the end of 2011 I was ready to take the plunge into full time culinary life. I quit my tech job and from January 2012, I haven’t looked back.
With a penchant for strange and challenging venues, I have run events everywhere from the top of St Pancras clocktower, to building sites, a former car garage, offices, the Barbican, rooftops and historic homes. I’m particularly interested in collaborative food projects – using food to explore other disciplines and environments in a sensory way – have a look at the project page to see more specifics on this. I’ve also freelanced across the food industry – from street food stalls and popups through to boutique caterers and Michelin-quality spaces. In 2015, I was part of Chefs of Tomorrow, which highlights rising cooking talent in the UK.
Also in 2015, after a decision to take a little break from the kitchen, I completed an MA in Food Anthropology at SOAS, with a dissertation focusing on the relevance of food history in contemporary society (and whose research involved cooking in a 15th Century reenactment kitchen!). This degree gave me a chance to step back and look at food in the context of everything from social norms to global trade and environmental science. Since then I have begun to write and talk more about food, including an essay for The London Essays Food issue and as a speaker at UCL’s Food, Drink and Civilization conference.
I now also work closely with Unwined in Tooting on their private events and more…watch this space!