From managing spas, logging hours of culinary classes, and even spending a summer making fresh pasta for a restaurant, Kristina Sloggett's broad range of experiences have brought her to where she is today -- running a successful food website! Kristina's bright personality comes through in her cooking and writing. I caught up with her recently to talk about her passions and love of Portland!
Allison Rivers Samson: How did you conjure up the catchy name “spabettie?”
Kristina Sloggett: I have enjoyed three different 'careers' since college – first as an accountant, then as a spa director, managing resort and day spas. While living at Sunriver Resort, managing the build of their spa and tennis club, I earned the nickname spabettie. It stuck with me through a few more spa projects and another accounting position. When I began my food writing career, spabettie just fit as a blog name!
ARS: What sparked your passion in cooking?
KS: I have fond memories of "helping in the kitchen" when I was little, especially around the holidays. I think the spark truly happened when I first had my own kitchen in college. My housemate and I would host Sunday dinners for a large group of friends. I also hosted pageant nights for my girlfriends, having them over for dinner and cocktails during every televised pageant. I enjoyed creating menus, loved entertaining my friends, and my extensive crown and tiara collection came in handy for pageant nights.
I have enjoyed many hours of culinary education, taking classes while also attending college. From basic knife skills to baking and pastry (croissants were my favorite), traditional classes to Mark Reinfeld’s 10 Day Vegan Fusion Immersion, having a bit of knowledge in the kitchen led me to a couple jobs along the way - one college summer was spent making pasta for an Italian restaurant - all I did was make pasta, and I loved it!
Upon returning from life in Sunriver, I briefly parlayed my spa management skills into a store director position with a well known Portland deli. I was running one location while planning the construction of a new location. Before beginning my position, I wanted to work in all aspects of the business, from the commissary to bakery. I attended every class the executive chef taught and fully enjoyed my time working there.
I am very happy to wake up every day and do something I love - create in my kitchen and work with food.
ARS: When creating a new recipe, where do you start?
KS: I will get ideas and inspiration whenever - and sometimes at the strangest times - you should see my Evernote on my phone. From my notes, I will begin with a basic outline of a recipe, with ideas for measurements. Into the kitchen I go with my notes on paper - tasting and adjusting as I go. From my culinary instruction, I will often use class notes and recipes for reference, especially with baking.
ARS: What are your favorite comfort-food recipes for getting through chilly wet Portland winters?
KS: My true comfort food? I can eat fresh veggie bowls every day. My Vibrant Spaghetti Squash Bowl with Smoky Waffled Tofu is something I am loving right now. I really dig fresh, vibrant, and bright flavors and colors in my eats.
I am all about comfort foods, especially this time of year where we all just want to get cozy. My Smoky White Bean Chili is our current go to, I might have some bubbling away on the stove right now.
We love Mexican food, and my Cheesy Hatch Chile Enchiladas are always a hit. This is my standard when delivering food to friends.
ARS: Your blog is ultra-popular and your recipes are regularly found in collections like BuzzFeed. Do you do all your own marketing? How do you know how to get the word out about your work?
KS: I do all my own everything! My control issues (ha!) keep me away from the wonderful world of virtual assistants, as glorious as that would be!
Sites like Buzzfeed? That is pure luck, and I am extremely honored each time I am featured. While not as regularly as I used to, I will sometimes submit a photo to sites like TasteSpotting and FoodGawker, and these days Pinterest is huge. I am not sure where sites like Buzzfeed get their content to feature, but I try to stay visible on sites where the foodies like to spend time!
ARS: Excellent! If you and I were to sing karaoke right now, what song would you choose?
KS: My standard karaoke song is the old classic, Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) by Looking Glass. I prefer the oldies for some reason. Other favorites include You're So Vain, Kodachrome, and anything Billy Joel. Since we just returned from Vegas for the annual Alabama concert, I need to sing some Alabama next time I karaoke. My music taste is quite varied.
ARS: I'd definitely be up for that! What’s the best food cart meal to try in Portland?
KS: Homegrown Smoker is always there for a fantastic comfort food fix. Sushi Love is my newest... well, love. We have some incredible vegan food choices in Portland. I am lucky to be here!
I love Portland! I've been there several time for Nia trainings, and all the amazing food. Thank you so much for talking with me, Kristina. Keep on rockin' in the food world!
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