I learnt to cook when I became a stepmum at 28. I was super intimidated by cooking for a long time, and when I met Jasper [Kate’s stepdaughter, then aged 12], I realised that takeouts and deliveries weren’t going to suffice for supporting a growing human being. So I rolled up my sleeves and dove in at the culinary deep end. It was through her that I really fell in love with cooking. The first dish I made for her was chicken piccata [boneless chicken in a lemon and capers sauce], and it’s still the dish she requests the most. The things I like to make normally have a good balance of fat and acid, because that’s my favourite combo.
We ate a lot of pasta when I was growing up. I was raised in a typical ’80s borough household [near Boston, Massachusetts]. My dad loves pasta, and we’d have it almost every night. He also cooked a great chilli, which he still makes every New Year’s Day. I was born 2 January, and the infamous story goes that he made it particularly spicy that year to induce my mum’s labour — and it did!
When I’m working, I look at food as fuel. The hours can be long and irregular, and sometimes we work through the night. So I eat a lot of really good complex carbs, like sweet potato or chickpeas, protein and a lot of vegetables. During my time off, I make comfort food and don’t worry so much about how the food makes me feel. But on set, it’s almost like an athletic approach to performance. A healthy diet can bring a lot of stamina and endurance, and it’s important if you want to perform to your best ability.
My husband is half Mexican and has some incredible recipes. He makes amazing refried beans and his tortillas are insane. He makes them with a quarter of a cup of bacon grease and a quarter of a cup of melted butter, then works it with the flour, baking powder, and salt, and finally lets it sit for four hours.
We cook pretty much every night. We love cooking with a cast iron pan. I inherited ours from my grandparents, so it’s 50 or 60 years old now. My favourite steak to cook in it is a rib eye, with some rosemary, crushed garlic and butter. I serve it with baked potatoes and vegetables. I also make roast broccoli — I toss it with a Dijon and balsamic mixture and roast it off, and it’s got that spicy-sweet roasted quality to it. It’s one of my husband’s favourites.
I absolutely adore Spain. I was young when I first went to Barcelona, and I was struck by the freshness of the fish — I had one the best pieces I’ve ever eaten there, by the coast. I also remember going into this restaurant that was like a cave that had a massive board of cured meats, cheeses and a drool-worthy charcuterie. And all the jamon! That was my first introduction to Spanish food and I’ve never looked back. Another memory I have is of being in Seville and seeing the oranges dropping off the trees.
I’m a die-hard burger fanatic. I have two favourite cheeseburgers; one is from Burgers Never Say Die in Los Angeles, and the other from a place called Norm’s News in Kalispell, Montana, which has one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever had.
If I had to eat at one restaurant for the rest of my life, it’d be Locanda Cipriani in Venice. It’s the most spectacular spot, and you can only get there by gondola. You drink wine under a terrace with hanging vines, and eat sardines, oysters and fresh pasta. It’s magical.
I’d love to go to Israel. I love the cuisine so much that to eat in the actual country would be a dream. I have a close group of Israeli friends, so it’s what they cook for me. I love all the dips and spreads, and those fresh, crunchy, bright salads. I could just eat bowls of them, and they’re great with marinated grilled meat. It’s all healthy and super tasty.
Head over to Kate’s website for cooking inspiration and her favourite recipes.
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