Kristie ColladoI’ve worked just about every food job imaginable during the past 20+ years: Fast food? Check. Barista? Absolutely. Server? Cake decorator? Pastry cook? Yep, you-betcha, and…ok, I think you get the idea. Food is (and always has been) my life.

After spending my high school and college years working in food service — and a few years after that cooking and baking for everyone that I knew — my best friend convinced me to pursue my lifelong dream of attending culinary school. I graduated from the French Culinary Institute (renamed the International Culinary Center) with a certificate in Classic Pastry Arts in 2009.

Later that year, I went to work at the famous 21 Club where I happily piped hundreds (sometimes thousands) of meringues each night, learned the secret to emptying a 7-pound can of pistachio paste in a mere 30 seconds, and may or may not have eaten a few pieces of “crunchy chocolate” (a feuilletine-studded treat that we served with our complementary petits fours plate) in the walk-in refrigerator when things got a tiny bit stressful. I also helped to open a new restaurant (Gansevoort 69) in New York City’s Meatpacking District during that same time.

my familyI was fortunate enough to marry this handsome guy (fun fact: he’s best friend that I mentioned earlier, the one who made it possible for me to pursue a culinary education at night while working 9 to 5 in an unrelated field) and in 2010 we embarked on a new adventure: parenthood. Our family grew by one with the birth of this beautiful little girl (who is quite possibly the most perfect human being of all time).

Since then, I’ve graduated from NYU with a Master’s Degree in Food Studies, worked as an Editorial Intern at the Hearst Corporation/, done lots of freelance food writing (including a contribution to this book), and launched my digital career with editorial positions at The Daily Meal and Citarella (an iconic NYC gourmet market). I’m currently part of the digital editorial team at Food Network.

My current projects? Spreading smiles with my very silly food doodles, trying to do one (just one) pull up (with all the whisking I do, you’d think I’d be stronger!) and teaching my little one everything I know about food and cooking.

And, gastronoMe? I blog because I love to cook, eat, and share food. My hope is that when you read my stories, you’ll find inspiration to do the same. That you’ll make them your own — and live each day of your life deliciously.

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