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Intersection: Chef Kathleen Blake Pays It Forward

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Kathleen Blake. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE.

Kathleen Blake, owner and chef at The Rusty Spoon in Orlando, was inspired by her grandmother to start cooking, before developing her culinary skills under the eye of San Francisco chef Joyce Goldstein.

Now Blake is helping mentor a new generation of female chefs in Central Florida.

“There’s 66 women owned businesses that are food related here in Central Florida,” says Blake.

“When I started here in 2003, maybe one other one.”

Blake brought a group of chefs from around the country to Lake Meadow Naturals over the weekend for an event called ‘Women in the Kitchen: Legends, Mentors and Friends’, to celebrate the work of the James Beard Foundation in advancing women in the culinary industry.

“I’ve been working on this my entire career,” says Blake.

“I started out in San Francisco, and I had great mentors there that did a lot to promote women in the industry. I learned young, so I carried on and I’m trying to pay it forward.”

Blake says moving to the west coast as a 17 year old was an eye opening experience.

“Never having been any further west than the Colorado Rockies, it was a whole new world when I went out there.”

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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of earthquakes, criminal trials and rugby ... Read Full Bio »