Kitchen Careers: Brooke McLay, Food Blogger

Kitchen Careers is a regular feature that goes behind-the-scenes with chefs, bloggers, critics and others in the food industry to get the inside scoop on what its like to cook, or eat, for a living.

In this edition, PBS talks with Brooke McLay, the blogger behind the wildly popular CheekyKitchen.com, and video blogger for Betty Crocker. Brooke focuses on family-friendly dishes made with healthy, whole foods. On top of running her successful blog, Brooke is a mother to “four fabu children.”

Who is your culinary icon?

I love the anyone who has ever created a recipe for Everyday Food. Their simple, fresh recipes are a mainstay in my kitchen!

Why do you love to cook?

Cooking connects me to the nostalgic past. It’s warm and welcoming, something to do with my hands, the daily act of creating little blessings of love and health for family and friends, and myself.

What is the best part about being a food blogger?

Being in the spotlight as a food blogger encourages me to constantly be improving my skills and understandings about food and cooking. Better yet, I get to do it with my kids, in my home, and–when I get really lucky–it flies me around the nation for events that have introduced me to some of my best and dearest friends.

Who would you want to battle on Iron Chef?

Oh, for the love. Not a single person. I’d be terrified to go head to head with another chef.

Cheese Breadsticks

Cheese Breadsticks

What was your first published recipe?

A hawaiian chicken recipe made for the first cooking contest I ever entered. I made a video of how to cook that recipe, decorated my kitchen in flower leis, and donned a muu-muu. It was horrid. But, it won the contest. So, it must have tasted good enough to combat my poor taste in decor and dress.


Clifford The Big Red Dog

What three PBS personalities would you invite to dinner?

I’d have to go with Rick Bayless, in the hopes that we’d be able to eat one of his divine treats over dinner. Mr. Rogers would join us because I admire him immensely and he was such a role model of kindness when I was a child. And my own kids wouldn’t think it’s fair if Clifford The Big Red Dog didn’t join us, as well.

What is your favorite food city?

My favorite meals ever were eaten on a food blogging trip in Monterey, California. I’ve loved that city ever since for it’s fresh, local, sustainable approach to cuisine. Gorgeous!

In one tweet (140 characters or less), what is your culinary style?

A fresh, fun approach to cooking for a family. Dessert is never optional.

Brownie Cookie

Not. Optional.

What meal/snack is your guilty pleasure?

Oh, I could never, ever in a hundred years choose just one. But, I must say that living without theatre popcorn would be just totally devastating. Dipping my hand into a tub of salty, buttery popcorn at the movies is one of the finest of life’s little pleasures.

Kids in the Kitchen

Brooke loves cooking with her four "fabu" kids.

What is your favorite under appreciated kitchen tool?

Sharp knives. I don’t have a one. So I am determined to someday never take them for granted, whenever I do get me a gleaming set of knives.

When outside the kitchen, how do you spend your time?

Doing laundry. I’m never caught up, and if one day I ever do catch up, I’ll spend my time reading enlightening books, power walking through forests, and visiting far off countries on service trips.

What is your advice for amateur cooks?

Don’t get fancy. There are a lot of perfectly simple, easy recipes that you can manage as a kitchen newbie. Before making any recipe, read through all of the ingredients. Do they sound like they’d be good together? Then, they probably will be. That’s a good recipe. Stick with cooking recipes that make you say, “wow, that sounds really, really good.” And, always clean your stove and kitchen sink after every meal. It makes the next meal so much less overwhelming to make.

Blitz Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza

Is there a person in the food industry or a type of “Kitchen Careers” that you would like to know more about? Add your suggestions in the comment section!

  • Campbell Whitman

    I really enjoyed reading this as a chef on a restaurant in Paris and a “blogger” on the side, it was great to read how other people feel about their chosen FOOD profession!

  • http://www.kelvinddavis.com/ K.D. Davis

    “Dont Get Fancy” This hits the nail on the head.