You can always identify a girl who has traveled the world by the state of her pantry and fridge — and no, we don’t mean empty, be mean cultured. Food writer and cookbook author, Kat Odell is constantly hopping from city to city, and her kitchen is a reflection of her experience. Like little souvenirs, her fridge is full of jars packed with ferments from Japan, Blueberries from Michigan, and all the fixings for her Czech grandmother’s soup recipe.
Kat is our go-to girl for finding healthy (and always beautiful) haunts in her home city of NYC — check them all out here. We get a little giddy when she sends us something like this poke bowl from Costa Rica or this unique Indian brunch spot. Kat has a way of seeing (and tasting) her way around the world in a way that reflects our approach to wellness: intentional, informed and always excited to discover more.
When she’s not sitting down at a multiple Michelin-starred spot, Kat keeps things balanced with plenty of plants and other whole food ingredients. Her upcoming cookbook, Unicorn Foods, comes out September 5th and features a slew of stunning yet wholesome recipes with a wellness slant. While we wait for the book to drop, explore some of Kat’s most delicious adventures on her Instagram, then dive into her personal pantry and fridge with our favorite series on the site, In My Fridge…
Food philosophy in one sentence:
Eat whole foods as close to nature as possible.
Always in my fridge:
7 recipe staples always on hand:
Good olive oil, limes, avocado, nori, nutritional yeast, Japanese rice vinegar, shiso salt.
Seaweed, rice crackers, corn crisps, raw almond butter, tahini, dried persimmons.
Japanese hot sauce, furikake, nutritional yeast, ground sansho pepper.
Ingredient that makes everything taste better:
Sea salt. And vinegar.
Wagyu, farmers market eggs, yakitori, nuts, seeds.
Farmers market bulk greens.
Best label-reading tip:
The fewer the ingredients, the better.
Fave veggie + what you make with it:
Kale. I don’t care if it’s trending, I can’t get enough of it. I like to make a lime, tahini, olive oil, garlic, dressing with just a touch of honey for balance.
Must-have pantry staples:
Oh jeez. So many. Right now my pantry is mostly filled with Japanese ingredients since I’ve been to Japan a few times this year and brought a ton of products back. Everything from different types of seaweed to vinegars to various furikake mixes to these tiny baby peanuts that are amazingly crunchy – sadly you can’t get them in the US.
Craziest thing I buy:
Tons of weird wellness products like amla for digestion, yacon syrup as a low glycemic sweetener, Blue Majic algae… oh and my boyfriend recently got some fresh wasabi root which we infused into this amazing Black Cow Vodka that’s made from whey. I am not a vodka drink, but this stuff is AMAZING, super rich and creamy for a vodka.
Sweets and other indulgences:
I try to stay away from processed sugar. At home we only have alternative sugars like maple syrup and many different types of honey. I am also especially keen on yacon syrup. I like to make sweets with these alt. sugars, and I also love seasonal fruit. Right now these baby Michigan blueberries are in season and they’re incredible! In terms of other indulgences, Japanese whisky (Yamazaki 18 is a favorite), mezcal, and Champagne. Champagne is really my go-to drink (Krug and Jacques Selosse being my top picks – in general, the older the better). I’ve also been into making Japanese cocktail at home lately. So, that means, just fresh fruit and booze, no added sugar other that what’s in the fruit. I take a seasonal ingredient, let’s say melon, and blend it with a bit of gin. Strain the mixture, pour it over rocks, and top with a good tonic water, like Fever Tree.
Dairy or non-dairy faves:
I tend to go non-dairy. I make my own nut milks so that’s typically what I drink. I am also a big fan of dehydrated coconut powder for AM drinks.
Skip labels that read:
I think it’s more about freshness. Try to shop at farmers markets if you can, and if you’re at a grocery store, stay to the outskirts where most of the fresher goods are located.
For last minute entertaining:
Guac! Make sure your avocadoes are ripe – lots of lime and good quality salt and done!
Favorite places to shop:
Farmer’s markets, local markets in different countries around the world.
Simple go-to recipe:
Avo toast. I love thin slices of hearty Danish rye bread. Toast, then top with a fan of avocado, lime zest, sea salt, sumac, and fresh lime juice.
Best food memory:
I attribute my love for food to my Czech grandmother. When I was growing up in Scarsdale, New York, my grandmother – who still lives in Prague – would come and stay with my family for a few months out of the year. She’s a great cook and is especially adept at soups. Her chicken soup is the single best thing I’ve ever eaten. Every day during elementary school I would ask for chicken soup, and despite my grandmother’s offers to make me something else for lunch — or at least a different kind of soup – I’d still ask for her to make chicken soup every day.