“100 percent, everyone should work in a restaurant at some point in their life.”

Katie Pickens is a chef, recipe developer, host of YouTube show “How To Make It” for Eater NYC, and the Culinary Director for celebrity chef Michael Symon.

Growing up in an Eastern European family in Cleveland, Ohio, the kitchen was the heart of the household. Even before she could reach the stovetop, Katie began to learn the art of cooking.  Her grandmother taught her old family recipes and the techniques passed down through generations. This family history gave Katie the deeply-rooted desire to pass along the same soul-satisfying feeling to others through food, that “Ratatouille moment.”

After gaining experience in banquet style cooking, pastry, and working on the line at several restaurants in the Cleveland area, Katie landed a position at Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro. It is here that she often says her career started over. As the only female line cook at Lola at the time, she worked her way up to sous chef, and eventually was chosen to compete on Symon’s team on Food Network’s Iron Chef America. Through a combination of skill and years of experience working alongside Symon and other talented chefs at Lola, Katie mastered the intricacies of Symon’s cooking style. For this reason, she was asked to relocate to New York and become his Culinary Director. Since moving to NYC, Katie’s renewed passion and determination to learn, create, share and teach led her to take on new experiences, exploring outlets to share her culinary knowledge and passion for cooking.

After four seasons of Iron Chef, her working relationship with Food Network allowed her to freelance for them as a cook and food stylist. Katie also found Haven’s Kitchen, where she assisted in teaching cooking classes to home cooks of every skill level. She has cooked private dinners for clients in their homes around NYC and Cleveland, continuing to seek new experiences in an industry that is constantly evolving.

Katie enjoys volunteering with New York Cares to provide groceries to low income residents of urban neighborhoods. She loves shopping at farmer’s markets to stay inspired by the season, and is always cooking at home for her boyfriend and their dog. She continues to search for new experiences and unfamiliar territory to explore.

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