Katie Barszcz brings the best of her “wicked small” kitchen to yours

Career, Food, Food Blog

       You Can’t Beet This Chef!

Katie Barszcz brings the best of her “wicked small” kitchen to yours

By Matt Robinson

SkinnyBeet Owners Katie and Richard

Whoever said too many cooks spoilt the broth never met Katie Barszcz. Though she has become well known for her popular blog, The Small Boston Kitchen (www.onceuponasmallbostonkitchen.blogspot.com), Barszcz is making an even bigger name for herself as the “better half” of the dynamic duo known as The Skinny Beet (www.theskinnybeet.com).

Named for the translations of her last name and that of her partner, Richard Chudy (apparently, in their native languages, Chudy loosely translates to “Skinny” and Barszcz translates to “Beet Soup”), The Skinny Beet is a two-headed culinary creation that can cater (literally and figuratively) to any taste. From home cooking made at someone else’s home to in-home cooking lessons (a GREAT idea for a special gift for your “sous chef”) to dinner party prep and other food-related services, Barszcz and Chudy bring the best of their talent-filled kitchen and their love-filled home to yours.

Having started her career in HR, Barszcz eventually followed her nose into the kitchen and never returned.   “Right out of college, my first job offer that I ever got was for a recruiting position,” Barszcz  recalls, “and I jumped at the chance!” Though the job security was pleasant enough, that was about it. Lacking a sense of calling for a job that had her calling people about jobs, Barszcz began to explore other passions.

“I have always loved cooking,” she says, noting that it is the creativity of the art that first drew her to it.  However, she notes, It was not until about five years ago that she “seriously got into” cooking and became obsessed with creating my own recipes.”  As she was still working HR, Barszcz fed her food fantasies with her Small Boston Kitchen blog, which she used to “document all of my recipes and to track my progress.” In addition to finding a passion for cooking and creation, she also got into food photography and writing. As her avocation began to look more and more like a possible vocation, Barszcz began reaching out to every restaurateur and chef she could find, hoping for guidance and further inspiration. “ I had met Richard at a blogger dinner,” she recalls, explaining how her eventual partner and soon-to-be-husband entered the picture. “I was very interested in his career as a personal chef. I asked if we could meet to talk further and the following week.” As Chudy is also known for his own blog, the helpful hamburger helper known as the Boston Burger Blog (www.bostonburgerblog.com), there was no question what would be enjoyed during that first meeting.  “We met to talk over a burger,” Barszcz smiles, “of course!”

After their medium-rare meeting, Barszcz knew that she had to make a change. “I decided that I wanted to focus on pursuing a career as a personal chef,” she explains. As she wanted to “do this right,”  Barszcz realized that she had to get some formal training. “I decided the only way for me to move on to the next step was to dive into it and devote myself to it,” she recalls. “So I quit my job and I enrolled in the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.”  All during her formal studies, Barszcz was meeting with Chudy once a week (over burgers) to see what he was up to and to glean what she could from a more experienced mentor.

“He’s let me tag along with him to catering gigs,” she recalls, blushingly hinting at the roots of their romantic affiliation. “When I graduated culinary school, we decided to move in together and start our own joint venture personal chef and catering company.”
Thus The Skinny Beet was born!

Preferring cheese to chocolate, Barszcz often provides the savory spice in the Skinny Beet scenario. Even so, she and Chudy always find a way to bring the best flavor out of life for themselves and their clients.

“We now spend our time cooking for families and individuals for weekly meals, dinner parties, in-home classes and demos,” Barszcz says, noting that  she and her partner also offer awesome one-night/one-pot lessons at Boston Center for Adult Education and other venues. “Recently, we’ve gotten into larger scale parties like private parties and weddings, something we’ve found particularly fun because we’re in the middle of planning our own wedding!”

With all the preparation it takes for each meal and each lesson, it seems amazing that even two chefs can find the time for romance, let alone for wedding planning! But that is what makes the Skinny Beet work so well- Two people sharing one vision.

“To say that owning our own business isn’t stressful or scary at times is an understatement,” Barszcz admits, “but the amount of pleasure that I get out of what I do makes up for it and I wouldn’t change a thing. I get to do what I love with who I love, what could be better than that?”

So while many of Boston’s best-known chefs are known by one name (e.g., Andy, Barbara, Gordon, Jasper, Jody), in this case, two names (and two chefs) are truly better than one!


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