Hailee Catalano’s movies—which embrace scouring a farmer’s marketplace for husk cherries, constructing a two-foot-long sandwich, and plating turnips—aren’t manufactured to seize consideration. For those who scroll via her TikToks, you’ll discover that the style’s gimmicks—pulsating music, aggressively quirky commentary, and dudes in tank tops—are noticeably absent. And but, greater than 2 million persons are following Hailee’s each meal.
Of these 2 million individuals, many watch as a result of Hailee—a culinary college graduate and former line prepare dinner at Chicago’s Cellar Door Provisions—is a badass within the kitchen. With a tender, honest voice and an arsenal of well-trained culinary methods pouring into every of her movies, Hailee is the epitome of quiet confidence.
Some watch to allow them to make Hailee’s meals. Unsurprisingly, she makes this simple: On Hailee’s web site, you could find the recipe for any dish she’s made on digicam. For those who’re new to Hailee, enable me to advocate some entry factors: Garlic Scape Chimichurri, Zucchini Stuffed Shells, Home made Cavatelli and Pesto, Fig Tart.
I watch Hailee’s movies as a result of they’re sincere. Take her “coconut brown butter banana bread” video for instance. Sure, the bread—like all her different meals—threads the needle between stunning and approachable. And sure, I did instantly ship it to my girlfriend with the message “we make?” However essentially the most memorable element of the video is Hailee plainly narrating how she initially struggled to interrupt into meals media. She doesn’t reveal something overly dramatic, she simply places it on the market.
Not too long ago, we caught up with Hailee to be taught extra concerning the meals that conjures up her, the video she nonetheless hasn’t nailed, and why she loves olive oil and ice cream a lot.
Paul: With a lot meals content material on the market, there’s 1,000,000 shops you can draw inspiration from. What’s the primary place you flip to if you want an concept for a brand new recipe?
Hailee: I have a tendency to show to what produce is in season and go from there! I like to pick a seasonal ingredient/substances that I wish to function after which brainstorm dishes primarily based on what I’m within the temper to eat, favourite childhood dishes, or enjoyable twists on classics!
In your spaghet video, you talked about that you simply realized concerning the drink (a Miller Excessive Life topped with Aperol) whereas cooking in Chicago. Are there some other restaurant snacks/drinks you continue to hold in your again pocket?
I did! One other drink I nonetheless have typically is simply glowing water with any form of bitters, and lemon. I might all the time have an upset abdomen after an evening cooking on the road from tasting so many issues again and again, so a bartender made that for me one evening and it helped sooo a lot! So far as snacks, it normally was simply combining any bizarre combo of issues in my mise en place.
Your dishes all the time plate very effectively. How do you go about selecting the best plate or bowl for the dish you’re making? What are another stuff you think about whereas plating?
Thanks! I all the time strive to consider how I might need somebody to eat the dish, so I wish to plate issues in a method that might encourage individuals to get “the proper chunk”. I additionally all the time think about contrasting colours and textures. I believe there’s an class in simplicity as effectively.
Your love for a sandwich on the seaside is well-documented, however I’d like to find out about your chip desire. What’s your go-to chip (doesn’t must be potato) and what do you want about it?
Haha sure! I undoubtedly undergo chip phases, however currently, [Lay’s] Kettle Cooked Maui Onion has been my go-to. They’re savory whereas additionally being a contact candy, which I really like with a sub that has a great quantity of purple wine vinegar. It is a good stability!
You’ve shared a couple of movies of ice cream topped with olive oil. Why does this combo work so effectively?
To me, it really works so effectively as a result of it’s sort of a type of guiding the lily issues. Ice cream and olive oil are a few of my favourite issues, so them collectively kinda simply make the opposite one even higher. Additionally, the slight acidity in olive oil pairs nice with creamy, wealthy ice cream.
Whereas your whole meals seems unbelievable, I’m positive—like all people else—you mess up often. Are there any of your movies that had been—for some motive—notably difficult or messy?
Whereas I don’t do it typically, anytime I prepare dinner steak for a video, it’s so exhausting to seize the pictures whereas nonetheless cooking the steak to the temp I would like. All of the basting will get all the pieces, together with my cellphone/filming gear, all greasy and it is actually a large number. I’ve determined any further, I solely do steak movies if I’ve somebody serving to me movie (that means [my partner] Chuck).
Extra from Food52
Who’re a few of your favourite cooks on TikTok? Tell us within the feedback beneath!