Years ago, when Kate and I worked together on a fashion and beauty magazine in London, I don't think we ever talked about food! Maybe to decide whether to order more chips (fries) to go with the more wine that was definitely already ordered at our team's frequent outings to the now long-gone Jamie's on Charlotte Street or to the Carpenter's Arms (where I actually met up with lots of our old colleagues at the Christmas reunion a few weeks ago).
So it's interesting that we both always had this passion for good food, fresh food - for good eating and good living and that we would re-connect over that shared passion.
Kate moved back to Sydney some years ago, where she lives with husband Nathan and their incredibly cute Boston Terrier, Harley.
Whilst I kind of 'saw' her now and then on Facebook, when she launched her blog, I was just like, 'ooooh, now this I really do want to read!' - and I was inspired too, and seeing her launch her blog was definitely an inspiration for me to launch mine too.
And I am a foodies agenda fan - Kate's recipes are lovely, using fresh food, her website beautiful and the photography gorgeous.
So it was definitely about time I got in touch and had a chat to find out more.
I also asked if she would share a recipe with me - and she sent me one for her Citrus Yogurt Cake. I did have a few nerves as I am no baker ... but I have just made it and it's so simple and so delicious!
When asked why she chose this recipe Kate's reply perfectly introduced what her blog, foodies agenda, is all about.
It was such a pleasure to catch up and talk with her - I hope you enjoy this conversation too.
let's start at the beginning ... how did foodies agenda come about?
I've always been wildly passionate about food so it was inevitable I think that I'd create something like foodies agenda. I also love writing and photography so launching a blog was the perfect vehicle to share my musings.
I launched it in March 2013 and haven't looked back. It's been my baby.
What was your inspiration, What made you want to launch it?
I remember at the time I was following the blog Made By Girl and thinking, 'hey I could do something like this' (but obviously focused around food vs home interiors and fashion).
I was also in a pretty stale place in my career and had this incredibly strong urge to challenge myself with a new project, something which would take me outside of my comfort zone.
I have to say launching a blog definitely did that!
I didn't know a thing about building a website so the day I first pressed 'publish' was a incredibly exciting one.
And has it evolved in the way you'd thought it would?
To be honest, when I first launched foodies agenda I didn't really have a grand vision, it was more to fuel my own passion for food and ignite a creative spark within.
After a year or so the blog started to gain traction, the readership and subscriber base grew which led me to think more about my audience vs my own personal desires.
After conducting my first reader survey earlier this year, I re-shaped the blog and came up with a clear tag line 'Real Food, Real Living, Real Stories' as I wanted to make it clear to new readers what to expect from the blog. Prior to that it was probably a bit confusing.
I'm happy where it's at now, but I have plenty more to give and lots of goals still to be kicked.
HOW ABoUT ANY UNEXPECTED TURNS?
Falling pregnant this year unexpectedly impacted my progress and momentum with the blog. I'm a pretty ambitious person and strive to 'have it all', but this pregnancy has taught me that I can't control everything and at times I just have to let it go.
With a loss of energy and quite strangely an appetite, it's been challenging to keep the regular posts going. I've learnt that I can 'have it all' (in the humblest way), but just not at all at the same time, and that's ok.
What's your favourite thing about running Foodies Agenda?
I absolutely love it when I get feedback from readers, whether it's a short comment on the blog or a lovely written email. I feel incredibly grateful that someone has shared their precious time with me.
I know you work full time and now have a baby on the way ...
has it been difficult finding time for Foodies Agenda and combining it with work?
Yes and Yes!
It's been a challenging period trying to balance it all and I'm sure it's going to get even harder when bub arrives. Like I said, I've learnt to take a step back and not put too much pressure on the situation.
I am focused on making each blog post really count now. I want to produce recipes and stories that really serve to help, inspire and entertain.
Having an editorial calendar really helps too. I tend to plan two months in advance so I don't face that last minute panic of, 'I need to get a post out, what should I write about?!'
IS FOOD AND COOKING SOMETHING YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN? and did you always want it be something you did?
Yes, I've definitely always had a soft spot for food. Actually my whole family are a bunch of foodies so really it's in my blood.
As I've gotten older, the urge to immerse myself within the food industry has become bigger and bigger.
I don't necessarily want to become a chef or anything but the path I'm on now is way of me trying to figure out the real answer to this question.
What are you most proud of in what you've achieved?
To begin with, launching foodies agenda in the first place. Despite how cringeworthy it is looking back at my earliest posts, I am proud of what I've built.
Secondly, receiving acknowledgement over the last couple of years from two Australian industry awards, Pedestrian TV Blogster Of The Year 2014 finalist and more recently a finalist in KidSpots' Voices Of 2015.
And what's been most challenging?
Time and maintaining a regular presence has and continues to be a challenge. But whilst I still have that fire in my belly, I'll continue to cook, write, photograph and blog away.
what's the best meal you've ever had?
I feel incredibly lucky to have had many 'best' meals!
I've travelled to 38 countries to date, so have experienced the joy of discovering new flavours and cultural experiences time and time again.
A few standouts would be the New Year's dinner I had at the Mandarin Bar & Gill in Hong Kong; eating a bowl of fresh pasta full of ripe tomatoes and seafood in Sorrento, Italy; and closer to home dining at a local favourite Italian called Chiosco by the water, sipping on Rose and eating their Prawn, Bottarga, Tomato and Lemon Spaghetti dish.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR FOODIES AGENDA? WHAT'S YOUR AMBITION FOR IT
My dream is to publish a hardback cookbook, so building my community and recipe collection via the blog is part of that journey. I'd love for foodies agenda to become a true hub for foodies who share the same passion and ethos for food.
But for the next few months, just keeping my ahead above water will be a win!
And, just for fun ... what are a few of your favourite things?
Peonies, dogs, rose, laughing with hubby, cooking for loved ones ...
... and Sunday morning walks by the beach, flat white in hand.
And finally - no-one visiting Sydney should leave without ...?
Having a glass of champagne at the Opera Bar.
Ps. Since we spoke, Kate and Nathan have become parents of their first baby, beautiful daughter Isla.