Hi There I’m Kelly. Like most people I know, I love food and anywhere my next good meal is coming from. I work as a chef now but went to school for design and marketing, then had a career in advertising in NYC before resigning to follow my passion and do what I really love — cooking for families and helping them eat healthier better-tasting meals at home.
Outside of private chef work, I’ve been fortunate to have worked on a few food-related projects and collaborated with some talented people (way more talented than myself). And I’m like anyone else who loves being in the kitchen — forever and constantly learning, growing, and experimenting with any ingredients I can get my hands on.
I hope that what I’ve learned while cooking for families and teaching people how to cook both at home and abroad, you can find something useful here that might help you and your family eat a little better and more often at home. As I build and grow this site, the near-term goal is to get more people cooking tastier, healthier meals in their own kitchens and to get more kiddos in there to help out and learn right alongside them.
When you visit here, you’ll find recipes that are always fresh, flavorful, and taste good because I believe everything in moderation and good ingredients are key to a happy balanced life (and this includes dessert, pasta, and pizza). And every single recipe is something that I actually eat and drink that we enjoy (in real life). The recipes here vary and reflect my life experiences through food, including my Southern roots, living in NYC, as well as living abroad in Chengdu, Sichuan China, and now Northeast Italy. Sometimes it’ll be a recipe that was a client favorite, one that’s been passed down a generation or two, or something I learned from the Sichuan chefs I worked with, or learned from my Italian family here in the Veneto and further south in Abruzzo. You’ll never find a recipe here that we don’t actually love.
Why do I list all metric equivalents in grams? I weigh and measure ingredients for every recipe which is why I write ALL metric equivalents in gram measurements. It’s just easier to keep the scale on one measurement as opposed to switching back and forth between milliliters, fluid ounces, grams, etc. I figure there are enough busy people like me who don’t want the hassle of switching back and forth while weighing multiple ingredients. For this reason, all ingredient amounts called for which are listed at the end of each individual ingredient are provided in grams (even liquids). Feel free to use the tool within the recipe card to get the ml, fluid ounces, etc. measurements should you want to use these instead.
I’m fairly new to food blogging (as you can probably tell) and it comes with a steep learning curve (for everything from SEO to how to write a post that really helps you the reader take that recipe and get the best results on the first try). And, while I’m a one-woman show, I’m also lucky to get helpful advice from Luca my partner in crime of 14 years. Biting at the Bits is a lot of work, but I really love it, and I hope it shows in the quality of the recipes. I invite you to come back from time to time to see the progress and to help us grow — and maybe find a new recipe while you’re here.
Whether you’re cooking for yourself, your family, or someone who needs to eat a little healthier, or you just need a really good pasta to make for a special date night, the ultimate goal is that you can find it here. We’ll also be working to help raise awareness and money for children’s brain cancer research and the families living with this disease. It’s become a cause that’s near and dear to our family after losing our Mom to brain cancer. In fact, this blog and its name started because of her (she was awesome, super funny and kind, and shared everything she had — I’m trying to be more like her).
What’s in a name?
Countless times throughout my life, Mom would say, “Sugar, I bet you’re just bitin’ at the bits to…(fill in the blank)!” It was her way of letting me know she knew how excited I was, or how much anticipation (or anxiety) I was experiencing for my next move or for a particular project to start or come to an end. She also thought that a food blog should be my next project. So this is the only name that made sense to me♡.
A few professional highlights.
- Catered The Russ & Daughters Annual Herring event (assisting the guest chef Linda Steen for that year).
- Catered The 85th Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences Best Foreign Film Selection Event as part of an all-female team for the annual 3-day event at the Academy Theater Lighthouse International in Manhattan (where the “best foreign film” nominees are selected by a group of esteemed actors, directors, producers, and other industry people). I met Meryl Streep and she was pretty cool.
- Cookware and kitchen equipment/appliances product tester for national and international brands at The Broadway Panhandler, NYC (Kitchen Aid, Vitamix, WMF, Le Creuset, All-Clad, Kyocera, Cuisinart, Silit, Breville, Berndes, Swiss Diamond, etc.)
- Conducted food demonstrations, The Broadway Panhandler + West Elm in NYC, NY
- First online cooking class on Skillshare.com on their digital platform – Southern Fried Chicken + Buttermilk Biscuits (they’re a really fun, smart, and creative group of people over there — I was so nervous I was actually shaking part of the time, but they came into my home and did an excellent job filming and you know, I got through it).
- Taught one-on-one private cooking lessons, in NYC, NY
- Invited by CEO of Campbell’s Soup, Denise Morrison to participate in a Food + Innovation Women Entrepreneur (Camp Campbell) event at Campbell’s Soup HQ to ideate and brainstorm about the future of food and the role that Campbell Soup could play (along with 3 other female entrepreneurs from NYC and lots of talented women from around the tri-state area). At the event, Denise sat with us at our table and she asked me to be candid about the pros and cons of Campbell’s Soup products. I told her that their products had been a staple in our home growing up, but that I didn’t eat or use them anymore because of the sodium and highly processed ingredients. I recommended to her that they might try to find a way to reduce the high amounts of sodium and overly processed ingredients and provide organic options to customers to potentially gain back some old customers. Or gain a new customer base looking for healthier convenience choices. (I’d like to think that maybe I played a teeny tiny part in the new line of organic soups they introduced a year later, but I’m pretty sure they’d already been working on that project before my comment♡).
- Collaborated on designing and opening a holistic English language & Western Immersion learning site including a Western-style cooking school to teach kids of all ages and adults how to cook authentic Western cuisine, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China
If you’re actually still reading at this point it’s probably because you’re family or someone I know from childhood (if that’s you, hey hey! ♡).
The Inspiration for Biting at the Bits
The brightest of all lights. This blog is a dedication to my pretty awesome Mama♡. She nurtured and inspired my curiosity and passion for being in the kitchen and instilled in me an absolute love for gardening, canning, cooking, and baking (specifically bread). As an adult, I’ve been able to use some of the same lessons she taught me as a child to help her leading up to and throughout her brain cancer diagnosis. I was fortunate enough to be there to take care of her (along with my amazing cousin, Lorraine who did more for my Mom than is ever possible to list here. They shared a deep kinship and love for one another and I am forever grateful for her. I’ve never worked harder for anyone or anything in my life and I know that as difficult emotionally and physically as it was, it was an absolute privilege and a gift for me to be able to be there with her and for her.
Before we knew Mom had cancer she was having health issues which prompted me to come home. Through food and nutrition (cooking unprocessed, whole natural foods), I was able to help lower the ammonia levels in her brain to non-toxic levels and keep them stable, reduce and stabilize her blood sugar, and see marked improvements in both her liver and kidney functions. During this time she also began physical therapy to help further her recovery (we love you, Bill and Janelle you were THE BEST♡). Eventually, her health greatly improved because of the whole foods diet and physical therapy regimen she was on. This was all before we knew she had cancer. Along with the oversight and full approval of her primary care doctor, we were able to wean her off of all but one medication she had been on up to this point. For this last medicine, the Dr. reduced the dosage to the minimum amount explaining that although he could technically take her off of it, he wanted to keep her on it just in case I needed to fly home for an emergency and was no longer able to continue the regimen and diet for her.
For me, knowing that the food I was preparing all those months, helped give her a better quality of life (and perhaps a bit longer one too) is something tangible and wrapped up with more love than I can even express here. Because this meant, just a little more time with us kids, her grandchildren who she absolutely lived for, and her friends and family who loved her. And time spent in good (or better) health is what we’re all after I think. Mom wanted me to share this experience and these recipes with others so maybe it can help your family too. I haven’t yet added these recipes to the blog because losing her is still pretty raw. But, I’m getting there and hope to soon have a resource for these recipes available to you should you ever need them.
The room I grew up in. My Mom brought me into the kitchen to “help” her when I was barely even old enough to make a mess. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on the countertop helping to stir the milk and butter into the mashed potatoes with a wooden spoon, licking the beaters and spatulas dripping with chocolate cake batter, and of her always reminding me to “pinch off a piece of dough and taste it first so you’ll know it’s good!”.
To this day, there isn’t a single dough that I make that doesn’t get a little “mama pinch” before being baked. One of my favorite memories is when she would make her locally famous cinnamon rolls. She’d sit me up on top of the counter, roll out the dough and then let me butter it (which to me felt like clouds under my tiny hands), and then we’d both sprinkle cinnamon sugar all over it together. I’d sit and lick my hands while she filled in the gaps that I’d missed. Above all, she had the most patience of any person I’ve ever known in my life and gave each of us kids absolute and unconditional love, no strings attached. This has been and will remain, the single greatest gift of my life. She taught us that anything is possible if we believed in it and worked for it. And yea, my Mom was totally imperfect like we all are, but she was extraordinary too and this was her superpower. The rest of my childhood was spent outdoors, mostly running around barefoot. And it was awesome.
The little engine that could. The heart and soul of our home is always the kitchen no matter where we are in the world. I’m pretty sure it’s the same for you too. It’s the engine that fuels our life, productivity, and celebrations — it’s a large part of our most cherished moments. The kitchen is the best room in the house in my opinion. And for me, cooking and being in the kitchen, standing over a grill, or sitting around a fire, has always been my favorite place to be.
Our family history. Like everyone else’s, our family history runs deep and wide and is full of excellent cooks and strong, resourceful women and men (including my Dad who’s also a great cook.♡) who raised generation after generation to know their way around the kitchen — teaching one after the other, how to survive and thrive on what Mama Earth gives us. My family has been in the Arkansas River Valley for generations coming as immigrants mostly from England, Ireland, Poland, and Germany. It’s a beautiful, wonderfully imperfect place to have been raised and I’ll always have the deepest and strongest of roots there. Eating local and close to our food source was how we were raised and even though I love to use all kinds of global ingredients for different types of dishes, I’ll always appreciate and understand the necessity (and deliciousness) of eating seasonally and locally no matter where I am in the world. And this is why I travel — to taste amazing foods from other cities and countries and learn about new cultures and enjoy as much of it as I can.