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About Laurel Street Kitchen

Tucked away behind a dreamy little courtyard covered in jasmine, Laurel Street Kitchen is home base. It's the place where I cook for my family and friends and explore all that California has to offer. It's where I'm figuring out what story I ultimately want to tell around food, and the journey of where that takes us — both in and around our kitchen.

About the food

Here you'll find a mix of my white girl take on ethnic foods, along with stories from the people and places that inspire them. While I try to make mostly healthy renditions of the dishes my husband and I grew up eating, there's a smattering of real comfort food.

About renee

I'm a freelance food journalist based in San Francisco who cooks, travels and eats a lot. My primary taste testers are my Indian hubby, K, and our baby girl, Lulu. 

While my roots ground me to Alabama, I spent the first eight years of my life in Mexico. Maybe I'm really a southerner at heart, but my first word was "mas" and I would take a bowl of beans and rice over grits any day. When we moved to the states, my mother remarried to an Italian guy who grew up in Libya. Traditional pasta dishes and steak tacos with pico de gallo were weekly staples growing up (things that served me well in college). Then I met K and the vast world of Indian food opened up. 

I landed in the Bay Area by way of Washington D.C. after a year of traveling around the world. Shortly after declaring San Francisco home, I learned the ins and outs of the restaurant world when I landed a gig as a hospitality reporter. While it was wonderful to simply write about the world of food, I wanted to dig deeper. So, I took my research on all things culinary into the kitchen. K and I put up some serious change for culinary school and did a couple of (very brief) stints at some stellar restaurants in the city. I even took a job as the test kitchen manager of an organic meal kit delivery company, where I actually got paid to write and taste recipes, as well as develop a few of my own. Finally, I turned back to freelancing.  

What I'm learning is that the more I cook, the more I find myself in between all these cultures. They're different, of course, but similar in so many ways, with strong traditions around food and family. 

My aim here is to build something beautiful, raw and real. I hope you join me as I explore the world through my California kitchen with weekly recipes that are approachable and diverse, interviews with chefs that have taught me something, and culinary travel stories to inspire more trips to fabulous destinations around the world.