Walking into Indigo you are surrounded by beautiful books, pretty home decor and incredible food products and gifts. Kathleen Holian, Senior Gourmet Category Manager at Indigo, is one lucky lady as she has a hand in not only sourcing, but creating, many of Indigo's signature gourmet products. Kathleen is a trained chef, writer, product developer and recipe designer. She’s even worked in TV, both on-and-off the camera, for The Martha Stewart Show in New York, which she touts as a "truly pivotal and life-changing experience." From overseeing Indigo’s gourmet selection, to testing new cookbooks and developing exclusive IndigoKitchen products, Kathleen is the secret ingredient to everything delicious at Indigo. Check out our Q & A with Kathleen below!
What was it like working on the Martha Stewart Show in NYC?
Working on the Martha Stewart show was truly a pivotal and life-changing experience for me. As you can imagine, it was invigorating, terrifying and amazing all at once. Overall, I just felt very lucky to be a part of the creative fabric of such a strong lifestyle brand. It's really where I learned a lot of the skills that I am able to use and bring to my work at Indigo. I owe a lot of what I am doing today to my time there.
Can you describe a day in the life of being the Senior Gourmet Category Manager at Indigo?
No two days are the same and it depends on the week. I could be out at stores, testing recipes in my kitchen or strategizing in the office. The only constant is that I am never bored!
What are the 3 favourite Indigo products you have had a part in developing or sourcing?
- IndigoKitchen's Spiked Pumpkin Pecan Bread. I developed the recipe for this product in my kitchen and people are always surprised that something so amazing can come from a box. It's all natural and has a high level of pure pumpkin.
- A toasted almond tea which I sourced from a small company in Toronto called Tealish. It's extraordinary.
- Grady’s small cold-brew coffee which is in a tin canister. I was thrilled when this product came out as it's filled with chicory, it’s ultra-smooth and it's very easy to make.
Describe your cooking philosophy in one sentence.
Let what’s happening outside dictate what’s happening inside. By this, I mean use and take advantage of seasonal produce. For example, if it’s November, you probably shouldn't be cooking with strawberries.
What kitchen gadget or tool do you swear by?
If I had to choose only one, it would be my knife sharpener.
What’s your can’t-live-without pantry ingredient?
That's tough because I think that there are a few necessary essentials. But here are my top three:
- Maldon Sea Salt
- Spanish smoked paprika – it's amazing on everything from avocado toast to devilled eggs to roasted pork loin.
- Two different kinds of olive oil, one standard for cooking and one really good extra-virgin olive oil for finishing.
Your weeknight go-to meal?
If I came home and had no dinner planned, I would make a grain bowl. Farrow, brown rice or quinoa, whatever veg I have on hand, a poached egg, sliced avocado and some hot sauce.
What is the best meal you have eaten at a restaurant?
Tough again! So, I will say my most recent best meal was at Fredericks V in Iceland. It’s a small restaurant and the staff were incredibly knowledgeable regarding the ingredients they used. We had a 9-course meal, and it was the bread basket that stood out the most. Seaweed and skyr butter was served with the bread and it was extraordinary.
What is your necessary indulgence?
I have two – good butter and good cheese.
What cookbook do you find yourself going back to time and time again?
Lately I have been turning back to Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison. It’s a beautiful, beautiful book about vegetables and all the things you can do with them.
What 3 cookbooks would you most recommend now?
Food52 Genius Recipes
The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson
The Summer Table by Lisa Lemke
What 3 famous people would you jump at the chance to have dinner and a drink with and why?
If I was having dinner at my house, I would invite Julia Childs, for her off the cuff humour, Frank Sinatra for entertainment and the Dali Lama to say grace.
Kathleen Holian is a trained chef, writer, product developer and recipe designer – she’s even worked in TV, both on-and-off the camera for The Martha Stewart Show in New York. From overseeing Indigo’s gourmet selection, to testing new cookbooks and developing exclusive IndigoKitchen products, Kathleen is the secret ingredient to everything delicious at Indigo.
Follow Indigo on twitter @chaptersindigo and Instagram @chaptersindigo