Katie Sanderson | Chef
I was at a wooden table with 7 others. Silence. I looked around, I could hear the drizzling rain dripping on the surfaces nearby, the sun was only showing it’s last bit of colour on the horizon and all our faces were lit by candles. Now that you’ve got the setting, the important detail was what was on the table in front of us. A dessert that was creating a silence no one dare break. I watched a girl across from me carefully place each teaspoon onto her taste pallet, smile, have a moment of joy, before lifting the next.
So I’ve described one dish, imagine this for a full course dinner for a whole night. Only Katie Sanderson can create such an incredibly tasty setting and she does so every month with her pop-up dinners called Living Dinners. I attempted to photograph the first night but gave up pretty much as the first kale chip hit my mouth and all concentration for visuals diminished into focus on taste. Lucky there was a second night and I was able to focus a little more... while eating the dinner again... and going back for seconds... and... what a great Pixel Trade.
Interview with Katie
Describe your most memorable adventure as a child.
I grew up in Hong Kong and we would come back to Ireland every summer to the West and that was an adventure in itself. Suddenly there was space and freedom and new land to explore… Blackberries to be picked, shells to be found, lakes with monsters and crabs to catch. There isn’t one in particular that stands out. But I had many…
What would you say was the biggest risk you’ve taken in your life?
I’ve always travelled when I get the urge and have dropped jobs to do so. Iv probably missed opportunities in a career sense but Iv gained a lot more.
You didn’t stop smiling the entire time you were cooking. What about cooking gives you so much joy?
I can’t really put it into words but I feel like I come alive when I’m cooking. For me it’s got a lot to do with a creative process but the beautiful thing and the reason I probably smile is being able to then share it.
When you’re creating your menus, what do you think is the most important aspect?
It needs to flow and have plenty of different aspects and surprises, almost like telling a story.
You grew up in Asia, why have your footsteps stopped in Ireland for now?
There is a lovely sense of creativity in Ireland at the moment. There are amazing people doing things that are totally inspiring not necessarily for financial gain but for something much greater. It’s a really buzzy time and for the first time my feet are only slightly itchy!
If you weren’t cooking, what would you be doing?
Well I d love to be a saxophone player and be very musical but I’m not. so I just appreciate it. Iv always been interested in photography. I had a darkroom in school and spent a lot of time in there watching images come alive it’s the same buzz for me. The creative process and then being able to share it.
When was the last time you were most happy?
On a camping trip to some of the islands of the coast of Ireland. It involved seeing the island like birds, some good whiskey and an abacus.
When was the last time you were most sad?
I think I might be in tune with the moon. We had a blue moon recently and in unison I had a pretty blue time. Mostly brought about by too much change and not feeling totally in control. It ended when I realized that change can be scary but also something to celebrate and be excited by.
Describe your most memorable adventure as an adult.
A few years ago I was working in Kenya and rainy season came about and I had a few months off. I had the urge for a trip and persuaded a friend to come to Malawi with me. We got on the bus the very next day and two days later ended up at the water. We travelled up and down the lake sleeping under stars, hitching and falling in love with life. It was epic and one of my fondest memories.
If you had to recommend a favourite music album, what would it be?
Penney Black by Chequerboard