Interview: Kate Von @ City & Shore Magazine

By Jane Wollman Rusoff

Given Palm Beach County’s bountiful crops of avocados, berries, corn, squash and lettuce, Kate von Schledorn, 28, a master chef specializing in plant-based cuisine shares her experience living in West Palm Beach.

A 2016 Cutthroat Kitchen winner on Food Network – known as Kate Von – has a degree in holistic nutrition and has had appointments as staff to some of the nation’s most high-profile VIPs, including the Kennedy and Shriver families, with whom she traveled the world.

Now she’s busy training personal chefs on wealthy folks’ payrolls to serve up delicious, healthful meals. The formerly peripatetic pro cook began concocting recipes at age 5 in the Milwaukee suburbs.

City & Shore: What do you enjoy about living in Palm Beach County?
Kate Von: There’s nothing like it. Palm Beach is a party, a [place] full of people who are here to create and have bold lifestyles. There’s Florida – and then there’s Palm Beach.

C&S: What do you think of the produce available here?
KV: I love fresh produce from Palm Beach! I always ask the farmers what vegetables have the most flavor and taste everything at the market before I bring it back to my kitchen. Farmers don’t mind! Avocados and citrus are great at the farmers market here. I discover what’s local and use it. Florida grows great tropical fruits, and most vegetables do well here – especially mushrooms.

C&S: Why should people become more aware of the availability of nutritious fresh produce?
KV: Because it supports a diet that’s rich in eating what’s in season. Our bodies adapt to the climate we’re in and thrive off whatever current crops are
growing nearby.

C&S: What fancy dish do you like to cook?
KV: Amazing little towers. All the layers are different. One might be corn salad; one, avocado; another, a green, like frisée; and then maybe a layer of mango salad.

C&S: Any recipes you use now that you created as a kid?
KV: My Super Shake smoothie. It’s dairy-free and delicious. The base is berries – I love raspberries; a big handful of greens, rich in calcium; a scoop of almond butter and half an avocado. Add a tablespoon of ground flax and one date. Blend it up with a little coconut-water ice; and you have your proteins, carbs and fats all in one drink.

C&S: It’s dairy-free. What about getting some calcium, though?
KV: People don’t realize how much calcium is in green plants. So even though my Super Shake smoothie has no dairy, it’s high in calcium.

C&S: What are your personal favorite dishes?
KV: Super Shakes and Super Salads. I make the salads with avocado, sunflower sprouts and arugula. Sprouts are amazing. Microgreens have macro ingredients. They’re almost more nutritious than regular greens.

C&S: You seem to really like avocados!
KV: It’s a real food and very nutritious – high in protein, and it has some of the best fats, which are good for the brain.

C&S: Top three ingredients everyone needs to have in their kitchen?
KV: First and foremost: pink Himalayan sea salt, which has trace minerals to give you energy. Number Two is coconut oil. You can put it in the pan; you can put it on your face. Number Three: green juice. Have it every single day. I drink green juice probably three times a day because I have so much work to do. It keeps me energized.

C&S: What foods should people avoid?
KV: Everybody needs to completely eliminate high-fructose corn syrup. Get it out of your diet. It turns on the neurotransmitters in your brain telling you you’re not satisfied. So you keep eating and eating. This is creating issues with blood sugar and obesity. High-fructose corn syrup is killing people.

C&S: Anything else on your ‘don’t list’?
KV: Chicken. In factory-farming warehouses, poor little chickens are sick and barely have room to move. Bright lights keep them in stress mode. The bottom line is: It’s always the source. If you don’t know the source, skip it and eat an avocado. White bread for breakfast sets you up for failure. Sourdough is better because it’s fermented and half-way digested, giving your gut less work to do.

C&S: In what way do you train personal chefs?
KV: To read labels and get rid of anything with corn syrup. I make tiny adjustments in people’s lives because all of it matters.

C&S: When you were a child, what did you love about cooking?
KV: I was such a foodie. I was always excited about creating something – a pie, a salad, cream puffs. I loved going to the garden and picking a whole bunch of different things and bringing them back to the kitchen to see what went together. We had a huge garden. My dad and I made salads every single night.

C&S: Favorite vegetable you picked from your dad’s garden?
KV: Mini, mini, petite button squash that look like little saucers. At almost every meal, I ate button squash. It’s so flavorful. Steam it, and put a good sauce over it.

C&S: What did you cook on a sinking boat when you were a Cutthroat Kitchen alumnus on Camp Cutthroat?
KV: An elk chili dog – leaner and better than beef.

Kate Von’s RECIPES
1 Cup frozen berries
1 big handful of greens
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
1 1/2 Cup coconut water
1/2 avocado
1 Medjool date
1 Tsp. cinnamon
1 Tsp. bee pollen

Method: Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass, top with fresh berries, granola bits, shredded coconut and bee pollen. Skip the straw – use a silver spoon.

1 Cup toasted pecans
1/2 Cup toasted pumpkin seeds
10 depitted Medjool dates
1/2 Cup gluten-free instant oats
3 Tbsps. coconut oil
1 Tsp. vanilla bean powder (or liquid)
3 Tbsps. maple syrup
Pinch Himalayan sea salt
1/2 Cup shredded coconut, for coating.

Method: Using a food processor, process pecans and pumpkin seeds until crumbly. Drop dates into processor a few at a time until well combined. Add coconut oil, oats, vanilla, maple syrup and sea salt. Pulse until combined. Using a one Tablespoon measurement, roll into balls, coat with shredded coconut and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Enjoy as a healthy treat or snack.

ONLINE BONUS: More recipes from Kate Von’s kitchen
Rawkin’ Squash Sauce
*Recipe makes 1 1/2 cup sauce

1 1/4 Cup raw cashews, soaked in a bowl of water for one hour
1/2 Cup vegetable broth
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. agave
2 Cloves garlic
2 Tsps. onion powder
1 Tsps. dried dill weed
1 1/2 Tsps. sea salt
1/4 Cup fresh chopped parsley

Von says: “Button squash is a unique and beautiful petite squash. It can be found at local farmers markets.”
METHOD: Soak cashews for one hour in a bowl of water. Rinse cashews and add to blender. Add the remaining ingredients, except the fresh parsley. Blend until smooth. Add fresh parsley and pulse quickly to incorporate. Pour over steamed button squash and top with more fresh parsley.

Makes 1 ½ cup of salad dressing

1 Avocado
1 Garlic clove
1/4 Cup olive oil
3/4 Cup fresh basil
1/4 Cup fresh parsley
1 Bunch fresh green onions
Juice from one lemon
1 Tsp. Himalayan sea salt
1/2 Cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsps. apple cider vinegar
1 Tsp. maple syrup

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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