Get Cooking
By Athena Raypold

An Epicurean and a Traveler

Born in the U.K., Get Cooking chef and owner, Kathryn Joel, has been a world traveler and a food lover her entire life. Moving and traveling around Europe until her family made the trek to Canada when she was 13, Kathryn’s mother went to culinary school in Toronto and opened her own catering company, giving Kathryn cooking and work experience throughout university.

After university, Kathryn returned to the U.K. and landed a job with a Japanese investment bank. Although she’d built a lucrative career there, she wasn’t fulfilled: “As I was doing it, it just wasn’t me,” says Kathryn. “I was in a world that I had no affinity to; I had friends there, I liked the people, but I was lost in the work. So I started taking days off to do cooking classes.”

I’ve traveled extensively and lived in many countries, so I think that’s my strength, a fairly strong understanding of flavours from abroad with a passion for local food. - Kathryn Joel, chef and owner
Get Cooking is a hub for local and international chefs to get together
Photo by Dave Tameling Photography

A Lifelong Learner and Teacher

Falling in love with a little shop and cooking school in Notting Hill, Kathryn found a gratification her career didn’t provide. “I’ve been cooking since I was seven,” says Kathryn. “I loved it, just never thought of it as a career. So, I was trying to hone my cooking skills, I threw dinner parties with my friends all the time, and I was like, ‘Man, I love this! What am I doing in a bank?'”

After a year of saving, Kathryn entered Le Cordon Bleu London’s culinary program. Le Cordon Bleu gave Kathryn a solid foundation and knowledge of French cuisine, but, she says, “I didn’t really find it very applicable to the kind of foods I love and what I wanted to do. So, I came out with a bit of a confidence crisis.”

After spending the next 10 years traveling, taking classics courses and having children, Kathryn went back to culinary school, but this time to Leiths School of Food and Wine. Leiths introduced Kathryn to the Seafood Training School in Billingsgate, where she did work experience and discovered teaching. “I loved it, teaching food; it was amazing," she says. "I was lucky enough to teach some of the kids’ classes. They bring in a class of disadvantaged school kids from London, put them in a wet room, get them to handle fish and then teach them how to cook it. And, some of these kids had never seen fresh fish, all they’d seen was a fish finger.”

Get Cooking uses local ingredients and global-inspired recipes for its cooking classes
Photo by Dave Tameling Photography

Local Ingredients and Global Cooking

Inspired by Leiths, the Seafood Training School, and Divertimenti’s Cookery School, Kathryn renovated her home kitchen to teach cooking. “I had this idea of a chef’s table and the very casual mix of you can jump up and cook if you want to, but if you just want to sit back and chill out, that’s fine too – you don’t have to cook; it’s really low pressure," she says.

Because community is essential to Kathryn’s food and business philosophy, she has built strong, lasting partnerships with local producers and suppliers. “I am personally all about global cuisines,” she says. ”I’ve traveled extensively and lived in many countries, so I think that’s my strength, a fairly strong understanding of flavours from abroad with a passion for local food.”

Since starting Get Cooking, the company has evolved to become a hub for local and international chefs, adding to Kathryn’s “Think Local. Cook Global” philosophy. Starting out as the sole instructor, Kathryn now employs many chefs that present a variety of courses and experiences. Kathryn and her team work hard to provide a five star experience for their customers, while inspiring them to use local ingredients, to be adventurous, and to cook confidently. “My idea of teaching people to cook is empowering them," she says. "I want them to feel like they’re as good a cook as I am. They can walk out of here duplicating or bettering what they’ve learned. Feeling that confidence … To teach them, perhaps, that recipes are just a guide and to enjoy their food, to get it out and just cook. Just to enjoy it.”

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