Blogger Spotlight: Blank Palate
October 27th, 2010
02:30 PM ET
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Every so often, we're highlighting a local or regional blogger we think you ought to know about. We can’t be everywhere at once, so we look to these passionate eaters, cooks and writers to keep us tapped into every facet of the food world. Consider this a way to get to know a blog’s taste buds, because, well, you should.

Who: Marti Buckley Kilpatrick, of Blank Palate
Where: San Sebastián, Spain
Twitter: @martibk

My journey with food began almost six years ago, when I rolled up to a ten-story apartment building in Pamplona, Spain, as an exchange student without a clue. Seven months in northern Spain and two French roommates were a revelation.

I learned something my mother, with her Kraft macaroni and ketchup-topped meatloaf, never passed on: cooking things from scratch can be a part of daily life. I also learned something that my country, with its industrialized farming and oversized interstate food trucks, seemed to have forgotten: the less you mess with nature, the better it tastes.

Armed with this potent, yet amateur-ish knowledge, I dove into the world of home cooks: Gourmet, Bon Appétit, M.F.K. Fisher, Nordljus and Donna Hay. After I graduated college, I returned to Birmingham, Alabama, and got a real journalism job at Southern Living magazine. It was during this bout that I started Blank Palate, mostly as a place to document the perfecting of basic recipes like salsa, cookies and marshmallows.

The birth of my daughter kept me at home for nearly a year, until the day I decided to do a stage in one of Birmingham's best restaurants, Frank Stitt's Bottega. It was both exhilarating and frightening and after eight hours in the kitchen, I was relieved when they let me go, mentally checking off the professional kitchen box of my bucket list. Until, that is, the chef de cuisine stopped me and said I could come back any time, like tomorrow. So I did. And I kept going back, until they hired me. I spent nearly two years in that kitchen, working my way up from a titleless grunt to salad girl to the line. I was a mom, freelance writer and blogger by day, and spent my nights sweating in my chef whites.

My favorite blogs are the ones that regularly take me to places I wish I could be, culinarily and geographically speaking. This summer, I begrudgingly left my first professional kitchen to move to San Sebastián, Spain. Now, my relationship with food is completely different. Many sweaty hours (and cuts and burns) later, I'm liberated from recipes and armed with just enough knowledge to maneuver cooking on the fly.

Blank Palate has evolved into my record of having the good luck to do so in one of the culinary capitals of the world. For me, it's the blog I always wished had existed: a love letter to life abroad, to the freshest of fresh ingredients and above all to great food.

Do you read a local blog that you'd like to see featured? Send 'em our way for a chance in the spotlight.

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Filed under: Blog Spotlight • Blogs • Think • Uncategorized

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Mac&Cheese mom

    Enjoyed the article! It's so great to see Marti recognized for her efforts and talent. She's a work horse! And you can trust her,Gormand...she's been a grazer since childhood. If it's on your plate, she'll want a taste.

    December 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  2. Gormand

    Like chefs, never trust skinny food writers...

    October 29, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  3. Slobowitz

    I'd hit it.

    October 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      She looks like she's twelve.

      October 28, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  4. Jennifer Dome

    Marti is, indeed, a fantastic cook as I've been lucky enough to sample a few of her dishes over the years. I'm so proud of her for up and moving to Spain — what a dream come true! I eagerly check her blog every day and you should too!

    October 28, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  5. Greg Everett

    Wonderful Article! Bravo! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more posts from this talented writer and cook in the future.

    October 27, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  6. Randy Courtney

    Great essay on Marti and the Blank Palate. My wife Susie and I last week visited San Sebastian on vacation. Marty, took us on the Tapas circuit and brought us to the best restaurants and bars in Northern Spain. We had a great time and Marti impressed us with her Spanish and her knowledge of all the local flavors. Great place and a great time!.

    October 27, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  7. kurt kilpatrick

    I know Marti Buckley Kilpatrick...Fantastic Chef and a Bright Young woman.She's got a great Husband and Daughter and has done Blank Palate Blog while working hard and getting it done. Great Work. Keep it up. Thanks for featuring her on CNN Blog report. Bravo!

    October 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
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