Frequently Asked Questions
Kara is a Culinary Arts Career graduate from New York City's Institute of Culinary Education. She has many years experience cooking in private homes around New York. While studying to be a chef, Kara interned with chef, cookbook writer, and television personality Sara Moulton, where she assisted with recipe development, recipe testing, and food styling. She also volunteered her time in the historical kitchen at The James Beard Foundation house assisting various chefs in cooking for special events.
After her studies at ICE she got lots of experience cooking on the line at a fantastic local farm to table restaurant called Rustic Root in Woodbury, NY. Working under well respected chef and Chopped winner Chef Tom Gloster taught Kara the fundamentals of working with local farmers and cooking fresh local farm raised ingredients with respect. After which she landed a freelance role as assistant food producer at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where she worked on the set of many online cooking shows produced by Martha Stewart.
Kara is proud to have spent time working as culinary assistant to cookbook author and television personality Nikki Dinki from Food Network's Food Network Star and Cooking Channel's Junk Food Flip. Learning every day working along side Nikki Dinki on recipe development, recipe testing, product testing, daily business operations, social media marketing and PR.
Currently, she is working remotely as a recipe developer/tester and product consultant for reputable companies like Hungryroot and teaching virtual cooking classes to all ages and abilities! She also happily makes special appearances as a guest instructor to teach large group classes at places like; Penn State Dickenson Law School.
She also works freelance privately developing Visual Culinary Content for contracted companies and branded products. As well as styles and photographs contracted brands, service providers, wedding vendors and more to create social media content and branding photos for advertising. Kara especially loves working with wedding vendors on styled shoots and helping vendors build their portfolio with beautiful styled photos of what they offer as well as behind the scenes shots of them doing their thing as a business owner and entrepreneur to be used for social media/advertising.
Kara spends every free moment she has dedicated to The Concrete Forager blog, working towards our family homesteading dream and writing her first book!
Do you follow any particular diets?
No 'diets' here! We like to say we eat 'real' food. Humans are omnivores, meaning our diet is meant to consist of vegetation and meat. Vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, legumes, meat, fish, and poultry are all fair game in our house. We stay away from overly processed industrialized foods. (you know, the ones in the fancy packaging.) Processed foods are filled with artificial chemicals and preservatives that we do not need in our bodies. Making food from scratch gives you the freedom to have exactly what you want and you'll know exactly what ingredients you and your family are putting into their bodies. No more mystery, just hearty and delicious food for your family table.
And if there's an ingredient that does come in a package that we use, we scourer the ingredient list before purchasing. And we only buy products with clean, concise, easy to read labels with ingredients that are natural. We support the brands who take that extra step to make their products from real food, so those brands can someday become the norm. In the meantime, we are here to help you learn how to do what we call Foraging Real, which means knowing how to navigate any store or area you are in, how to read and understand ingredient labels, find the best quality ingredients and know exactly what you are eating!
If you have a dietary restriction, or follow a particular diet, don't fret! Feel free to adjust, swap ingredients, and change what ever you want in our recipes. Recipes are never rules. Contact us if you need help with any recipe conversions. Kara is well educated in all dietary needs (vegan, vegetarian, Kosher, gluten-free, allergen free, paleo, keto and more) so it is no problem to customize your cooking class(s) to what works for your body!
Where do you buy ingredients?
All of the ingredients we buy for our home and recipes are Organic and Non GMO whenever possible. We grow and hunt for our own foods as much as possible. We have a garden during growing months for produce. Sean and I are both avid hunters and fishermen during the legal seasons. We preserve as much as we can to last us year round. Local butcher shops are the place to go for meats, poultry and fish that we have not harvested ourselves. Our favorite places to buy the rest of the ingredients are local farm stands and directly from local purveyors. When that isn't possible, local grocery stores are just fine as long as you use the Foraging Real tips you'll often see here on the blog or hear in class. Seasonal produce is always best, not only is it at its peak flavor and freshness, but typically stores can get it from local farms rather than import it from somewhere else. Be sure to read all the labels of what you are purchasing, know where it comes from, how it was handled and exactly what its made from. This may seem tedious or intimidating, but once you get used to reading ingredient lists you'll know what brands you can trust every time, and which you'll want to skip. Ultimately you're goal is to have the most control over what you put into your body, the way to do that is using real food ingredients to make meals, snacks, drinks, desserts, etc. from scratch at home! That's where The Concrete Forager swoops in to help.