16. profile: kimberly scott, chef/entrepreneur

we are so excited to introduce you to our new food and wine contributor, kimberly scott! kimberly is a chef, entrepreneur and the boss lady at noodle, a new restaurant and hospitality concept pairing asian comfort food with a specially curated selection of beer and wine. you can learn more about noodle by checking out their fantastic kickstarter campaign.

we thought the best way for you to get to know kimberly is through her own words, so we met up to discuss inspiration, advice and her plans for noodle:

you moved to boston as an aspiring designer. when did you realize that your future was in food? with regards to your creative process, do you find any similarities between the two industries?
i was freelancing and working as a waitress in porter square, dating a wonderful man who is now my husband, and we'd gone on a trip to new york city. good food and drink were always a cornerstone of what we loved to do, so we were in this little french restaurant, sitting in the window as snow came down, having a serious talk. i'll never forget it because it was like a movie. i was explaining that the work i was doing wasn't making me happy, and that i needed to find a new direction. my husband said "what about this?" and gestured around us. i didn't understand what he meant, but he went on to explain that without my realizing it, i'd analyzed every aspect of our experience at the restaurant since we'd walked in. beyond that, i'd always been really enthusiastic in the kitchen, i bought my first le creuset cast iron pans when i was seventeen.

in regards to similarity, i think there's a huge number of places where an artistic spirit, an eye for aesthetics, and a passion for storytelling is useful. design is always trying to tell a story, and it's trying to do it in a way that's satisfying and pleasant while also being distinct and memorable. i think the best meals incorporate all of that: creativity, beauty and narrative.

what inspired you to start your own business?
it's something i've always wanted; i've enjoyed hard work and a sense of ownership since childhood. when i was six, i had a whole setup with a fake office desk. i had a voided checkbook and a rotary phone that wasn't hooked up, and even in and out boxes. i'd write fake checks and send them out and pretend to organize agreements on the phone. i don't know what kind of business it was, but it involved a lot of checks for millions of dollars, so high pressure.

with noodle, you focus on a lot of asian flavors, what drew you to this cuisine?
when i started talking about the cuisine i wanted to focus on, people were surprised, since i worked at no. 9 park, where the focus is on french and italian. but the truth is, when i was looking at the big picture, and what i was passionate about, i realized that a lot of my favorite food was in the spectrum of east asian flavors. and furthermore, it's something my husband and i love to cook at home. when i feel like i'm coming down with something, i crave soup dumplings. if i were going to be executed, my last meal would be this hunanese stir fried lamb dish my husband makes.

how has your philosophy of food and wine evolved over the years?
i always thought food should have an emotional satisfaction to it. whether it hits a point of comfort and perfect familiarity, or it excites through offering something new and unexpected. there's a narrative there either way. as i've gotten older i think more about how intimate feeding people is. how that's really an honor, especially when people put their trust in you. and as i've gotten older and more experienced i've grown increasingly confident with more adventurous flavors and pairings. when i served my in-laws green papaya salad with fish sauce, which they'd never had, with this incredible orange wine by the scholium project, i got to watch the revelation happen on their faces. that's what i do it for, i love to eat, but i love watching other people eat and enjoy even more.

what's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
just do it, and then make it better. don't allow yourself to become frozen because you're afraid to make a mistake or it won't be good enough. we get better by doing and improving on what we've done. sounds simple enough, but it's invaluable.

what is the best piece of creative advice you have to give?
surround yourself with great people and beautiful books, they're going to be there for you to help along the journey. the people are better for talking to, but in a pinch books are really good listeners.

kimberly will be back to write a series of food and wine posts highlighting her recipes and tips. as a taste of what's in store, she is sharing a recipe with us today-as well as a sneak peek at the sweet treat she'll be bringing to somerville this summer:

spicy garlic sauce

this recipe was originally inspired by one featured in the 1976 classic mrs. chiang's szechwan cookbook and altered over time to become this formidable concoction. it's become a household condiment for my husband and i, and we love to use it on everything from the straightforward application as a dipping sauce with dumplings, to a way to zest up a bowl of soup with a dash mixed in, to tossing it in with roasted tofu.

2 heads of garlic (20 cloves, give or take), peeled and cut into chunks
9 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil (you may substitute canola oil in case of an allergy concern)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt

crush garlic in a garlic press or mash with mortar and pestle. sprinkle a dash of salt over garlic and mash into a paste. add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.

heat peanut oil in a small pan over high heat. when oil is shimmering and has just started to smoke, remove from heat. wait a few seconds, then add pepper flakes. the flakes should foam and sizzle. sprinkle in a pinch of salt and stir until foaming subsides.

add oil and pepper flakes to garlic mixture; it should sizzle a bit if added right while still hot. serve at once or store in refrigerator, it's flavors will darken and become more intense if stored. the sauce will store for a week at least.


kakigori is a treat of shaved ice topped with syrup. to call it a snow cone isn't quite right, because the texture is so fine it's incredible as opposed to the more common chunky ice pellets of our childhoods. this is accomplished with my traditional cast iron machine, which spins blocks of ice to shave them into powder. the syrups will be made by yours truly, all natural with no dyes or preservatives, so the flavors will be refreshing and pure. i'll be serving up this kakigori at the somerville flea this summer in davis square and hope to see you there!


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