Starting a blog is intimidating. Daunting, even. We type up our thoughts, our creations, our lives, our passions, and we release them into the vast abyss that is the Internet. There’s no guarantee of feedback, no promise of reciprocation or appreciation; just the vague awareness that anyone, anywhere, can read what we post. Most of the time, people read what we write, and sometimes, people like what we write. Once in a while, if we’re lucky, our personal musings on the web become part of a larger, real-life community. Heather, the Westchester blogger behind Castle Walk Kitchen, has reached the pinnacle of local blogger-hood—and she’s set her sights even higher.
The kitchen has always been a special place for Heather; as we chatted with her on Monday, she joked about her nine-year-old self first exploring the kitchen. Ambitious, creative, and determined, 9-year-old Heather transformed her family’s jack-o’-lantern and a recipe from her little sister’s nursery school into her first creation: a surprisingly successful, albeit messy in the making, pumpkin bread. From then on, she was hooked. By high school, she was taking adult cooking classes with her dad, and after completing her doctorate in child psychology, she enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education. The kitchen was Heather’s domain.
That first foray into cooking, her sticky pumpkin adventure, became a template of sorts for all of her cooking adventures to come. She finds inspiration in her community today, just as she found inspiration in her little sister then. Friends and family just wanted some “fresh ideas,” and that’s exactly what Castle Walk Kitchen offers its readers, recipes from Heather’s kitchen to theirs.
“I would really love to keep the community feel that my blog has now,” Heather told us, as she reflected on her influence in Westchester and the future potential of her blog. She shared some of her plans for the future, which include a series of videos designed to make cooking easy and accessible to all levels of cooks, as well as videos for cooking with kids. When Heather’s not writing, photographing or recipe testing for her blog, she’s teaching cooking at the local schools, further solidifying her community presence.
Despite all of the feedback Heather receives through her blog, it’s hard to gauge just how much of an effect she has on her community. “A lot of times, I don’t necessarily see who’s clicked onto my site, but I’ll be walking through town and someone will stop me to chat about my blog!” Whether it’s about one of their favorite recipes from Heather’s site, or her tips about cooking with kids, community members already consider Castle Walk Kitchen an outlet for local foodies and home cooks. “It’s just so cool to have this community base. It became not just about me and what I cook, but I love the idea that other people are sharing their inspirations with me, too.” Her blog has only been live since February, and Castle Walk Kitchen has already claimed a sturdy presence in the parenting community of Scarsdale.
Heather’s formal culinary training clearly doesn’t intimidate her blog following; her emphasis on easy, healthy, fresh recipes makes homemade dinners attainable for the busy families of Westchester. “Cooking doesn’t have to hard, and it doesn’t have to fancy for it to be delicious,” Heather insists. These are just “mainstream recipes that anyone can make,” and her community can’t get enough.
Castle Walk Kitchen certainly is more than just a blog. Heather has created a space that unites the kids, the parents, and the foodies of Westchester, and she can’t wait to expand it even further. We’re guessing her readers can’t wait, either.
Cook Heather's Recipes Without Visiting the Store