We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Chin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’m from Minneapolis, MN and grew up under the tutelage of my late mother Leeann Chin, a famous chef and restauranteur. My mother immigrated making 50 cents an hour as a seamstress and epitomized the American dream by opening a restaurant which led to a chain with over 50 locations. As kids, we worked in the tiny catering kitchen in our basement and later in her restaurants. She taught us to never give up, to take risks, to give back to the community and to honor our heritage.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I have authored 4 cookbooks (going on 5) and I founded Wok Star Catering in 2013 after my twins started kindergarten. My mission has been to provide modern, clean, fresh and authentic gourmet Asian and Globally Infused cuisine to Angelenos all over SoCal. From chic and intimate cocktail parties to large scale corporate events, our events are always memorable. Since the start of Covid, I’ve had to pivot and am now offering Virtual Zoom “Cook Along with Chef Katie” cooking classes with grocery box delivery. Many caterers may offer Asian or fusion cuisine but we are one of the only ones that focus on delivering authentic, gourmet Asian flavors using beloved family recipes and the freshest, highest quality ingredients. We also pride ourselves for being on the cutting edge of flavor trends and bringing a modern approach to culinary classics. With that in mind, we are sensitive to our client’s diet restrictions and are able to provide low carb, kosher, gluten-free and vegan options. My mother taught me that when we prepare food for others it comes from the heart and we bring that spirit to every detail of an event. Along with our luxe and beautiful presentation, this is our unique point of difference and we are bringing all of these qualities to our “Cook Along with Chef Katie” virtual zoom cooking classes! I had worked for several years as a SVP of Marketing and Promotions for Studios like Fox and Universal although my true passion had always been food. I woke up one day 18 years ago and realized life is too short to not follow my dreams so I decided to change my life and became a chef, a cookbook author, a blogger and a caterer and have never looked back. I have authored 4 cookbooks (soon to be 5) and my culinary adventures include co-hosting a national PBS series called “Double Happiness” with my late mom, being a guest judge on Iron Chef America, being a featured Chef at the Sundance Film Festival and competing on Cutthroat Kitchen and Beat Bobby Flay. I’m most proud of being a featured chef at the White House Easter Egg Roll under the Obama administration in 2013. My late mother Leeann Chin was a legendary chef and restauranteur in Minnesota where I’m from. She went from making 50 cents an hour as a seamstress, to building a 50+ restaurant empire. Everything I know about life and cooking I learned in the kitchen from her. When I was working for Fox I decided to throw a dinner party for some clients. I had completely forgotten how to cook and kept calling my mom on the phone to ask her questions. Flabbergasted, she hopped on a plane with frozen lemon chicken and showed up on my doorstep She cooked the whole meal but let everything think I had done it. She was just that kind of mom. From that point on she was determined to teach me how to cook again and my passion for cooking was reignited. My path to becoming a chef has been a wild rollercoaster ride filled with chills and thrills. I think being an entrepreneur is never truly easy and comes with a lot of challenges, hard work and long hours but can also be immensely rewarding. I’ve overcome my challenges by staying positive and realizing there’s always another way to achieve a goal even if a big road block presents itself. I say, “If one door closes, climb through the window!” I’ve learned to remember to have sense of humor, to take risks and to ask for help. If you’re thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, my mantra is “Leap and the Net Will Appear.” I’m excited for the release of my 5th cookbook which will be filled with global flavors. It will include a section celebrating multi-cultural holidays and will feature The Real’s Jeannie Mai and her mom, Mama Mai, Hallmark Channel’s Debbie Matenopoulos and Designer Nate Berkus. Looking towards the future, I just want to continue inspiring others to cook and eat with their families, give back to the community and do what makes them happy every single day.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, this is obviously before Covid… -Santa Monica Beach bike ride -Lunch on Sawtelle Blvd at Tsujita Ramen -Private karaoke room session at Max Karaoke -Universal Studios -Hike at Runyon Canyon -Hollywood Blvd/Hollywood & Highland stroll -Dinner at Abbot Kinney at Gjelina -Yoga class on Larchmont Blvd -Dim Sum in Chinatown -Disco dancing at Giorgios -Visit to Smorgasburg Food Hall -Burlesque show at Harvelle’s -LACMA visit
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Matthew Jonas (my hubby)
Yelp: Wok Star Catering
Youtube: Chef Katie Chin