By Carly DeFilippo
Actress, model, mom and former ICE student Catherine McCord is the founder of Weelicious.com, the online destination for family-friendly recipes. In an age when sneaking nutrition into “kids’ meals” has become the norm, Weelicious shares how to get little ones involved in the kitchen, develop children’s palates and kick-start their long-term health and wellness. Sounds like a great start for future chefs!
What were you doing before you enrolled?
I had been modeling, television hosting and acting for years. On 9/11 I had an appointment to see the Institute for Culinary Education. Living through that experience made me realize that it was time to seize the moment and follow my dream. I chose ICE because I wanted the experience of working hands-on with a variety of techniques and cuisines, as well as access to the extensive specialty courses offered by the school.
What have you been up to since your time at ICE?
I had to go back to work after school, but had the wonderful opportunity of staging at Montrachet, Esca and Joe’s in Los Angeles. I started Weelicious after the birth of my son in 2007. My first cookbook, Weelicious, was published by Harper Collins in 2012 and Weelicious: Lunches comes out this summer. Since the blog debuted, I’ve produced an original cooking video every week, now totaling over 200. I’ve also appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, as a writer in The Huffington Post, Parents, Babble, Baby Center and now write a monthly recipe column in Parenting.
Briefly describe a day in your (working) life.
Everyday is different, and that’s the best part for me. Several days a week I test recipes. This includes development, shopping for the ingredients, testing (usually several times), prop styling, photographing, uploading images and writing about them. Other days I’m producing or shooting cooking videos for Weelicious or other websites and advertisers, or I’m cooking around the country at Sur La Table.
What might people be surprised to learn about your job?
It’s definitely not 9-5. You have to be really motivated if you’re hoping to turn a cooking blog into a business, but along the way the value of what I’ve learned is pretty incredible.
Where would you like to be in 5 years?
I would love to continue on the path of writing cookbooks, producing video and/or television and being part of this incredible community of food bloggers and home cooks.
What are some of the challenges you have found in creating family-friendly recipes?
You’re never going to please everyone. What works for one family may not for another. Offering daily variety on the site has been key to appealing to a wide range of culinary desires.
What is your philosophy in terms of “kids’ food”?
The key to Weelicious is offering recipes the entire family can enjoy. They’re not just for kids. I try to create food you’ll love, no matter your age, that’s fast, fresh and easy – using minimal ingredients with maximum flavor!
Do you have any insight into how to develop children’s (and especially fussy eaters’) palates?
Getting kids involved in what they eat from day one is the easiest way to get kids excited about food. The more they understand about a variety of foods, the more likely they are to try and love them.