Kathleen Blake
Chef/Owner Pine 22 & The Rusty Spoon

Kathleen started cooking at an early age in her grandmother's kitchen, preparing for her large family's Sunday suppers. Throughout high school she worked her way through a popular restaurant in Dyersville, Iowa. After graduation, Kathleen moved to the San Francisco Bay area to attend college. She attended the Community College of San Francisco's Apprenticeship Program and landed a position at Square One under the tutelage of Joyce Goldstein. Joyce's mentorship molded Kathleen's belief in focusing on quality and personal relationships with purveyors. For the next several years, Kathleen continued to work with small locally sustained restaurants and markets as she moved to Texas and California. An unexpected move to Pittsburgh landed her under the guidance of Drew Nieporent. A WCR Scholarship Award brought her to Washington DC and a chef de cuisine position at Restaurant Nora. This bold move allowed Kathleen to fine tune her creative style through contemporary American cuisine in a certified organic environment. Her "farm to table" approach formed the beginning of her friendship with Melissa Kelly and it led to her role as chef de cuisine for Melissa Kelly's Primo Orlando at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. Kathleenís local thinking through local growers focus has created life long friendships and business partnerships in the Orlando area.

Kathleenís current role as Chef/Owner of Pine22 & The Rusty Spoon allow her to bring her passions main stream.

Kathleen was a participating chef for the 2008 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala, recognizing artisanal Florida. A Golden Whisk Award nominee recognized by her peers for Excellence in the Kitchen for Women Chefs & Restaurateurs. She also received the prestigious nomination for 2007 Ace Award "Rising Star" and Entrepreneur Award from Marriott. Kathleen represents the true craft of American cuisine and excellence in the kitchen with a sustainable approach to local and seasonally grown products. She continues to expand her circle of influence throughout the culinary world and general public by her community involvement and donation of her time and talents to local charities.