Cancer Fighter. Culinary Kingpin. Encino Mom.
- Written byRachel Heller
Katie Chin teaches audiences around the country to fight cancer with a unique weapon: a rice cooker. Take the chef’s Asian-style risotto, for instance. This creamy dish calls for one cup of sliced mushrooms—one of five super-foods researchers at City of Hope have found to contain compounds that might slow or prevent the growth of certain tumors.
As one of two pro bono “culinary ambassadors” to City of Hope—a progressive cancer treatment and research center in Duarte—Katie takes her super-food message on the road. She has given cooking demos using these common kitchen staples, also including grapes, blueberries, pomegranate and cinnamon, on NBC’s Today and Fox’s Good Day New York, to name a few. She also records how-to videos that demonstrate creative super-food dishes, some of which can be found in her latest cookbook, 300 Best Rice Cooker Recipes.
“These are everyday ingredients that are so easy to integrate into cooking,” Katie explains in her Encino dining room.
For the dynamic TV host and author, this work has special meaning. Katie lost both of her parents to cancer, and her sister is a breast cancer survivor.
Katie’s mother, Leeann Chin, founded a Chinese restaurant chain in Minnesota in the 1980s and later inspired Katie’s own culinary pursuits. The petite chef recalls helping her mother cook meals, when she was growing up, using fresh vegetables from the garden. Twelve years ago, she walked away from a career in film marketing to delve into Chinese cuisine with her mother full-time. The mother-daughter team hosted the 2003 PBS cooking series Double Happiness, co-wrote a cookbook and ran a catering business together.
“Working with City of Hope definitely hits home for me,” Katie says. “I have a personal commitment to the cause, because my mother touched my life in so many ways. This has been an emotional experience—but in a very positive way.”
When she’s not educating the public about cancer, Katie details her latest kitchen adventures on her blog, The Sweet and Sour Chronicles.
Not only does she stump for super-foods on TV, she also brings her passion for healthy cooking home to her family. “It’s important to teach kids good eating habits at a young age,” she says. Her twin toddlers can already help her make dumplings, she shares with a grin. “They’re not the prettiest looking dumplings, but it’s a start.”
Ann Hickey-Williams recently built on more than a decade of marshmallow experience by opening a s’mores shop called Plush Puffs in Burbank.