Boss Babe: Kathleen Harsh
Continuing with my favorite series: Boss Babes! One thing I love about the blogging community is meeting incredible, strong, beautiful, courageous and wildly talented, smart, innovative, entrepreneurial boss babes, chief chicas, inspiring women. Every month, I'm going to spotlight one of these incredible role models and share a little bit about what makes them amazing.
A few months ago I attended an amazing event sponsored by Kodiak Cakes were I sat across from Kathleen Harsh. I was completely fascinated by her career as a food scientist + knew I had to speak to her more about it. She also blogs at @breadoverheels. Today we are diving into her intriguing career + learning more about her hobbies.
1) You work as a food scientist. Tell us about that.
I work at a large ingredient company in our bakery Research & Development team. I am responsible for new product development and maintaining or improving quality of existing food items. The categories I work on within the bakery department are dry bakery mixes such as cake mixes and English muffins- which are really fun categories to work on!
2) What does your day-to-day look like?
One of the things I love about my job is that every day is different! Some days I will spend my time in the kitchen testing new recipes, others in the production floor running new food products on a larger scale, and others I will be doing computer-based work to document results, conduct research, and communicate internally and externally with our customers.
3) How did you get into being a food scientist?
I heard about food science at a young age from my mom's college roommate who at the time worked at a bakery company. I thought food science would be the perfect way to combine my love for baking with my skills in math and science. I studied food science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which involved a robust science program and application courses connecting it all to food. I'm grateful to have found a job in the food industry shortly after graduating college.
4) You also run the baking blog, Bread Over Heels. Tell us about that.
Bread Over Heels is a passion project for me to directly share my food science insight, home baking projects, and restaurant experiences with a digital audience. I'm constantly inspired by the food community and the women around me, and I love that in this digital age, we are all able to share our voices and be inspired by fellow positive and goal-oriented Boss Babes.
5) What is your favorite thing to bake?
Scones because they are a blank canvas for creativity- you can make them either sweet or savory or both!
6) How did you get into baking?
My mom is a wonderful baker and introduced me to baking at a young age. My fondest childhood memories are spending time in a kitchen with her making muffins, sugar cookies, and pancakes. Starting in high school, I worked at Ambrosia Euro-American Patisserie in Barrington, Illinois, and I am ever grateful to the staff and culture at Ambrosia for honing my baking skills and continuing to inspire me to this day.
7) Go back to college graduation: what would you tell yourself?
I would tell myself to continue to embrace my creative and driven attitude but to remember that in a work life balance, life is always the more important of the two!
8) How do you find inspiration?
I'm inspired by food trends across all categories of food beyond bakery that pop up in retail, restaurants, my travel experiences, social media, food podcasts, and food journalism. I go grocery shopping at least three times a week because I just love browsing the aisle for what's new. I am also tremendously inspired by the network of Boss Babes that you find on instagram, and I am excited to be entering such a space of positivity and growth, particularly for women who are running their own companies and changing the narrative on how to be successful.
9) Who is your role model?
I can't pick just one because there are so many people I aspire to be like! My Mom, my Dad, my co-worker and friend Stephanie, my former boss at Ambrosia Debby, and amongst those I don't know at all but look up to - Christina Tosi and her Milk Bar empire are constantly inspiring, as is Alison Roman and her viral recipes and phenomenal instagram presence.
Favorite movie: To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Favorite baked good: Croissants
Favorite workout: Bar Method!
Favorite phone app: Instagram :)
Favorite Boss Babe on Instagram: First Thyme Mom and of course Cami Like a Tank Top!
Favorite restaurant: Mesler Kitchen in Hyde Park
Best way to spend a Friday night: Delicious dinner and delicious cocktails with my boyfriend