Kim Hastreiter is not just a food lover. She is a lover of the undiscovered, the bold and the unexpected. She is intrigued by food culture and the personalities that drive culinary innovation. She views food much in the same way she views fashion. She is not concerned with what is “on trend”, but rather, values disruption in the culinary space and appreciates uncovering the newest, the wackiest “These kids who came from Oaxaca made salsa out of grasshoppers”, the most sustainable, and of course the most delicious foods out there.
Recently, Kim took a road trip up the California Coast to do what she does best- discover. Through her travels, she came to the conclusion that food has become the new social network. She witnessed the value of community amongst the culinary crowd and reaped the rewards of this new social transaction, enjoying the freshest ingredients the state had to offer. She stayed at a hotel where “You open your front door and you have a tin box filled with this delicious breakfast with fresh mushrooms served on top of polenta with apples from the apple tree from the farm next door.”
“I took three weeks off and traveled with friends. I play with the band Pink Martini and have been for five years. I used to play the triangle and the cymbals and now I play the Glockenspiel. We were playing in San Francisco at the San Francisco Symphony Hall. My friend Joey Arias came and we drove up from Los Angeles, then we visited friends in Ojai and I went to the garlic capital of the world. Then my friends from the restaurant Bar Jules in San Francisco threw a party for me and I met all these amazing food people. I met Andrew from Scribe Wine. Then we went to Bolinas and the guy who started Wired Magazine is now doing chocolates. The food thing is so interesting to me right now, it’s like people who in my day were artists are now becoming urban farmers. Lots of young people are starting farms instead of starting bands. We are at a time where people really care about how things are made and where their food comes from. It’s a pretty amazing movement.”
Kim, an artist herself Grew up in New Jersey and went to art school in Nova Scotia. “I studied to be a painter and conceptual artist. I moved back to New York in 1976 and studied with John Baldassari. I was going to be an artist. In those days you came to New York to be an artist. I was trying to get into a gallery and I was shocked because all the men were getting into galleries, but no women. I was like, what is going on? I got pissed. I was a punk at the time so I was ‘punk pissed’. So anyways, I had to get a job so I started selling clothes on Madison Avenue. The place sold Avant-garde clothes. It was kooky but interesting. I started doing the windows there and I fell in love with fashion. I was involved with the Mud Club and I would go uptown and dress crazy but they loved it. That’s when I met Bill Cunningham and he would chase me down and photograph me. I was there for a few years and I started meeting film people and fashion people. Then Bill told me about the SoHo News. Bill worked there and he said ‘you should apply to be the style editor!’ So he got me and my partner hired. We started bringing in all of our artist friends like Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. They helped do my pages and people were like ‘holy shit!’ They loved it.”
The practice of collaboration has since stuck with Kim, and she is always bringing people together in the name of creativity and in the name of food. “I love connecting people. I explore, discover and connect. My dream is to get the upstairs apartment and make this entire thing (her current apartment) a living room and kitchen. I love to cook. I entertain a lot. I have an amazing garden and I grow vegetables on my terrace. I grow every type of cherry tomato that exists and people go crazy for them. I also have tons of dinner parties, I love hosting them. When I have larger parties, it’s not really a formal sit down because I like to mix people up.” And the people she “mixes up” always show their gratitude. Perched atop her kitchen shelves, Kim has amassed a collection of gifts from food and fashion friends alike. Dries Van Noten’s homemade jam, Padma Laksmi’s aromatic chutneys, and Danny Bowien from Mission Chinese’s special sauce all sit pretty in her colorful kitchen.
When Kim has a dinner, they are never typical. She tends to gets creative when it comes to the themes of her soirees. “Every winter I have a soup party. I make 4 different kinds of soup. When people are depressed because of the dreary winter, I have a cozy soup dinner to bring people’s spirits up.” And although Kim has an impressive collection of cookbooks, she is not one to follow recipes. “I am an artist and I think it really has to do with that. My mother wasn’t a great cook and neither was my father. So I learned that it’s all about curating. It the same thing I do with the magazine. It comes naturally to me. I just taste things…I add or subtract. It’s all about balance.
Kim is a true foodie who sees past the ingredients to the heart and soul of cuisine and community. It is after all her kitchen table where she launched the concept for Paper Magazine. So it only makes sense that this ‘culture curator’ has a little piece of her heart devoted to the art of food.