Katherine “Kat” Odell - Editor, Eater LA
By Danielle Dziadon
Cooking apple strudels, cookies and Czech cheesecake since the age of five has certainly not hindered Katherine “Kat” Odell’s career. She was recently hired as the editor of Eater LA, and plans to bring her life experiences and her own voice to the well-known Los Angeles food blog.
“Eater LA already does a good job of getting inside the industry, but I want to put a new spin on it,” Odell said. “I want to change up the language a bit, add some humor and of course a catchy headline always helps.”
The young editor has also worked at Bon Appétit as an editorial assistant, and contributed to outlets such as Ideal Bite and Whole Life Times. She said she knew that working in the food industry was where she was meant to be, and credits her family to her successes.
“When I was younger my grandmother would visit from the Czech Republic and I would just cook and eat all day long with her,” she said. “Then there was my dad, who was always cooking atypical American fare. I grew up in a house that had a lot of ethnic food.”
During her college years, Odell also wrote the food column “Cuisine by Kat” which catapulted to what she now calls “interactive dinner parties.”
She explained, “All of my friends are really into food and don’t really know how to cook, so I figured instead of throwing dinner parties I would integrate the cooking component.” By word-of-mouth, the classes have become very popular and Odell hopes to host her own cooking show one day.
In the meantime, she is busy keeping up with the restaurant news of Los Angeles. “I love checking my e-mails every morning to find out all of the juicy gossip. If there is drama, I want to be there covering it,” she said.
In a recent post called “The Secret Dish: The Roger Room” Odell caused somewhat of an uproar in the Los Angeles food community. She covered the new speakeasy owned by Jared Meisler and Sean MacPherson, knowing that they frowned upon any editorial coverage of the establishment.
“Obviously my job was to report on it regardless whether they wanted me to or not,” She said. To Odell’s surprise, the post received over 50 responses.
“What was so ironic about the whole situation is that a week later, the Tasting Table ran a full story on The Roger Room clearly with their consent," she added. "So at that point, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I am so glad I wrote about that first.'"
Odell said Eater LA is the site where you can find out anything about any restaurant before it happens. “It is like the Perez Hilton of restaurants,” she said. “Anytime you want to know anything about an LA restaurant, Eater is the place to go.”
Odell explained the tips she receives are crucial to Eater’s coverage. The majority of the pitches are from fans of the site that happen to pass by a new sign or a location that is under construction.
“However, we do get our share of press material, just like any other publication,” Odell said. “I try to filter out most it, unless it is something I know would really interest our readers. It’s also helpful to use something really catchy in the subject line.”
Odell said her pet peeve is when she is pitched something that does not relate to her coverage. “During my time at Bon Appétit I was sent a pitch on underwater diving equipment. I was so befuddled as to why anyone would send that to me,” she said. “Anytime someone pitches me something that clearly has nothing to do with me, that annoys me. You are wasting my time, do your research.”
The best time to reach Odell is in the afternoon, Mondays through Fridays. She prefers to be contacted by e-mail.