KATHERINE SACKS, BERLIN
Together with Kerstin Pistorius, Katherine Sacks was a great help throughout the Book production process. Not only by reading parts of the book and editing the English language, but also asking great questions on bread making as she was trying to make the perfect loaf herself. Katherine is the person I reach out to when I want an honest opinion on a restaurant in Berlin. Check out her online magazine, At the Table, for inspiration!
Q/A WITH KATHERINE
M: Where do you live and what do you love the most about this place?
K: I moved to Berlin almost two years ago. Because I lived on military bases in Germany as a child, I have a familiarity with German culture, so being in Berlin feels very special to me. I love the mix of Old and New in Berlin, in architecture, fashion, cuisine, everything, as well as the green spaces, the mix of International cultures, sustainable mindset, the ease of living. It’s a great city.
M: What is heimat?
K: This is hard for me, because I have moved every few years, so I don’t have a place that is really “home.” Home is when I am with the people that I love, great friends and family.
M: You have been travelling the world since you were a child. Would you do anything different if you had children of your own?
K: I feel very fortunate to have seen so much of the world and been exposed to so much from a young age. I only wish that I had learned languages as a child (I went to US Army schools on military bases in Germany), so if I had children of my own, I would probably enroll them in schools where they could learn other languages.
M: How do you like to eat your bread?
K: With great salted butter, rich olive oil, or creamy cheese. As French toast or grilled cheese.
M: What is it about San Francisco sourdough?
K: The first sourdough starter I made didn’t really take, the yeast didn’t grow properly and my bread didn’t rise. My best friend is a chef in Los Gatos, California, and she gave me some of her restaurant’s starter—they have been keeping it now for eight years. She is a very special person to me, and the restaurant is a special place, so this added something very nice to the story of my bread making.
M: When was the last time you were at your happiest?
K: I spent my 30th birthday traveling with my boyfriend and friends in Montenegro and Croatia. We spent the day in Dubrovnik and visited a bar built into cliffs outside the castle walls over the Adriatic Sea, where we enjoyed some beautiful views and sunny weather. I’m afraid of heights but I decided to jump off the cliffs into the Adriatic Sea waters surrounding the castle. It was an exhilarating way to celebrate my birthday.
M: What would you say was the biggest risk you’ve taken in your life?
K: Risk seems like such a “big” word. I suppose I’ve done a lot of things that people would call risks, but to me they just seemed like the natural or most obvious decisions. Moving to Los Angeles without a job after college (only to get one just a week later at the best restaurant in the city). Deciding to go to graduate school for journalism with very little experience in the industry (and then getting into one of the best programs in the country). Moving to New York City, then moving to Berlin (and making it work and creating a life I love).
M: How and where do you relax?
K: I love to cook, and spend a lot of my time doing it. I also love to explore Berlin, and am always to do something that I have never done before, whether it’s visiting a museum or trying out a new restaurant. I run, bike ride, and hike, and am very happy that Berlin has so many ways and places to be active.
M: What are your 5 favorite restaurants in Berlin (high and low, please)?
K: I rarely go to the same restaurant twice, because I like to try as many places as possible, so favorites are hard to pick. But some places I really like include Das Lokal, La Soupe Populaire, Brasserie Lamazere, Cocolo Ramen, Bandol Sur Mer, and Mulax.
M: You love to hike. What are you three favorite trails in Germany?
K: Lately we have been hiking the 66 Lakes Trail, which forms a massive ring around Brandenburg, broken into 17 sections, each about 25 kilometers. There have been a few that were especially beautiful, but it’s all been really wonderful and a great way to see what’s beyond Berlin. You can start from any of the trail heads and expect good times and really diverse scenery.
M: Where can I read your work?
K: I’ve written for a variety of publications including Deutsche Welle, sisterMAG, and Kinfolk magazine. I also recently started the online magazine At the Table, which highlights some of the unique stories behind Berlin’s great culinary scene.