Interview with Alli from Holtmade

I really try to cook things that are approachable to amateurs in the kitchen. I like to create dishes that can be made by someone working a normal 9-5 job who doesn’t necessarily want to spend a ton of money on ingredients.

Tell us about yourself!

Hi there! My name is Alli Holt and I live in the Windy City – Chicago, Illinois. I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri, but made my way out west to attend the University of Southern California. I then spent a few years in San Francisco before heading back to the Midwest! Previously, I worked in technology but made a career shift this past year and working in business development at a financial advisory firm!

In my free time, I love to play tennis, keep up with my St. Louis Cardinals, see all the great things Chicago has to offer, and, of course, cook and bake! I started a little food blog this past year as a creative outlet with hopes to inspire even the most amateur of cooks, like myself, to have some fun in the kitchen.

Share your approach to food with us: what do you like to cook? Why?

Share your approach to food with us: what do you like to cook? Why?

I really try to cook things that are approachable to amateurs in the kitchen. I like to create dishes that can be made by someone working a normal 9-5 job who doesn’t necessarily want to spend a ton of money on ingredients.

I try to eat 80% healthy and 20% everything else so my recipes usually follow that same guideline. I am always trying to find healthy twists to put on different cuisines but never at the expense of taste. I truly believe in the power that food and cooking has to bring people together and create a sense of community so I always hope to evoke those feelings with my food. Along that same line, I especially love cooking tapas and heavy appetizers because it allows you to serve a lot of different cuisines at once in an approachable way.

Describe your food personality in 5-7 words

Frugal – Sorry, I’m not buying 14 kinds of obscure spices for one dish

Adventurous – I’m willing to try anything once!

Thoughtful – I really try to cater dishes towards my audience, the time of year, what the weather’s like, etc. Anything that can give me inspiration!

Curious – I am definitely an amateur chef so I am always looking for new techniques, ideas, and ways to grow in the kitchen

Fun – I usually have a glass of wine in hand and either music or a podcast playing while I cook!

Undecided or noncommittal (?) – Haha, seriously I have such a hard time going to restaurants and having to pick one dish off a menu. My ideal situation is a tapas restaurant or lots of people who like to share so I can try a lot of different things!

What are your 3-5 favorite recipes? Why? Tell us about them!

Spicy Italian Puff Pastry Ring – Imagine a melty spicy Italian deli sandwich wrapped in a flaky, buttery blanket. I love to play around with puff pastry in recipes and this is definitely one of the best uses I’ve come up with yet! And, no, this is not one of my healthier recipes 🙂

Lowcountry Boil Foil Packets – I love this recipe because it is SO simple, insanely delicious, and requires very minimal cleanup. You can’t go wrong with shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes covered in Cajun seasoning!

Buffacue Chicken Pizza – I love buffalo wings and I love barbecue wings so I just decided to combine the two and throw it on a pizza! This recipe actually calls for a cauliflower crust to pack some veggies in, but the insane flavor completely masks any taste of cauliflower. I don’t believe that cauliflower crust is appropriate in most pizza situations, but with this one, it just works!

Crispy Soyaki Roasted Brussel Sprouts Ramen with Zucchini Noodles – Dealing with Chicago winters the past few years has given me a new appreciation for soup and ramen, but they’re usually packed with tons of sodium and sometimes not the healthiest ingredients. Being able to pack a lot of vegetables in with a lot of flavor makes this one of my favorite dishes, especially when it’s cold outside!

What’s your favorite thing about Want the Recipe?

The recipes I’ve collected over time are ALL over the place and usually never to be seen again. I love that Want the Recipe allows you to organize them all in one spot.

What food can you not live without?

Sushi! I could eat sushi every day.

What kitchen appliance do you swear by?

Immersion blender – it does so many things! I especially love using it to make soup.

Crock Pot – I love anything that makes my life easier and there are so many uses for a crock pot.  I’m too cheap to get an Instant Pot at the moment but I’m sure once I do, I’ll be a fan!

Microwave (kidding!)

What are your favorite blogs/ Instagram accounts that you follow? What do you like about them?

Half Baked Harvest – I love following along with Tegan’s story and her food photography is incredible!

Pinch of Yum – We definitely share food philosophies and the idea of making things healthy where possible, but also not being afraid to indulge. What I also really love about this account and couple is that they have tons of resources online to help people new to food blogging get started!

Chrissy Teigen – Chrissy knows her way around the kitchen and seems to always be whipping up something amazing. I love her cookbooks so it’s fun to follow along and see how she approaches food in her normal life.

Do you have any advice for our food community?

Don’t feel like you need to start off making everything from scratch. Some of my favorite meals have components of pre-made food, especially from Trader Joe’s and their freezer section! Cooking can seem overwhelming, but as you start to experiment with different flavors, spices, and cooking methods, you learn what works and what doesn’t. And for those times it doesn’t work, I’d keep a frozen pizza in your freezer as backup.

What’s your Instagram handle, blog link, any other social media or accounts you’d like us to share!

You can find me on:

Instagram @Holtmade

My blog


Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.