Whip Smart Kitchen

Recipes, methods & musings for the whip-smart home cook

Whip Smart Cooks aspire to a higher quality of cuisine in every day life

I think most people love food (what kind of monster doesn’t?). What makes us stand out is that we know it’s worth it to make our own regularly. Learning to cook takes time and energy. It can be like learning a new language to some people, but it can be done, and it's not as hard as you might think.

Whip Smart Cooks know there are no miracle fixes. Whether your problems lie with inexperience, health concerns, a tight budget or a crazy busy schedule, you're never going to truly solve your food issues by following a magic formula or eating some miracle food. 

Whip Smart Cooks know the real solution is to understand food. You don't need to become Julia Child. I'm just saying things get a lot easier when you expand your repertoire and get the "whys" and "hows."

Whip Smart Cooks know something has gone very wrong in American food culture. Convenience is king and ignorance is bliss. You can blame industrialization, midcentury advertising (BANANA MEATLOAF? WHY?!) or the war effort, but that doesn't excuse the pre-dinner pizza bagel habit. Look at food culture in places like Italy, Spain, France—slow down, savor every bite, share with loved ones and lose track of time. 

Whip Smart Cooks don’t eat a handful of crackers for dinner after a long day just because it's the only thing in the house. We plan ahead and stock up on staples so we can whip something up anytime. 

You can approach Whip Smart Kitchen in one of two ways. You can take each recipe for what it is, or you can see this as a culinary adventure. Your move.

Sometimes when I talk about food I feel like Hot Pie from Game of Thrones.  "A lot of people give up on the gravy. You CAN'T give up on the gravy!"

Really though, don't give up just because you've been burned. 

View the Whip Smart Kitchen Blog for irresistible recipes and can't-miss musings.

WhipSmart Kitchen Creed

I believe food brings people together

I believe cooking should be a joyful, passionate process

I believe cooking is about more than following a recipe

I believe in taking food photos & not caring who gets peeved

I believe in dinner parties

I believe in understanding your food

I believe in trying new things often

I believe in balanced meals & whole foods

I believe pizza & sweatpants are a grand combination

I believe in elaborate, all-or-nothing feasts

I believe simple meals have a place

I believe in the importance of a budget

I believe in the thrill of a splurge

I believe in planning ahead

I believe in savoring every last bite

I believe in empowering the "I wish I could cook that" crowd

I believe learning and growth never ends


Hi, I'm Leannda Cavalier, the cook and blogger behind Whip Smart Kitchen. I'm so happy you're here!

I have a background in journalism and mass communications. I’ve worked in radio, television and public relations. After all that, turns out what I really love to shout to the rooftops about is food. In journalism school I used to joke that I was going to run off to culinary school when I was stressed. I didn’t realize I was only half-joking.

I still remember first time my dad let me stand on the chair and cook my own scrambled eggs. Watching the eggs take shape because of what I did with a spatula. Strategizing whether it was best to stay still as bubbles rose up the sides, or stir. Smelling the hint of garlic powder he taught me to add. Finally, taking a savory bite as my first creation wiggled on the plate. I was three, and it was such a sweet victory. I love that I still feel like that every time I cook.

My food journey hasn't always been that easy though.

In college I worked several jobs and always had a full load of classes. I was always running somewhere to interview someone, writing some paper, teaching someone how to do something. I was a machine. And I was running on fumes.

I've always been known as the girl with the insatiable appetite and taste for healthful eating. Suddenly I was forgetting meals all the time, to the point where even my professors started telling me I had to slow down and take care of myself. I would fluctuate between eating nothing but fruit and veggie cups to eating nothing but coffee and scones, depending on which snack cart I passed.

It was not a good look. It was no way to live long-term, trust me. 

Once I got an apartment I started cooking for myself out of necessity (re: I was broke). I started small: frozen chicken breasts baked with garlic and tomatoes, succotash and LOTS of baked potatoes.

Cook. Eat. Run to class. Repeat. It was… fine.

I kept at it, and did all I could to add new recipes to my repertoire. One week I would try my hand at Indian food. The next, I'd call home for a family recipe and some technique talk with my Ya-ya. I kept the TV locked on cooking competition shows while I did homework and fell asleep. So many episodes of Chopped. I googled everything I ordered when I ate out (sometimes even my friends' dishes). 

By my senior year my favorite time of day was rushing home to make dinner. It was slow going at first, but at a certain point you learn enough that everything just clicks, and you can look up the rest. Rosemary chicken, panzanella and lamb from the farmers co-op that opened down the street became my new normal. It was the best!

Fast forward six years and cooking is my life. My hobbies include cooking, taking food photos, collecting and reading cookbooks and writing recipes.

If I could learn to cook back when my life was at its most hectic, you can learn too.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a luxurious food life, no matter where you are in your journey.

I would love to help you learn to love your kitchen.


    Want specifics?

  • I'm based in the Knoxville, Tennessee area, but I was born and raised in West Virginia and I will always list pepperoni rolls among the greatest regional culinary creations.
  • I have a B.A. in broadcast journalism and a masters in journalism and mass communications, emphasis in integrated strategic communications. Both from Marshall University. Go Herd!!
  • I have worked as a television producer, radio reporter/anchor/producer/manager/etc., professor, multimedia specialist and sideline reporter. I like to keep busy. 
  • I have two cats named Professor and Steely. 
  • My husband Adam is a play-by-play announcer. It has some pretty great perks. 
  • My go-to meal is caprese salad.  
  • My go-to music is generally rap, especially if I'm in productivity mode. 
  • I'm Croatian and my husband is Italian. A trip to both places is on our list. 
  • Alton Brown and Tina Fey are my heroes. 
  • I have a TV problem. Game of Thrones, 30 Rock, Psych, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Scrubs and more. All basically memorized. 

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