chef・herbalist・gardener・culinary educator・food + plant nerd
Karina Hines is a total food nerd who trusts in the healing power of plants.
An Australian-born farmer’s daughter, Karina grew up in the kitchen and garden of her family’s farm in Drake, New South Wales, Australia. Her connection with the earth and its bounty has been with Karina from inception greatly informing her cooking style as a chef and approach to food, health and farming.
Over twenty years of experience as a private chef with a focus on healthy food, Karina has a diverse knowledge of cooking, plant nutrition and the relationship between the food we eat and how that can impact our health. Since 2013 she has run a private chef business in the Boston area and taught classes with local businesses, farms, schools and plant-loving communities. Karina spent over a decade in Europe and the Mediterranean working as a chef in private homes and aboard sailing yachts before landing on US shores.
A life-student of all things food and plants, she is a herbalist and an avid gardener believing that good health begins in the soil, and sustainable growing practices create flavour, nutrient density and biodiversity. Karina supports permaculture, organic, biodynamic and regenerative agricultural principles.
For decades, Karina has been travelling, cooking, growing and learning through experience, compiling her encyclopedic knowledge of plants, recipes, and how to cook well while accommodating for many dietary needs. Botanical Kitchen was born out of Karina’s drive to share her knowledge, passion and energy to help people obtain vibrant health through food.
Her practical and delicious philosophy for all: “Nourishing food is the best medicine”.
Q&A with Botanical Kitchen founder, Karina Hines.
How did you decide to become a chef?
My grandmother was a brilliant cook, and my mother loves to cook, so I think I was born that way. Cooking makes sense to me, an endless source of joy, discovery, inspiration and creativity – after you have cooked, you get to eat, and I love to eat!
What led you to focus specifically on healthy food and herbalism?
In my late teens, I was quite sick from years of infections and stress-related illnesses treated with antibiotics. I went to a naturopath who helped me to reclaim my health with herbs and some radical dietary changes. It was such a potent life lesson at a very young age in the power of food and its relationship to our health and well-being.
What inspired you to create Botanical Kitchen?
I wanted to break down the “how-to” of making dietary changes and using food as medicine. There is a gap in our healthcare system with little food-focused support or time for medical practitioners to help their patients around diet. Change is hard, especially with food and habits! I wanted to create a practical and supportive space where I could share my story and my experience with food and plants in hopes that I can help people in some way achieve their health goals and find joy in the kitchen.
Can you give a few specific examples of how Botanical Kitchen can offer this support?
One example: Your practitioner has advised you to try to follow an anti-inflammatory diet and remove processed foods, dairy, sugar, gluten from your diet, and you have no idea where to start…Botanical Kitchen is a space that says “That’s ok – don’t worry – you can do this and we will help – Here are some menu idea’s, a category search eliminating different ingredients, easy-to-follow approachable recipes that taste great with photos, ingredient ID boards and chef tips”.
Another example: You’re throwing a dinner party, and one family member is now vegan, and your friend has a nut allergy: What do you cook to accommodate everyone? Botanical Kitchen offers lots of different food-allergy and plant-focused menu plans, dinner ideas and recipes with photo galleries and a shopping list generator.
Who is Botanical Kitchen for?
Botanical Kitchen is for anyone who wants to focus on healthy cooking and eating. Whether a kitchen novice or a seasoned chef, I feel there is something for everyone; Some people want to make significant dietary changes but aren’t sure “how-to” and would like a little help. Some people want to cook local, seasonal, sustainable food. Some people are interested in incorporating medicinal herbs in their cooking and want to learn more about the properties of different botanicals.
What do you hope Botanical Kitchen does for people?
I hope it helps to make preparing and eating healthy food easier and more joyful. I hope it makes cooking and dietary changes approachable and straightforward. I hope it helps us all focus on eating local, seasonal and sustainably grown chemical-free food. I hope Botanical Kitchen introduces people to plants and their health benefits.
Eat to Thrive is Botanical Kitchen’s motto – what does that mean?
It means eating nourishing food to support your body and using plants every day to help balance your health and wellness.
Can you tell us about how you approach creating recipes?
When I create a dish, I am thinking about how to get the most nutritional bang for your bite! I’m thinking about the plants, their benefits, who and what the dish is for. I want to balance flavours and textures, time and practicality with nutrient density and make it taste great – it’s a multi-layered approach.
What are some of your favourite ingredients?
Olive oil, sea salt flakes, black pepper, scallions, citrus, berries, passionfruit, lots of herbs & spices, tomatoes, rocket (arugula) leafy greens and beans of any kind & colour, potatoes, chilli, salted roasted pistachios, honey, dark chocolate and wine – I could go on……
What has been your experience creating Botanical Kitchen
As a chef, herbalist, teacher, gardener typically, I step into the kitchen or garden when I want to create or grow something. Learning, creating and navigating in a digital space to bring my vision of Botanical Kitchen into the form of a website has been quite the learning curve for me! It has been really cool & really hard, fascinating and terrifying, a wild, joyful roller coaster ride adventure for sure.
Who is involved in Botanical Kitchen?
I work with a fantastic web designer & developer. She is brilliant, kind, fun, and so patient. I also collaborate with local photographers a few times a year – they take the snaps while I do the food styling and content design. I collaborate with plant-loving businesses and communities. The rest is me – I create recipes, style and snap more photos, write content and load it all onto the website.
Beyond Botanical Kitchen – what do you like to do with your time?
Stand-up Paddleboarding is my new favourite activity. Going to yoga and pilates classes is part of my routine. I like walking and spending time outdoors. I feel very much at home being on or beside the water from ponds to lakes, rivers and the ocean. I’m a gypsy at heart. I like travelling and discovering new places. I love a road trip. Sharing good food, wine, and playing cards with friends makes me happy.
Shared Experiences and Kind Words
Best present ever!
Taking a class with you on my birthday was the best present I ever gave myself! You have changed the way I see food!
Tricia.....would rather be outside....
Thank you for your inspiration
Karina’s down to earth, and relatable personality was spot-on when giving an incredibly educational cooking demonstration at my home! She takes all of those nutritional dense foods you hear about and turns them into completely approachable masterpieces that are beyond delicious; it is so motivational to try them on your own. My kitchen became a haven of piles of colorful vegetables, herbs, fruits and berries! I am happy to say whenever I repeat her recipes; they come out just as delicious! Thank you for your inspiration!!
“Eating is an event and a celebration and Karina’s layered garden salads with flower petals and herbs are the sparkling party starters.”
Note from a happy party goer
Shaking up your run-of-the-mill muffin
“I’ve cooked from several of the recipes from Botanical Kitchen and they always surprise me with unexpected ingredients pairings that make for subtle and complex flavors. Absolutely worth shaking up your run-of-the-mill muffin and cookie recipes.”
Breadth of Knowledge
“Hines’ breadth of knowledge of all things to do with healthy eating is astonishing. Everything from soil health, through sustainable growing practices, to cooking and eating delicious, health-supporting food and herbs – it’s all on her radar. Know too that Karina Hines is an artist. Not only does her food taste good, not only is it good for you, it’s also absolutely beautiful. Hines has a way of combining delicious ingredients to maximize their nutritive value while beguiling you with colors and textures that make you want to eat her food.”
RyanArtist & Gardener
“Several years ago, I woke up with mysterious pains in almost every muscle in my body, and it wasn’t going away. My doctor diagnosed fibromyalgia, but I was wary of the recommended treatments which addressed the symptoms but were not a cure. I called Karina. The fibromyalgia was brought on by stress, menopause and a chronic lack of self-care, and it resulted in insomnia and widespread inflammation. Karina cautioned me that it had taken me about a year to get myself into this state – it would likely take that long to get out. She recommended immediately eliminating inflammatory foods and using herbs and teas to detox and aid in sleep. She explained what was happening in the body when it is in a state of inflammation as well as why and how each of these dietary recommendations would help. With Karina’s advice and a variety of lifestyle changes around exercise and meditation, just over eleven months later, I was symptom-free and have continued to be so ever since.”
DonnaTeacher, Dedham MA
Delights all the senses
NatalieLandscape Architect & Educator
“I was invited to a cooking demonstration last night, that was amazing! Highly recommend Karina and her cooking wisdom.”
“There is no one doing what Karina at Botanical Kitchen is doing. Her attention to detail and care with which she imparts information is at a level we don’t usually see. Karina is sought after for sound information, that while very deep, drawing on years of study, research, and varied experience is brought back to the student, and we leave with usable, practical tools for our own lives.”
BinkiTeacher, Chef, Community Event Organizer
One of a kind
SaharAcupuncturist & Health Coach
Joy at the table
“Freshly sourced ingredients and innovative recipes―all the joy necessary at the table.”
KateAn avid cook
Eat to Thrive
“Karina’s holistic approach links how and what we eat to our overall well-being.”
“Your food is delicious, I love the recipes and they work!”
KatieSouth End, Boston
Private Cooking Class
“What a unique and fun experience! Thank you so much for your donation.”
ChristineRaising A Reader Foundation, MA
Foods to Help Balance Hormones
“Karina is an amazing person and chef. She is extremely knowledgeable about food and how it fuels your body. Her innovative recipes are delicious and packed with a ton of nutrients that your body needs.”
AllisonBusy working mother with two girls
Cooking with Medicinal Herbs
“I learned about incorporating medicinal plants in the cooking of grains and beans from Karina Hines, an extraordinary natural chef and herbalist.”
MadelonDirector Boston School of Herbal Studies
Lean Clean & Green Workshop
“I cook a lot and read about cooking all the time. I didn’t know I could have so much to learn! Your class was excellent. You introduced me to so many new foods and methods of preparing them. I also appreciated the information about the nutritional values of various foods that you gave throughout the workshop. And I’ll definitely be checking out the sources that you mentioned. Thanks so much for an evening well spent. I feel motivated to modify the way I cook and eat.”