Taste Beyond Boundaries

Katie Miller‘s new The Good Table shared meal series aims to provide a place for LGBTQ+ people of all ages to gather together and make connections over good food.

Hello! My name is Katherine (Katie) Miller, I identify as a lesbian, and I prefer they/them or she/her pronouns. I grew up in Madison and spent most of my childhood roaming around the Farmer’s Market and helping out my dad at our family’s liquor store, Miller’s Liquor. 

I became interested in cooking—specifically the significance of a meal experience—in high school, when my parents were going through a divorce. I felt that the best way to create a sense of normalcy for my younger sister, Hannah, was to consistently cook dinner for her, even though, all I knew how to make at that. 

A few years later, in college at the UW, I decided to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in dietetics after becoming increasingly interested in how nutrition was affecting my athletic performance. I completed my first triathlon, in Verona, on my 17th birthday. After a (very) brief collegiate track experience I decided to take triathlon more seriously. 

By the time I graduated from UW in 2017, I had competed at Collegiate Nationals four times, finished my first Ironman before I was old enough to enjoy a post-race beer, and competed on Team USA at international world championship races. After college, I did what everyone else does in that situation: I went to graduate school. I received my Master’s of Science in pediatric nutrition and dietetics as well as my Registered Dietitian Nutritionist certification in 2018 from Saint Louis University.

Growing an idea  

While in graduate school, I worked in as many kitchen settings as I could. I talked food, flavor, and freshness with anyone who was willing to listen. I stayed up late practicing culinary techniques and testing out original recipes—hoping to gain the skills I needed to be able to bring people together at my table. I developed my food philosophy, “Taste beyond boundaries.” For me, it means that, through a meal experience, we can all find at least one thing in common with each other. 

After graduate school, I decided to come back home to Madison. Even though I had lived here for all but one year of my life, I felt like I was stepping into a totally new place. I wasn’t involved with the LGBTQ+ community before I moved away. Thankfully, I was taken out to a few Queer Pressure events and that changed for me. However, I still didn’t feel like I truly knew anyone off the dance floor.

Creating connection  

The Good Table is my effort to change this for the Madison LGBTQ+ community. It’s a pop-up queer event that seeks to foster connections by providing a safe, inclusive space for us to gather and share a meal together. 

The Good Table seeks to follow my food philosophy and the flow style of all great meals: snack, refresh, comfort, savor, and indulge. I have been overwhelmed with the initial support of this venture, and I think this has shown me that the Madison LGBTQIA+ community has waited long enough to have a safe meal space that was curated just for us. 

The first event will be a pop-up at Robin Room on June 16. It starts around 6:00 p.m, entry is free, however there is a bar there and all food items are cash-only. The menu is original and will be prepared by me. Specialty cocktails will be created by Megan Touhy, a bartender at Mint Mark and genuine flavor master. 

Bring yourself, bring a friend, bring all the queer folks you know, and help me make this space special, warm, and welcoming. Please check out my Facebook page (facebook.com/TheGoodTableMSN) for event updates and more information. Come as you are—I can’t wait to see you all there.

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