Erin Clarke ’08 learned to bake in her Grammy’s kitchen on summer afternoons. Today, Clarke is the creator of the blog Well Plated and author of The Well Plated Cookbook, both of which are dedicated to making healthy eating affordable, accessible, and delicious. Inspired by the comfort foods of her childhood, Clarke set out to make some of those classic recipes healthier, or put a new twist on them. She started the blog in 2012 as a hobby, sharing the budget-friendly recipes she created while her husband, Ben Clarke ’08, was in law school. Now the site has grown to include more than 1,300 recipes and receives millions of visitors every month, along with the cookbook and an Instagram account with nearly 140,000 followers.
Clarke, who lives in Milwaukee, has cooked live on Good Morning America from her home kitchen, and been featured in People magazine and on Wisconsin Public Radio. As her blog following has grown and publicity rolled in from the cookbook, Clarke says she keeps the focus on being of service to her readers and that, “at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships and community.”
And so many readers are making her recipes because Clarke makes every effort to remove barriers to cooking healthy recipes at home. Her blog posts include step-by-step videos and suggestions for substitutions if you don’t have certain ingredients on hand, as well as options to adapt a recipe for certain dietary needs, like for gluten free or paleo diets. And she ends the posts with tips for storing, reheating, and freezing the dish. Clarke, who was a marketing major at Notre Dame, started Well Plated in 2012.