I’ve always loved cooking. My mom died when I was 8 years old and my best memories were always cooking with her. After it was just my dad and me and I started cooking for the two of us. I tried to draw on things I remembering preparing with my mom. In high school, I started a small catering business and while trying to figure out what to do post high school, most people kept saying I should go to culinary school, but it didn’t feel right. I wanted to go to a proper university so with some suggestions and guidance from teachers I went to Miami of Ohio to study nutrition.
I graduated from Miami with a degree in nutrition and food science and really I didn’t want to do anything that the degree fed into. I wanted to cook nutritious food and that just didn’t exist as a career at the time. The basic career path was hospital work or companies that make food coloring or dyes and I knew that wasn’t for me. So I went back to a place that I knew was fun: Williams-Sonoma. Eventually I reached a ceiling there and knew I needed more. While I continued working for them I knew this wasn’t my career path. But the opportunity it did allow me was being in front of people, getting my ideas out there, cooking in front of an audience. I tried to find things within William-Sonoma that I really loved, like teaching cooking classes and really engaging with the customers, and those ultimately helped me get to the next step. It allowed me to have an interaction with people that hired me as a private chef. I felt like my 20s was a series of bandages that led me to the next step.
While I was at Williams-Sonoma, I was also working part-time at The Chopping Block, a cooking school in downtown Chicago, and part-time on my own business. I was catering parties on the side, and during one of these parties was approached by what became my first private chef client. Eventually word of mouth spread and I started Drizzle Kitchen, my own chef service.
I worked with a few families who wanted nutritious foods that were easy to warm and get on the table. Nothing crazy, nothing fancy, no food allergies or food issues. But then, about a year into the business, I was introduced to a family whose son was diagnosed pre-autistic. No one at the time in Chicago was offering a single-service private chef service that worked with food allergies, unbeknownst to me, and I was thrilled to dig into the eating patterns that were unfortunately tearing this family apart. What we discovered they truly needed was someone to make healthy, allergy-friendly food that everyone could eat safely. Eventually, I started becoming known as chef who could work with nutritionists, dietitians, doctors to help families achieve safe eating habits and understand how to prepare for a whole family. I expanded and needed a larger team. I hired one chef, two chefs. Now I have five chefs and someone helping with my Instagram network and social media. I have personally worked with the same four families for the past couple years and any new clients are passed through to my chefs. They do the grocery shopping for the items that I discuss with each client on a weekly basis. All the menus come directly from me and then my incredible chefs execute the recipes for their clients. I have developed really special relationship with the families with whom I work and it gives me so much joy to see how they learn to love food again.
As a woman, especially right now, to be powerful is to own who you are. I think this is very tricky with social media. I find when I post a picture of myself on Instagram I get a lot more hits than if I post pictures of food, which makes me so mad. But rather than take advantage of guaranteed more clicks I still post pictures of food because that’s who I am and that’s the inspiration I want to provide people with. Being gracious and giving along the way is powerful. I got to where I am now because of other female entrepreneurs. More people than I ever expected to be are just so happy and willing to help others. Being a powerful women is sharing your expertise and helping other women along the way.
KENDRA’S ADVICE FOR HEALTHY EATING
You have to be healthy and listen to your body. Don’t just choose a diet because you watched a documentary and decided it was good. Make the decision to eat a certain way or cut something out because it makes you feel more energized and better daily. Change what you eat and have a new lifestyle if you feel tired or slow. Take ownership of how you feel! Eating real food; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds is key.
KENDRA’S THREE FAVORITE FOODS:
1) Vital Proteins Collagen – collagen is god’s gift to everything. It is amazing. It is good for skin, hair, and nails. It is in every part of your body. As you get older and stressed your body is depleted of collagen. Ingesting it is a great way to help replenish it.
2) Adaptogenic mushrooms – favorite company OM Mushrooms. I have an overactive adrenal gland. They help to balance out my adrenal system. They help with stress, fatigue, brain clarity, immune function, and focus. https://drizzlekitchen.com/magical-adaptogenic-mushrooms/
3) Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Morsels – I am the consulting chef for Enjoy Life Foods. I love the chocolate chips because they are vegan, paleo friendly, and super clean. And just delicious!
KENDRA’S THREE FAVORITE KITCHEN ITEMS:
1) Parchment paper – It is a vegetable-based disposable paper with which you can bake. You put it on your sheet trays before you bake. It creates a nonstick service and it prolongs the life of your pans. If you are roasting vegetables or baking brownies, it should be your best friend!
2) Tongs – everyone should have multiple pairs of tongs. You can use them to mix, stir, toss, and flip everything in the kitchen.
3) Instant read thermometer – for everyone who has asked me how do you know if chicken and steak is done, just stick it in and check the temperature! Be sure you aren’t touching bone and slide the thermometer in horizontally so you get the most contact with the meat. The temperature depends on what you’re cooking, give it a quick google and you’ll find a great cheat sheet!