Ken is one of Harlem’s most celebrated chefs. Famous for his shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles and loved for his nice guy persona. “Chef Ken” will soon be a household name in the cooking world. His food. Let’s just say it taste as good as it looks! Justabrooklyngyrl was able to snag a 1 on 1 with the Chef from Harlem! He answered everything from his favorite food, to the moment he decided to follow his passion.
When Justabrooklyngyrl Meets Harlem’s Chef Ken!
When did you decide to undertake a career as a chef?
I was a cable technician for many years and in that field I met a lot of ppl from different ethnicities and genres. So my palette began to expand as I Became that person they wanted to cook and feed go figure. Like I was starving or something lol.
But, I appreciate them for that because, once I said I don’t feel like doing cable anymore I was all in. I started cooking for ppl and saw the reaction that came about and knew this was it.
What was your first break into the culinary world?
Wow, that’s a great question well I can say that it’s all about who you know because, a friend of mine worked in a kitchen in Harlem called 9A on the westside. And I must say that was my big break because, it gave me an opportunity to go into a REAL commercial kitchen and put my work in action. This was about 2012 and in there I tell you I touched a few souls with the food I was putting out that kitchen lol.
Is there a chef you admire the most?
“My favorite chef I have to say is my grandmother. She inspired me greatly.”
What is your favorite cuisine to cook?
I love to cook seafood! But I love to cook and combine different cuisines to create a great symphony in your mouth. From Modern American, to Soul Food, Italian, and Caribbean. Trust me your taste buds will go wild.
Do you have a guilty food pleasure when no-one else is around?
Well everyone knows my guilty pleasure is PIZZA. I LOVE PIZZA! But not just any pizza, it has to be fresh and delicious!
If you could cook a meal for anyone, who would it be and what would you cook?
“That’s a question that I could answer in so many ways, but I would say the Obamas. They created a powerful moment in history, for me to cook for the family would be astronomical and legendary!”
Where do you see Kens Cooking Lounge in the next 5-10 years?
“I see myself having my own restaurant within the 5-10 year timeframe. It’s a MUST and I’m so anxious because I live in the kitchen, I cater and I know I’m built for it. I honestly can’t wait to see my name lit up on the sidewalk and face of the building. Giving people that great atmosphere with food to match-ultimate goal!”
What advice would you give a young chef who’s trying to make it in this industry?
“Do not cook anything for anyone including yourself if you’re not putting your heart into it. If your heart is NOT into it walk away and choose a different path. Always step in the kitchen with confidence and assurance that you can do what ever is needed to get the job done. Can’t should not be in your vocabulary!”
The ulmitate goal is to aim high, set a bar, kill your goals daily while maintaining your confidence! Chef Ken was able to set the bar without fear! Walked away from a career where he was comfortable to create and achieve his ultimate goal “Ken’s Cooking Lounge!”
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