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Chef CJ

“What most people don’t know about me is that I’m nice and sweet. Most people’s first impression of me would be strong willed and a workaholic, probably because I own my own business and run my own company. What they don’t know is that really I’m a big softie.”

Chef CJ

Executive Chef & Owner – Kalye Catering and Cakery Company

“I don’t run my kitchen with fear, I run it with freedom and democracy”

Chef CJ is the executive chef and owner of Kalye Catering and Cakery Company, but also a full time mom of 2.  She was inspired at a young age to become a chef  “My grandmother was a great cook, and so are her sisters. I grew up watching her do her thing in the kitchen. Mostly, Spanish and asian inspired dishes. She would make everything from scratch and everybody would always look forward to her cooking during family gatherings. She’s a hard food critic as well when it cones to home cooked meals and a perfectionist.”  Which is why later in life she attended L’atelier des chefs to further that dream and follow her passion of becoming a chef.  “It means the world to me, not everybody is given the opportunity to love what they do and to be blessed with passion and skills to wake up each day not thinking of going to work but instead, they get paid to do what they love.” 

Even though these days Chef CJ is definitely an inspiration to other chefs she too has been influenced by some of the tops, Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse, and Amaury Guichon.  With a firm belief that what we do in culinary helps shape the world Chef CJ says that, “ We all have our roles to play.”  Surprisingly though if she wasn’t playing her role as an amazing chef she might be playing one as a sculptor.  Even though the medium would be different, she would still be a part of the arts and share a piece of herself through her expression.  Luckily for us we get to experience her amazing food and also get to see her incredible art on the side when she has free time when she’s not being inspired tot come up with new dishes that is. “I use everything around me as an inspiration. I always try to find time to browse and learn new things from all across the globe. 

If you get the sense that Chef CJ has a calming aura around her you would be correct, it even shows in the way she runs her kitchen.  “A misconception about being a chef to me is that it’s always ‘heated’ in the kitchen.  I don’t run my kitchen with fear, but rather with freedom and democracy.”  This professionalism and leadership is what has landed her some of her proudest moments in her career which include catering some of the countries top politicians and celebrities.  There are drawbacks to being a full time mom and businesswoman sometimes when it comes to self-care, “Unfortunately, with everything on my plate, I hardly have time for rest and recreation. I would love to occasionally have the freedom to travel and to relax.”  Chef CJ wouldn’t trade any of it though and looks forward to incorporating traveling and more food adventures into her future. 

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