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The lady who hired me and then basically forced me to quit 2.5 years later when I was beginning to be her equal. It was my first job at an amazing house and I was so excited and learned so much from her. She was a great chef but left about a month into me working there. In her absence I really grew into my own and when she came back I wanted to run the kitchen together but she was not having that. She reduced my hours and I realized there was no longer opportunity for growth within the job, so I had to leave. It was a tough but important lesson to learn.  In a way she forced me into becoming who I am today.

Chef Kathleen – Chefleen

Star of Real Life Cooking / Private Chef / Chopped Champion

“Black and brown people come in many shades literally and figuratively and it’s about time media reflects that.”

Chef Kathleen, or to most people who know her as simply Chefleen in a force of nature that has just begun to make a stir.  If you’re thinking to yourself that you might know her, it’s because you probably do seeing that she has been making her mark on the food scene for quite some time now.  Being in the the elite class of Chefs that have won “Chopped” on Food Network and also just being featured in the New York Times for her TV show that she also stars in “Real Life Cooking with Chefleen” she is well on her way to becoming a household name.  Before become a Private Chef to the stars and a well known Chef to all, she was just a young girl in Southern California who knew she would go into the culinary field because she simply says “I have always loved to eat”.  

Now as important as loving to eat is when you want to go into the culinary field, you might want to have more up your sleeve when jumping into it and Kathleen realized this early on.  Like most ambitions people Kathleen stacked her deck by getting a degree from UC Berkeley before later going to Le Cordon Bleu in Hollywood.  Not every Chef needs a degree, but all business owners should know how to run their business and being a Private Chef is a business that is like no other.  Don’t take my word for it though just hear her job description for yourself, “I have like a 100 things going on at all times. I maintain my lifestyle by doing meal prep for 5-10 different clients all over New York City, sometimes doing up to three clients a day! The logistics and work load of this is a lot, yet I’m still navigating finding a place in food media. I truly love teaching people how to cook so I do a weekly live stream, Real Life Cooking with Chefleen, a cook-along show where we make a meal from start to finish in under an hour with no tv magic. In addition, I throw events called Lovers & Friends were I bring back the magic of a dinner party and provide people with an elevated experience out of the norm.”  It’s hard to believe that one person can do so many things and stay sane, but with an amazing team beside her she does it all and always leaves space open for new opportunities too.

Not knowing Kathleen personally you might see this path that she’s on as one for fame and fortune, but that’s not the case.  She stays grounded because that’s not how she views being a chef, “Being a chef is about giving and making people happy.  That’s why my main focus is’t really about getting Michelin Stars or needing to be the best chef, but truly about spreading the joy of cooking.  I think the magic in the kitchen is found in the connection people feel to the food and the to each other while eating it.” This philosophy is better understood if you attend one of her “Lovers & Friends” events where the connection to the people around you and the food is like no other.  With all of this on her plate, yoga and working out really help her to keep her life in balance, which is important because if you aren’t 100 percent you can’t give 100 percent.  There is no doubt in my mind that Kathleen will be not only someone revered in the culinary world, but also a staple and example for future Chefs.  There should no surprise that Kathleen has lots coming up, but her path to get there is her own. “Right now I’m really focused on how to create the future I desire but while still finding the adventure in everyday life. I truly believe in living in the moment and making the mundane extraordinary.”

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