I first experienced the culinary wonder that is Chef Kess, at our Taste of DinDin Party: A Winter’s Pairing. Chef Kess had created a menu featuring yam croquette, smoked brisket, and a deconstructed opera cake. Everyone at her table remarked how blown away they were by her creativity, presentation, and most of all the deliciousness of each dish she served.
One guest exclaimed, “I hate yams, but I’m loving this yam croquette”!
I knew then we had a special chef on our hands. And I’m thrilled to have her hosting her own DinDin Party, a 7-Course Chef Tasting Menu. Below we share some of Chef Kess’s biography and ask her 5 questions so you can learn more about one of top up and coming chefs in Dallas.— Carl LaFlamme, Founder and CEO, DinDin Party.
Chef Kess From Africa with Love
Chef Kess, like many great chefs, was first grandma-taught; cooking in Africa at the foot of her grandma at age six. Those early experiences created a love affair with cooking. However, when she grew up and got ready to go to college she didn’t take the culinary route, thinking it wasn’t a viable career choice. Instead, she got a degree in computer science and then an MBA.
But her love of cooking soon won out, and she enrolled in the Art Institute of Dallas where she became a pastry chef. The experience of a “formal culinary education” helped Kess go from a cook to a chef. “A cook knows how to cook, a chef knows why”, she now says.
Kesskravings: Building a Cooking Empire
Chef Kess didn’t cook professionally until 2012, but in the past 7 years, has gone from a pastry chef to a chef with a mission “to transform African cuisine and show the world the continent’s rich flavors. And ultimately to rewrite and share a new story of cuisine which has its roots in Africa and contribute to establishing African cuisine as a fine dining choice.
Towards that end Chef Kess is quickly building her cooking empire under the umbrella of KessKravings. She channeled her love of pastry and baking into Jenesis Cafe, where she spreads her love creating speciality cakes for weddings and other special events. Then there’s SavorKravings her pop-up restaurant where’s she partnered with Dindin Party for a 7-Course Chef Tasting Menu. There’s Kesskravingsspice where she creates and sells her unique African blends of fresh ground spices. A cookbook is also on the way. She even has her own Kesskravings app in the iTunes Store! Plus her catering, private dinners and classes.
5 Questions with Dindin Party Chef Kess
We grabbed a couple of minutes from Chef Kess’s busy schedule to ask her five quick questions…
1) Your specialty is Afro Fusion Cuisine which you describe as a culinary bridge African flavors and Western cuisine. What are you most excited about when it comes to African flavors or cuisine?
CHEF KESS: Most African cuisine is made from scratch without preservatives. These are cooking methods that have been thought in the home for generations which is now called “Paleo” in the Western cuisine. So if you are a Paleo fan, then African cuisine is the way to go.
2) How do you go about creating a great menu for a dinner party?
CHEF KESS: I’m very artistic and creative so I get inspired by many “things” which I use to create my menus. An example could be taking a vacation from Ghana to Italy transiting through Paris. This inspires me to create a menu that bridges cuisines from Ghana, France and Italy.
3) What are your three go-to ingredients to bring a taste of Africa to western dishes?
CHEF KESS: I’ll say sugarcane, palm oil and rare and exotic African spices. (ed.note: you can purchase African spices made by Chef Kess along with a selection of baked goods at kesskravings.com/kshop)
4) What can guests look forward to at your upcoming DinDin Party: 7-Course Chef Tasting Menu, with Wine Pairings and Live Jazz.
CHEF KESS: I strive to surprise through my creations and to share what I have felt and learned through my culinary journey. For me, each plate is about the art, my childhood memories, the place, the ingredients and the whole concept besides the food, making the entire experience far more exciting.
The guests can look forward to a pleasant surprise after they arrive at my event. My menus show some ingredients that is going to be served but the final product is unknown until the plate comes to the table. This always creates an excitement amongst my guest and they are always looking forward to what I’m going to serve next.
5) What qualities do you need to possess to be a great chef?
CHEF KESS: An innate culinary passion.When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think about is food and the delectable meals I’ll be creating. In the evening, as I drift off to sleep, I think about new recipe ideas instead of counting sheep.
On a professional level you should be able to take any ingredient or combination of ingredients and transform it into something amazing that will “wow” your guests.
Thanks Chef Kess. We invite you to come get “wowed” at Chef Kess special 7-Course Chef Tasting Menu Dindin Party featuring African flavors fused with western cuisine. Exquisitely paired with fine wine and live jazz music at a special pop-up location.
It promises to be a nirvana experience for foodies. A perfect date night. A fabulous way to celebrate. And an evening you won’t forget! Check out the incredible menu (chocolate and edible gold — oh my!) and book your seat to this fabulous Dindin Party by CLICKING HERE.
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