When I Grow Up I Want to Be…

Culinary Talk for People Sharing Food

June 20, 2023

Hello Foodies and Happy Summer!

Somebody asked me recently how I knew I wanted to be a chef. It didn’t take me by surprise because I get this question a lot. Well, I think most chefs get this question.

But it got me thinking. Why am I doing what I’m doing? How did I even get here? Exactly what is it all about?

Now most people would say they knew right away as a small child. Some would say they spent their summers with Grandma in the kitchen. Some would even say they grew up watching too many shows on Food Network! While I did enjoy “Emeril Live” most of my Grandmother’s cooking was ill-received. I was a picky eater and she was intent on putting eggs in the tuna fish salad ruining my after school snack.
I’m glad my palate has matured. But truth be told, I spent my childhood doing normal kid things (basketball, wrestling on the trampoline, Mariokart). In fact, I really didn’t think about food and nutrition until I got to high school when I enrolled in a home economics class. Yep, you read that right… home economics. Honestly, it started out to be a joke. A buddy and I thought that we could meet girls in that class! And for the most part, we did meet girls. But mostly we cooked. And surprisingly we were good at it. My teacher even told me she thought I had a talent for cooking, and maybe I should pursue food as a career.

What? Me, a chef? Really? Yes! That one teacher got me thinking about food and nutrition. It also got me thinking about what my world would look like as a cook, or a chef. I knew there was some kind of path into the food industry, but I didn’t know at the time how that path would bring me to where I am today.

It started with that teacher and a few books. And those books led to other books and a whole lot of flipping through pages of food pictures before class. Ultimately, I felt a small inner push and a draw to the creativity of food. I felt the excitement and motivation to bring happiness to people through food. All because of a teacher and some books.

Guess what? I still stay in touch with that teacher, and I still have some of those books! Both continue to inspire and motivate me.

But back to high school. With a keen interest in culinary arts, I would eventually decide between culinary school, the Marines, or a typical four-year degree in Nashville (far enough away from home but not too far). Thanks to some financial aid I ended up in Nashville at Lipscomb University where I studied Dietetics, or Nutrition. As a distance runner and avid athlete I was always interested in health and fitness and this seemed to fit. I found a mentor while in college and worked for his catering company. His tutelage gave me great confidence and confirmed my next steps.
After graduation it was on to all the “cheffy” things that would define me and my career. Where would I work? Who would be my boss? Would I continue to learn? Would I really cut it as a chef? And most importantly, would I be happy?

I did go to work for a chef. I cut my teeth in a fine dining restaurant in the heart of Nashville, TN. It was tough work, but I kept my head focused, and I put my heart and soul into my work. I did my job and I made great food. I kept the customers happy. I kept the boss happy. And soon, I started to see my world and the world of food as something different. Something that was both rewarding and motivating.

I was making people happy through my food. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Every happy face became an instant feel good moment. It was the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever had…and it still is.

You see, I realized food is intimate. It nourishes not just the body but also the soul. And…I have a hand in that. I realized I could use my hands to nourish someone’s soul.

It was that moment I knew my creativity and my skill had become my purpose. And not only my purpose; it also became my sport. And the sport was my challenge. Every day since then, and every day forward, I challenge myself to get better, to grow some more, and to never, ever stagnate or grow stale. It’s my promise to myself and also to you dear foodie friends.

Why? Because my purpose is also my gift. I was, and still am, motivated by my desire to make entertaining easy as people come together to share their table.

Sure, I’ve had my ups and downs. Sure, I’ve had those days where I wonder what I was thinking. But mostly, I’ve had days that bring me satisfaction and reward. Satisfaction that I used my hands to create delicious food. And reward that my food has satisfied someone’s soul.
So…I do what I do because of you. Your happiness is my reward.

Keep entertaining my friends, and keep cool this summer!

Chef Kevin
Personal Chef
Chef Kevin Culinary

Food For Thought:

Remember those books I told you about? Well, I’m always reading something, and right now I’m reading “Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect” by Will Guidara. It’s about radical reinvention and over-the-top bespoke hospitality. If you’re interested, pick up a copy and tell me what you think. Bonus points if you look up the meaning of “bespoke”.

I’m always on the lookout for a good book! Do you have a favorite I could put on my list?


My summer dinner party menu is live and active! The dessert options are below. Which one would you pick? 5 Gold Stars to anyone who emails me and lets me know!

Rocky Road – flourless chocolate cake, white chocolate popcorn, toasted marshmallow, mascarpone, cocoa nib-almond crumble

Key Lime Tart – toasted meringue, lime supreme, graham cracker-macadamia nut crust, salted caramel, white chocolate

Orange Creamsicle – vanilla cake, orange curd, whipped mascarpone, vanilla bean mousse, white chocolate, orange supreme

Caramelized Pineapple & Brown Butter Cake – fresh pineapple, honey-cardamom sauce, pistachio, caramel, whipped creme fraiche

Peach & Ginger Crostata – homemade pie dough, fresh peaches, ginger, turbinado sugar, blueberry compote, vanilla ice cream


  1. Jessica Keller

    All the desserts sound amazing, but if I had to pick just one… I think I’d have to go with the Rocky Road.

    • Kevin Green

      I think that’s an amazing choice Jessica!!!

  2. Cheryl Rosenbaum

    KeyLime Tart all day everyday!!!

    • Kevin Green

      Key Lime Pie for the WIN! Classic.


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