It has always been my deepest passion to cook professionally, but Kombu Kitchen is more than just a vocation. Kombu Kitchen is an expression of who I am and what I aspire to be. Launching Kombu Kitchen has been a culmination of a lifetime of lessons learned across years of personal growth all punctuated by some defining moments that have altered my path forever.
I took my first macrobiotic cooking class in 1987. While studying in Austria, I met a humble Japanese healer that would change how I looked at food forever. He taught me about yin and yang and the endless give and take in the universe, while showing me how to cut carrots with intention and stir miso from the heart.
I first learned about veganism and sustainability in 1992 from the late founder of the The Body Shop, Anita Roddick, while sitting across from her at her kitchen counter in Littlehampton, England. Years later, a magical macrobiotic dinner with Richard Gere and Professor Robert Thurman, Uma Thurman’s father, discussing Tibetan Buddhism and the principles of non-harming would open my eyes to many of the principles Kombu Kitchen employs today. In 1994, several years after I had lived in Brazil and visited it’s rainforests, I co-hosted a vegan dinner party for Sting and his wife Trudie Styler in honor of their tireless work helping indigenous peoples through The Rainforest Foundation Fund. That night augmented my belief in the importance of sustainability and power of local sourcing.
A shocking double cancer diagnosis at the age of 42, after losing my mother to the same just years before laid the final bricks on my path. All of these breathtaking moments, good and challenging, left their indelible mark on my life and brought me to the creation of Kombu Kitchen.
I am a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef and have a passion for the classic French culinary style. I graduated Le Cordon Bleu with distinctions and honors all while staying true to my belief in plant-based cooking. I am also trained as a nutritional and wellness counselor with the AFPA and have been trained as a Ayurvedic practitioner. In March 2013, I was honored to win the San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition. I competed against 450 talented chefs and was the first and only vegan chef to ever win the distinction and I did it with a vegan dish!
I take my inspiration for the farm to table food I prepare from many places. My culinary idols include Chefs Thomas Keller, Micheal Mina, and the divine Alice Waters. My favorite meals have been savored at Souen in New York City, L’Ami Jean in Paris, de Culiniare Werkplaats in Amsterdam, and of course French Laundry in Yountville, CA. My time in Paris often comes through in what I have coined my vegan fusion style of cooking. I am inspired daily to create award-winning plant-based meals for my clients to enjoy in the comfort of their own home.
Chopping and preparing food for others is one of the most sacred acts I can think of preforming. I approach every meal I prepare as a gift I give and more importantly, receive. It is at once my life’s work and my nourishment — it feeds my soul as much as it feeds those I cook for.
I look forward to the gift of cooking for you.
In Health, Chef Kristen