In New Orleans, a city known for its food culture, many people have dreams of becoming a world renowned chef. The city is home to countless award winning chefs and restaurants; it has won eight James Beards awards just this past year. This makes New Orleans the perfect environment for aspiring chefs to find success. Over the past eight years, Chef Kenneth Temple has become a notable figure in New Orleans food culture.
Chef Kenneth spent his childhood watching his dad bake, and learning how to cook. During his senior year of high school, Temple toured Nicholls State and decided to enroll in their culinary program. “It had a good feel to me – 45 minutes from the house, and it had a dope culinary program. My first time in my full culinary course felt comfortable,” he recalled.
Chef Kenneth’s time spent in the program is what inspired him to become a personal chef. “We had the opportunity to work off-site catering gigs...cooking for families in their home, and I just loved that intimacy,” he said. This intimacy, and the ability to connect with each of his clients, can be hard to establish in a restaurant setting.
Over the years, Chef Kenneth has expanded his client base to include NFL and NBA athletes who frequent New Orleans; including five first-round draft picks. His favorite part about cooking for athletes is the unique challenge it presents. “I can't just feed them all the down home cooking, because these guys have to be at tip-top performance. They're literally getting penalized and fined if their weight fluctuates too much; this is all a direct reflection of their diet,” he explained. Instead of feeling limited by dietary restrictions, Chef Kenneth is excited to explore new recipes and techniques, adding variety to every dish. "You don't want the client to get bored," he said. "And you don't want to get bored (as a chef)!"
Chef Kenneth is continuing his quest to become a household name. Not only has he appeared on 504TV, he partnered with Hormel Foods and The Black Food Network to create a series of online cooking videos. He also hosts a weekly cooking show, "Hunger Trap" on his Facebook Live stream. It’s all part of a bigger goal he has for himself – the entertainment aspect. “Every good chef can cook, but not every chef can cook and talk at the same time...and that's the entertainment!" Chef Kenneth explained. He wants to take his passion for cooking and make it exciting, so that he can teach and inspire other people to cook as well.
Aspiring chefs looking to make some of Chef Kenneth’s recipes can find many of them on his website, www.chefkennethtemple.com. People who love to get offline, and use books while in the kitchen unfortunately don't have anything to add to their collection yet. The wait won't be long since Chef Kenneth is working on his debut cookbook. He states that its been a rough time filtering through all of his ideas. “I got a list of recipes right now, but I'm literally thinking about scrapping them all, and starting from scratch. As I've streamed, and create new things for the content...I get to see the way people respond to it. And I'm seeing the creativity (in myself) that's coming from it, and I'm like, 'Shit I don't know, maybe I need to switch the game up.' So sometime this year hopefully. It's one of those things that I'll never be able to get back once I release it. It'll always be my first cookbook. So I want to make sure when I let it go, I don't want to have any regrets. I want it to be a perfect representation of me.”
Chef Kenneth Temple's decision to be a personal chef instead of the traditional cooking route has been the key to his success. This success did not come without stages of doubt throughout his career. In terms of this he stated, “As an entrepreneur, you're always going to question if you're doing the right thing. You're always going to hit that point of struggle – but you have to keep pushing through.”