Elegant Comfort Foodtaken to a whole new level with Chef Kevin Warren
Currently featured in Ebony magazine!
Chef Kevin formally trained at Le Cordon Bleu at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where he was immersed in the techniques of French, Indian, and Thai cuisines—in addition to having traveled extensively in Italy and France, and being “homeschooled” in Southern and Creole cooking by his mother and both grandmothers.
I started cooking at a very young age. My mother and grandmother taught me how to season meat, prep and cut veggies for meals, and they talked to me about how things should taste, and what to look for in flavoring dishes.
Very early in my childhood my mother noticed how I would watch food intensely. She and my aunt would laugh at the way I would stare down a plate of food. They said I would “devour it with my eyes.” I like to think of that as the beginning of discovering my palate. Even though then I didn’t know what I was doing consciously, my instinct was kicking in.
Not everyone can look at something and be able to taste it before they actually consume it. I didn’t know how big of a gift or talent that was, but it’s helped me big time in the kitchen.
My style of cooking is based in simplicity of ingredients and layers of flavors.
Everything that I know comes together in a dish, no matter what that dish is. I grew up with Creole and soul food, but when I develop recipes now, I apply techniques that I’ve learned from studying other cuisines: I use Indian spicing techniques in my Red Beans and Rice; I use Creole techniques when making a Thai dish; I apply Mayan techniques when I make soup. Because technique is technique—it’s about what you are doing to make the flavors stand out in a dish—it doesn’t necessarily have to do with a specific cuisine or geography.
I’m a nerd when it comes to cooking. I read tons of cookbooks, instructional books, books on technique, magazines. My wife will come home and I’ll be in bed with ten books and my laptop, exploring everything, always being a student, digging deeper into the food science to find out what will make a dish really pop.
Chef Kevin Warren in Ebony
Chef Kevin prepared it “Nice and Slow” in this special article about slow cooking in the July / August issue of Ebony Magazine. Check out Chef Kevin’s recipes for Slow Cooked Beef Stew as well as Collard Greens. Dust off your crock-pots and try these dishes!