A beast in the kitchen starting at age 3–seriously–Kenny Gilbert is a culinary force to be reckoned with. He’s proven his culinary prowess time and time again, working as Executive Chef the Ritz Hotel, competing on a renowned reality cooking show, and curating his own line of spice blends. It goes without saying that we’re excited to feature Kenny as our August/September CrateChef featured chef.
For Kenny, born and raised in suburban Cleveland, cooking has been in his blood from day one. His mother, a dinner entertainer, and his father, an avid BBQ man, both sparked his cooking curiosity at a young age. At age 11, he was already cooking Thanksgiving dinner solo, and in high school he prepared meals for the entire swim team–sometimes using a portable electric double burner in the locker room. It was clear to everyone that his enrollment in culinary school straight out of high school was a no-brainer.
From that point on, Kenny was off to the races. Working at fine dining establishments in Naples, Florida, Sea Island, Georgia, and Telluride, Colorado, Kenny started perfecting his craft right in time to be cast on season 7 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” While the judges were impressed by his skills and finesse, the audience fell in love with Kenny’s approach and personality–landing him the unofficial but indisputable title of fan favorite.
Warm in spirit and with great humility, Kenny focuses on fostering inclusivity in the kitchen which was a novel feat for the industry during the aughts. This intentionality helps him help other rising chefs who have the talent, but not the resources, to attend prestigious culinary schools like he did.
Today, Kenny has paired his culinary passion and prowess to open restaurants and create Chef Kenny’s Spice Blends, a line of spices with equivalently big personalities. This line features varieties like Jerk Spice, Raging Cajun, and Cinnamon Coffee Rub, many of which are used by luxury hotel brands across the world.
With over 20 years of professional experience in the food & beverage industry, Kenny has developed an innovative approach to the restaurant and hospitality industries that is utterly unmatched. We’re humbled to introduce you to this visionary and all he has to offer in this month’s CrateChef box.