We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexis Kemp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexis, what do you want your legacy to be?
I want my legacy to be that I created financial stability for my family while pursuing my passion for cooking. That there’s value in being an entrepreneur and controlling how you live your daily life. That living a life of service is a beautiful thing. That creatives can be financially successful. I want to be remembered for creating mouth watering food as well as serving people and making people happy with my work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m the Executive Chef & owner of So Divine Catering. So Divine Catering is a full-service boutique catering company that has been providing service to Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County & surrounding areas since 2005. We specialize in creating delicious, diverse menus that are artfully presented. We listen to each client preferences, dislikes & create a menu specifically for each event & client. This sets us apart because so many catering companies push packaged menus lacking in personality, flavor & presentation. Our mission is to dedicate personal attention to each client while passionately creating an innovative approach to world fusion cuisine. We cater to private client events, intimate dinner parties, weddings, store openings, bridal & baby showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, corporate luncheons, lavish brunches, cocktail & holiday parties. We also offer Personal Chef services & weekly meal delivery. I’m most proud of our service. It has taken a long time to build the right team that treats the clients just as I do. Clients love our staff! I’m also most proud of my longevity. To be able to create, maintain and live off of a catering business for 15 years now is an amazing blessing!! I got to where I am today, by being tenacious, taking risks, cooking scrumptious food, working for great chefs that allowed me to learn my craft and having an amazing work ethic. Getting to where I am today hasn’t been easy. Being an entrepreneur, An African American, female, chef has been very challenging. My field is dominated by white men. So I’ve always advocated for equal pay & treatment. As well as worked for & with female chefs whenever possible. It’s challenging to attain funding to advertise and push my catering company to the next level. It’s challenging to date & spend time with family when my business is centered around nights, weekends & holiday events. I have missed out on my loved one’s weddings, birthdays, holidays & special events because I’m cooking, event planning & celebrating my clients special occasions. It’s also challenging raising my 12-year-old niece. My mother & I have raised her for 10 years now. Parenting is the most challenging job in the world, but I love it! The lessons I’ve learned are to prioritize the most important things daily. My needs change often & so should my expectations of myself. My purpose is to serve people, but also serve myself. I’ve found that by taking a moment to figure out what I need I can solve most of my problems. I’ve also learned that sometimes timing is the issue. If I’m patient things will work out in my favor. Along the way I’ve learned to be patient, to ask questions, to ask for help, never be afraid to say no to experiences that don’t serve me or to people that don’t understand my boundaries. To always uphold my beliefs and morals. That rest is a requirement in order to be a productive entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship can be lonely & that’s OK. Lean into it. Most people can’t understand this entrepreneurial life. That’s OK. Take the time to find your tribe. People that understand, support, love you and what you do are such blessings. There is no such thing as balance. In life different needs must be met at different times. This changes according to how each person lives their life. No one can do it all at the same time.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I Love Manhattan beach & Zuma beach in Malibu. I have lunch on the beach, listen to music & take a dip in the ocean. The roof top bars at Mama Shelter in Hollywood & Perch Downtown are so fun! Beautiful views and yummy cocktails. MBP (Manhattan Beach Post) is one of my favorite restaurants. Order the Bacon, Cheddar Biscuits, Spicy Blistered Blue Lake Green Beans w/ Crispy Pork, Potato Gnocchi w/ Corn, Skirt Steak w/ Spicy Chimi Churri Yum! Republique Restaurant in Los Angeles is delicious. Casual Breakfast & Lunch. Eat the French Omelet, Smoked Salmon Benedict & Croque Madame. A lavish assortment of house baked pastries like Banana Nutella Crostada, Matcha Raspberry Mini Loaf, Donuts, Seasonal Fruit Danishes & breads. I like pastries! Fine dining menu for dinner. Red Bird Restaurant, Downtown has beautiful outside gardens/courtyards to dine in. The food & cocktails are absolutely mouth watering. The Comedy Union in Los Angeles is a nice lounge/club that has some of the best African American Comedians. Great date night or girls night out.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to my Mom Lenease. She is and has always been my biggest supporter. My Mom encouraged me to do what I love & take risks. She has not just given me life but helped me live such a good life. Even in challenging times my Mom has always let me know that this is a part of the process to get to greatness. To look for the beauty even in painful times. Always be grateful for what I have. Also my Mom is hands on & has worked many events when I needed help. My Mom is the reason I have such a strong work ethic. Thank you! Shoutout to my 12 year old niece Lyric who grocery shops with me for all my events. She offers ideas on how I can decorate events. Lyric is my biggest cheerleader! Thank you! Shoutout to my Grandmother Josie who helped me get through culinary school. Who hires me to cater all of her events & insists on paying full price. Grandma Josie always reminds me that Gods plan is always the best plan & to keep going no matter how tough things may seem. Shoutout to my Grandparents Eugene & Katherine who always remind me that God has a purpose for my life. They lift me up on the hard days. Thank you! Shoutout to my Great Grandma Dora & Great Aunt Jane. The Sisters. Grandma Dora (who died this month from natural causes) would of been 100 years old on October 8th. Aunt Jane had passed many years ago. Grandma Dora & Aunt Jane taught me so much about cooking from my soul. A handful of this, a pinch of that. When food should be crispy, pan seared, roasted, baked or slow cooked in a pot on the stove. When to add fat or acid. How to season & make food flavorful. They brought the joy to the kitchen with stories as we all cooked. These women are the reason I cook. Thank you! Shoutout to Chef Sherri Warren who hired me to work at her family’s Kosher catering company. I loved working with mostly women chefs. Sherri mentored me & taught me so much about event planning, decor, cooking for large events & working at different venues. Sherri would allow me to use her non-kosher commercial kitchen for events when I first started out. Thank you!
Chef Alexis Kemp TommyT Photography LLC TLKmultimedia Silver Gecko Photography