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Conversations with the Inspiring Kalissa Krejcik

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kalissa Krejcik.

Kalissa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started cooking in my teens and quickly realized I had a knack for it. I would test recipes and offer cookies and sweets to friends and they would beg me to make more. I quickly started playing with savory dishes and enjoyed that more after feeling like I could explore and be more creative with savory foods.

I started working in local Northern California restaurants while in high school and absorbed everything I saw, smelt and tasted like a sponge. I became known for hosting meals at home and friends would look forward to themed meals or me testing new ideas or recipe and we would have parties built around me cooking for groups. I had caught the bug and realized I was serious about a career in the food industry. I moved to Los Angeles to attend Le Cordon Bleu institute in Pasadena and worked through the ranks at Ocean Ave. Seafood Co. and was kitchen manager before moving to Coral Tree Cafe as executive chef and started that chain of restaurants, conceptualizing the menu and launch the chain for 2.5 years.

I was then recruited to a local television and film catering company after sparking a friendship with Dustin Hoffman (one of the partners in the catering company) where I spent ten years in management, as a personal chef and party planner in the Hoffman home and helping to grow the catering company from a 1 truck venture to 16 trucks and 2 coasts.

I started C&M Cafe by fluke. A space I coveted literally fell in my lap and I took it as fate that it was time for me to finally move on from my former business and get back in the kitchen where I belonged. The concept came easy to me, after moving to LA I had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of well-rounded restaurants available. In a city full of restaurants, I found it very hard (impossible really) to find a great meal that was affordable, wholesome and in an environment that offered good service. I knew it could be done (to offer great food at a good price and offer great service in an approachable and comfortable environment) and I set about to prove that. Five and a half years later and a major location move under our belt, I feel like C&M still fulfills all three criteria.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has definitely not always been smooth. I spent the first year working in my former business and juggling both the catering business full time and trying to establish my restaurant concept at C&M Cafe from a distance. Robbing Peter to pay Paul was a way of life for the first two years at C&M and worth every struggle and every penny spent. After establishing myself and starting to feel really confident with the success of C&M Cafe at its current location, I abruptly lost my lease at my original location and had two weeks to find something workable. Thankfully I did and only three blocks away from my former location on the much busier Overland Ave, still in Palms. As far as advice: indulge your cravings and trust your instincts above all else. These two things have gotten me to where I am now.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into C&M Cafe LLC story. Tell us more about the business.
C&M Cafe specializes in breakfast all day every day, gourmet and clean comfort food with a unique flair. I believe clean food is healthy food, our eggs are always organic, most produce is organic and ALL meat is hormone, nitrate, nitrite and antibiotic free. I feel we offer something for everyone in a comfortable, affordable and approachable environment. I am proud to have C&M Cafe named after my two son’s nicknames: Chicken and Monkey as you will see by my logo.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
My grandmother for her constant energy and desire to wait on us all hand and foot and to take nothing for herself, which I believe I get my tireless need to nurture from.

Chef Naomi, formally executive chef at Ocean Ave. Seafood, who taught me detailed focus, drive and ultimately scared the shit out of me most of the time but whom I respected greatly and wanted to emulate.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 10640 woodbine st. suite 103/104
  • Website: cmcafela.com
  • Phone: 3106941516
  • Email: cmcafela@gmail.com
  • Instagram: cmcafela
  • Facebook: @candmcafe
  • Twitter: @cmcafela


Image Credit:
Jennifer Young Studios

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Victoria Curtis

    December 11, 2018 at 06:21

    Kalissa! How exciting to see you featured here, I always kind of wondered what you were up to after the catering company departure. Happy to see you thriving in your element!

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