Today we’d like to introduce you to Chloe Chappe.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’m a chef and writer from Los Angeles. Good food and writing were introduced to me when I was young by my dad, a screenwriter and skilled chef. He passed away when I was eight years old but his creative pursuits still inspire me. I studied writing and literature at Bard College in upstate New York while becoming more interested in cooking. I had my first job in a restaurant as a college senior. After graduation I moved back to LA and worked as a private chef, the pasta maker at Michael’s restaurant, hosted pop-ups, and cooked for the staff at an artist’s studio. Behind the scenes I am always working on my writing. For my website, Moonbeam Kitchen, I interview women in food who are inspirations to me and small business owners.
Due to the pandemic in March 2020 I lost my job as a private chef and much like other chefs in LA, started a food business out of my apartment kitchen – Pasta Party! I’ve been making fresh homemade pasta and sauces since then. I delivered to people all around LA. Now I sell my pasta weekly through my friend Saehee’s food delivery non-profit called Soon Mini.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The food industry isn’t the kindest or most reliable for someone like me who craves stability and routine. At the same time though, its flexibility allowed me to hone my skills in different settings and form a community. My biggest challenge has been losing my job due to Covid. I know I’m not alone and I’m constantly inspired and encouraged by other chefs and food entrepreneurs who are forging their own paths forward in this city. It helps to have a strong community to relate to in this strange period for the food industry.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My work is not confined to the kitchen although it does center on food. I am a chef that specializes in vegetarian feasts, fresh pasta, vegan desserts but also cookies (that aren’t always vegan!). When I write, I focus on women in food but am also interested in food history and personal essays. I’ve been published online in LARB, Good Food, LA Weekly, and Counter Service. I aspire to publish small- run specialty publications. At the beginning of 2020 I published ten of my recipes in a Zine illustrated by ten of my best friends called “Recipes for Friends”. Currently, I’m in the process of creating an archival pandemic time capsule of food-related documents collected from the LA food community including recipes, lockdown menus, prep lists and other shared pandemic documents.
I’m particularly proud of hosting pop-ups over the last five years. I hosted two in 2019 in collaboration with Kai Blatt. She helped me create an orange-themed four-course sit down meal which included hand-made ravioli, turmeric flatbreads and orange blossom pavlovas. We also hosted an all-day summer pop-up featuring focaccia sandwiches with goat milk ricotta, vegan ice cream and fermented summer fruit shrubs. I miss hosting these events.
Any big plans?
I am planning to host a pizza pop-up collaboration, and am working to publish my pandemic archival time capsule by the end of the year.
Jessica Chappe, Hannah Ray Taylor, painted poster by June Stoddard