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Meet Alexis Kemp of So Divine Catering in Woodland Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Kemp.

Alexis, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Flint, Michigan to young parents (18 & 19). My parents moved to LA when I was a baby because my father was a musician. I grew up around music, attended shows at the Roxy and remember having art & poetry time as a child.

Raised in the valley, I always loved food. As a child, I watched cooking shows, wrote down the recipes & then would cook the meal.

Eventually, my parents divorced & cooking dinner became my chore & I loved it!

I attended Van Nuys High School where I participated in cooking competitions through C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) earning a scholarship to Johnson & Wales University in Miami. There I learned the technical side of cooking & tasted the tropical flavors of Miami.

Eager to gain knowledge in the culinary field I worked two internships. My first internship was at the Hilton Resort in Destin, FL where I worked with fresh seafood. Cooked for room service, the main restaurant & special seafood buffets on the weekend. Here the Executive Chef allowed my creative juices to flow. I created daily & weekly specials that went over well in the dining room. I realized I loved creating my own dishes & was beginning to gain my culinary point of view. My second internship was at Disney World, in a fine dining restaurant called Artist Point, where I worked with game meats such as venison, rabbit & buffalo. Here, I learned the importance of fresh ingredients cooked simply, allowing the game meats to shine. I loved the subtle approach & attention to detail that was taught by the Executive Chef.

I graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts.

After college, I moved back to Los Angeles where I helped open the first quick service restaurant called The Stand, an upscale burger & sausage restaurant. I opened the restaurant daily, tested recipes, placed food orders & cooked all of the from scratch chili’s, sauces, topping & desserts. I became a kitchen manager and managed the staff as well. The Stand taught me so much about the work ethic needed in the culinary industry.

Then I moved on to a popular catering company called Jennie Cooks Catering, which catered to the entertainment and movie industry (we were right down the street from Sony Studios).There was also a upscale diner style restaurant here where I shopped at farmers markets & created nightly specials, Here I learned to love catering & moved up to Catering Chef. Still exploring catering I worked for a kosher catering company called Warren Works Catering where I learned the technical & religious details of cooking gourmet kosher food.

While I was still working for other catering companies I catered my own events as well, using my fellow chefs & friends as staff, borrowing equipment & shopping for all my own products. I catered my first big event, a wedding for 200 people with 3 staff members. The event was a success! This gave me the confidence to now seek out clients.

I officially started So Divine Catering in 2005. So Divine Catering is a full-service boutique catering company providing service to the Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County & surrounding areas.

We specialize in creating delicious, diverse menus that are artfully presented.

Our mission is to dedicate personal attention to each client while passionately creating a new approach to world fusion cuisine. We cater to private client events, weddings, store openings, corporate luncheons, cocktail & holiday parties. We also offer Personal Chef services.

I strive to put the client first & have my hands in every part of the business to ensure that the quality of food, ambiance, presentation & service are nothing less than So Divine.

Has it been a smooth road?
There were loads of bumps along the way. The first one was gaining clients. I had no idea how difficult & expensive it is to brand, market & advertise. Gaining capital to maintain the business was the first challenge because I didn’t start my business with a bank loan. I started with my own money.

The second obstacle was gaining custody of my niece 7 years ago who is now 9 years old. I went from being a single woman to being a full-time Momtie (mom/auntie). It continues to be challenging to juggle being a parent & running a business. Thank God for my Mother who helps me

We’d love to hear more about your business.
So Divine Catering is a full-service boutique catering company that has been providing service to the Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County & surrounding areas since 2005.

We specialize in creating delicious, diverse menus that are artfully presented. We listen to what each client wants. To their dislikes & preferences & 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 a new approach to world fusion cuisine. We cater to private client events, weddings, store openings, corporate luncheons, cocktail & holiday parties. We also offer Personal Chef services.

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!

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes, LA is a good place for a catering business. People enjoy good food & service.

If someone was just starting out I would say this city is very competitive. There are so many chefs in this city that you must work hard to stand out. Your work ethic has to be strong. Your food delicious & service outstanding to stay in business in this city.

Pricing:

  • Breakfast & Luncheon Pricing Starts at $35 per guest
  • Most fully catered events average $60 per guest

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Chris Bacarella Photography (First crudité spread, third lamb chop, fourth banana dessert, the raw tuna & mango plate, blue corn cakes w/ red pepper dots)
Silver Gecko Photography & Design (for the berry tart & group photos only)

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