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Hidden Gems: Meet Alexis Kemp of So Divine Catering

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

Alexis, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
As a kid, I loved food. I watched cooking shows, wrote down the recipes & cooked meals regularly. My parents would have garage sales once a month. I would bake brownies, cookies & make lemonade to sell. I loved seeing the expression on people’s faces when they enjoyed my food. Eventually, my parents divorced & cooking dinner became my chore. My Mom would call me after school & talk me through each step of making dinner. 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 at two internships. My first internship was at the Hilton Resort in Destin, Florida 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 associate 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 chilis, 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 an upscale diner-style restaurant here where I shopped at farmer’s 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 delicious 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 three 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 provide catering to dinner parties, celebrity events, weddings, store openings, corporate luncheons, cocktail & holiday parties. We also offer Personal Chef services.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There were loads of bumps along the way. Currently, the pandemic has made an already challenging career as a caterer/personal chef even harder. People couldn’t gather for so long. That wiped out almost all of my business. I pivoted to delivering meals for weddings & smaller events. Even cooking Thanksgiving & Christmas meals to deliver to my clients in 2020. The loss of business & low-profit margins has made things hard financially. Also, the cost of everything is at an all-time high. Especially food, gas & housing. This makes clients more cautious about spending money freely. My catering business still isn’t back to what it was before the pandemic. Many of my clients have moved out of town. Many of my corporate clients still have not gone back to hosting their annual holiday events.

Other challenges include gaining capital to continue to grow my business, including branding, marketing & advertising.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
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 each client’s needs. 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 provide catering to dinner parties, celebrity events, wedding receptions, store openings, corporate luncheons, cocktails & 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! I’m most proud of catering Tiktok Tailgate at the Superbowl LVI this year! We fed ten thousand people! Awesome experience!

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Confidence. I’m very confident in my ability to gain clients, arrange events, prep/cook, present food beautifully, organize, hire the right staff & turn the client’s vision into a reality.

Pricing:

  • Most fully catered events average $100 per person

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Ms.Ryot TLKmultimedia TommyT Photography

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