North Philly native, Kenneth McDuffie is an outgoing, family-orientated man, who loves to travel, and oh yeah, throw down in the kitchen! He is the oldest of seven and was raised by his late great grandmother Esther Smith. Though his signature dishes and special touch in the kitchen is loved by so many around the world, McDuffie made sure we knew his background first because it all played a role in his success today. With a strong relationship with God and family, he has been able to conquer the challenges life throws his way. Since the age of five, Chef Kenneth McDuffie has been whippin’ in the kitchen and well, the rest is history! Tune into our exclusive interview with the beloved chef as he allows us to walk in his shoes, shares his influences, and much more!
Culinary is a true art and craft but often times people underestimate the hard work that goes into being a chef. Walk us through an ordinary day in the life of Celebrity Chef Kenneth McDuffie.
Take a walk in my shoes! A typical day for me is very busy and demanding. I wake up Monday-Friday at 6am to get ready for work I’m the Food Service Director for a Elementary School in Philadelphia. When i have a few minutes I’m usually checking emails and social media requests for catering gigs. I leave work by 4 becauseI need to go home and begin to prepare to either cook for a client and or begin filming my new web television show series called “Living Tha Life with Chef Kenny” I’m normally in the bed at 2am just to start the day all over the next day.
You’ve cooked for so many celebrities, is there someone that has left a special mark on your career?
I was blessed to have the opportunity to cook for Le’Andria Johnson, Porsha Williams, Jenifer Lewis, Sheryl Lee Ralph, MAJOR, Patti LaBelle, Jackie Christie, Darren Henson and many others just to name a few. The one who have left a huge impact on my life was Gospel artist LeAndria Johnson. I was born and raised in the church and I see so much of myself in her. Her ups and downs in life have encouraged me to keep going and don’t give up on myself just because haters are talking and even when family is trying to slander your name and reputation stand firm on Gods word and push even harder. I struggled with depression, I wanted to end my life, I wanted to give up but listening to her song “Better Days” has really helped me and pulled me out of my darkest days. Thank you LeAndria!
What is your all-time favorite thing to cook and eat?
My favorite thing to cook honestly is Cajun Seafood Alfredo with a homemade sauce and lots of fresh seafood. Oh, my mouth is watering now! My favorite thing to eat is a good fish taco with a nice strong margarita. There is a place in Philly where I go so frequently, they know what I’m ordering as soon as I sit down! I kind of eat there too much but it’s so good!
I’m working on releasing my first cookbook and also finally bring Young & Hungry Catering to a full service restaurant right here in Philadelphia and also we are working on bring more culinary classes to the Urban Communities. You haven’t seen or heard the last of me. Just be prepared I may be in a city near you!
All images by Phil Gavin Riley (PGR Images)