Twenty eight year old Kimani Allen, better known as Chef Ki is making his mark in the culinary industry. The Washington DC native has always had an interest in cooking and realized by the age of 20 that it would be his career.
Chef Ki started cooking professionally in the US Army. That’s where he received his food service education. Once he got out of the military he attended PG Community College’s Culinary School.
I grew up around a lot of strong influences in the kitchen. I watched my mother, grandmother, aunts and cousins cook dishes like fried chicken, mac n cheese and collard greens. I’d also watch my godmother, Saeeda Lateef Create Indian dishes like kofta and Chicken tikka masala.
Tell me about River East Cafe.
River East Cafe is Pop-Up eatery that I started at the end of 2019. It was an effort to service the people of ward 8 where it’s considered to be a “good dessert”. We created healthy nutritious menu items that the people of the community could relate too such as our “Uncle Salm” Salmon BLT and our “Crankin Cajun Salmon Pasta”
What’s something that you’d want any youth to know that would like a career as a chef?
For a youth wanting to enter into the food service industry I’d say, stay creative and study the industry as much as possible. It’s just like technology, extremely progressive and constantly changing.
What’s something we all can be looking forward to from you this year?
I recently started a foundation called The Feed These Kids Culinary Program. I’ll be focusing a lot of my time on giving back to the community and advocating nutritious eating and a healthy lifestyle. I’ll also be working with Chef Dopeness of “Meals of Dopeness” to feed the community as well as promote a healthy lifestyle.