Kendra Peterson

When I first met Kendra, I was like, "who is this adorably sculpted ball of energy with the glowing skin and beautiful hair?"  She is legitimately a ray of light, full of vitality and animation, and definitely an amazing person to be at a party with (she brings the BEST food...always homemade, of course)!  Not only is she a kick-ass chef, but she possesses several qualities that also make her a excellent businesswoman (drive, creativity, good organizational and communication skills and a true love for the industry in which she works)...and so DrizzleKitchen was born.

DrizzleKitchen provides private chef services for clients who, for whatever reason, need help with customized, clean and nutritious meals.  Maybe they have a newly-diagnosed food allergy, are going through chemo, recovering from surgery or just lack the time they need to prepare delicious, nutrient-dense food.  Kendra and her team focus on healing the body AND the mind by eating the right foods for your body.  In turn, their clients have more energy, better sleep and thus, a better quality of life! 

So thank you, Kendra!  For always being a wealth of knowledge on all things food and health-related, offering me better alternatives for next time when I've just polished off a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's and have a tummy ache and, of course, for bringing those amazing Christmas cookies to last year's holiday gift exchange!  Check out my interview of this girl boss below!

 Photo by Chicago Tribune

Photo by Chicago Tribune

 Click image for Kendra's blog

Click image for Kendra's blog

What inspired you to become a chef, and how did that career choice lead to you running/owning your own business?

I always loved to cook. As the youngest of three girls I was the one that was just at the hip of wherever my mom needed to be, practices, concerts, making dinner….and I ended up spending a lot of time in the kitchen with her. My mother was the ultimate entertainer. She loved to have everything from the perfect place setting to the perfect place card to the perfect take-home gift. She made holidays gorgeous with sparkles, glitter and her love for how the table looked. I’m pretty sure that’s in my blood! 

She died suddenly when I was 8 years old, and while my father did his absolute best in the kitchen there was only so much of his cooking that I could handle! We started cooking together, and then my dad got remarried to an amazing woman...but I still wanted to be in control of the kitchen. I wanted to be more adventurous than my house had the experience to be without my mom at the helm. Then I became a vegetarian and they had no clue what to do with me. That’s when the cooking really took charge because I had to be in total control of my vegetarian life.

I began to get insanely curious about food. And this was way before the internet and celebrity chefs. You just had to seek out how to cook well through magazines and cookbooks. The food network just launched and I made my father switch to whatever cable company had that channel because, my God, I had to watch Emeril. In high school I would have my girlfriends over after school let out and would make and roll out fresh pasta, finishing the meal with chocolate mousse. I took every food-related class my high school offered and became totally obsessed with cooking. I started a little catering company and would make food for the teachers during their monthly morning meetings.  At the same time, I was super interested in healthy food.  As track captain, I would yell at the other girls for eating Oreos and chips and would help them understand better snacks to pack for our performance.

Running my business really just fell into my lap! I went to school for food science and nutrition and worked for Williams-Sonoma, Inc. for awhile after college. I traveled around and helped run stores, open stores and eventually helped with the culinary program in a few Midwest stores. I learned how to decorate cakes from a bakery in Cincinnati and began a little cookie and cake decorating business, which slowly morphed into personal chef work. It literally landed in my lap at a time when most people only knew of personal chefs that worked for people like Oprah. I now can’t imagine working for anyone but myself. I’m blessed and lucky to do what I love, day in and day out!

What is your #1 favorite beauty product that you swear by and why?

Weleda Skin Food. It’s the only thing that prevents my fingers from cracking (literally through each line of my fingerprints!) in the winter. I also put it on my décolletage every night and on my feet when they’re in need of some TLC. It’s a miracle cream that is completely natural and non- greasy

What does your typical weekday morning routine consist of? 

I usually wake around 7/7:30 and snooze a little with my boyfriend. We really love our mornings, and it’s a special time for us before our crazy days begin! Once we finally get up, I make coffee in a french press, turn on some jazz, read the news (no TV in the morning, ever), make some breakfast and take my supplements. If I’m lucky and have an hour to spare, I’ll try and get in a spin class before my clients start. Otherwise I do 3x1 minute planks before I shower. Once I’m out of the shower, it’s go time.  Busy busy busy!

If someone agreed to take only ONE vitamin/supplement for their well-being, which one would you recommend as being the most beneficial?  What brand would you suggest they buy?

I would suggest a probiotic. The best way to choose a brand is really to talk with your doctor and listen to your body. I went through 3 different probiotics before I settled on one that my body really resonated with. I like Garden of Life Raw Probiotics for Women. Look for a high count in the billions of probiotic strains (like 30/40/50).

Give me an example of what your perfect night out in Chicago might look like?

My perfect night out…..first of all it would be about 72 degrees. It would start with a cocktail on the terrace of the Park Hyatt. Then head to the West Loop for dinner at either Blackbird or Avec depending on if you feel fancy (Blackbird) or more casual (Avec). It would end by walking from either one of those over to Soho House for a Gin Gimlet made by my favorite bartender and some ping pong.

What is one piece of nutrition/food advice you would have printed on the front of a newspaper if you had the opportunity?

In all caps, “ STOP DIETING.” I can’t handle all the diets. There’s a reason that sector of the market makes so much money...because people fail at it and keep coming back for more punishment!  If you can work on practicing self-love and self-discipline, then I believe a balanced and clean food life should work just fine for you! Throw in some intermittent fasting, reduce your sugar intake, exercise, meditate and sleep a minimum of 7 hours. Those are all big pieces of the body challenge. Eating REAL FOOD is best for it tastes better! 

I know you have an e-book coming out soon (SO EXCITING), but can you give us a taste of what's to come by sharing one of your favorite recipes?

Truffled Cauliflower Soup with Poached Shrimp and Chili Flake is one of my all time favorite recipes. I posted it awhile ago on my blog, but I love it so much. It’s light, satisfying and will make you feel like you are eating something much naughtier than you actually are!  Sometimes I add a swirl of butter before ladling it into bowls, or I'll add a little swirl of half and half. But the recipe itself, in its bones, is gluten-free, dairy-free and DELISH. And, as you mentioned, you can find recipes like this and other fun, simple kitchen tips and tricks in my e-book that will be coming out this Summer. Stay tuned on my blog and website for updates and specials coming soon!

 Truffled Soup with Poached Shrimp and Chili Flake

Truffled Soup with Poached Shrimp and Chili Flake