Today’s guest, Chef Kizzy Kooks, is a personal chef/owner of Sinful Indulgence Catering (SIC), a Brooklyn-based company that’s recognized for giving its customers the best meal that they ever had; and through word-of-mouth, news of SIC’s mouthwatering dishes have catapulted Chef Kizzy’s name, to be mentioned as one of the “go-to” chefs for Caribbean cuisine in New York City.
We caught up with Chef Kizzy, and during our heart-warming conversation, she revealed her top 5 cooking tips, the one ingredient that she always keeps in her kitchen, and the perfect meal that she would like to prepare for President Barrack Obama.
Read below and be inspired, one appetizing word at a time.
Examiner: When did you know that you wanted to become a chef?
Chef Kizzy Kooks: Looking back on my life, I’ve always had an interest in food. I collected and read recipe books, but I didn’t know until I was 17, when I was attending high school in Brooklyn. I had a cooking class that I absolutely loved. Thank you Mr. Morris and Mr. Springer.
Examiner: What inspires you to cook?
CKK: Everything. I cook whenever I am happy, sad, angry, or in love. [Laughs].
Examiner: Tell us a little about the origin of Sinful Indulgence Catering.
CKK: Sinful Indulgence came into existence after trying unsuccessfully to get a job. I didn’t have any NYC restaurant experience, so no one would hire me. I always wanted my own business, so the rejections inspired me to start Sinful Indulgence—sooner than I had planned.
Examiner: What’s the greatest obstacle you had to overcome as a chef, and how did you overcome it?
CKK: Proving myself—time and time again. I kept pushing. Through the trials and tribulations, through errors and rejections. I never gave up.
Examiner: President Barack Obama stated that his favorite food is broccoli. With that being said, if you had to cook a special meal for the President, what would it be and why?
CKK: Hmmm. I would create a dish in his honor. A little fusion cuisine; where East meets West Indian. Curried chicken and broccoli stir-fry, over coconut ginger Jasmine rice. It’s simple, but delicious, and I can prepare it fast because we don’t want to keep the President waiting.
Examiner: Name one ingredient that you always have in your kitchen.
CKK: CHIEF’s Curry Powder. I’m Trini, and we are known to put curry on everything. [Laughs]. But I sometimes like to add a pinch to a classic recipe for another layer of flavor, to give it that extra oomph.
Examiner: Frozen or fresh foods?
CKK: Definitely fresh because fresh ingredients yield a quality product/dish.
Examiner: What dish do you love preparing the most?
CKK: I don’t have a favorite dish to prepare; it’s like a mother loving all of her children equally. I just can’t pick one. [Laughs]. But I will say this though—I enjoy experimenting and fusing the flavors of Trinidad and the Caribbean with other international, traditional tastes.
Examiner: Describe how you prepare for a catering event?
CKK: Once the menu, budget, and meal type are in place; I would inquire about location, and what heating and holding equipment are available. I’ll bring my own if there are none, and then I would prep. This is a very important step. I get as much done, as safe and possible in advance, and if needed, I would hire a knowledgeable staff to serve at the event.
Examiner: What advice would you give to an aspiring chef?
CKK: Don’t give up. Practice makes perfect. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true; and take criticism with a grain of salt because it’s never personal.
Examiner: Years from now, when people say Chef Kizzy Kooks or Sinful Indulgence Catering, what will they say?
CKK: First, they will close their eyes and smile, and then they will reminisce on all of the great food that they enjoyed at Sinful Indulgence Catering. [Laughs]. Then they will say that Chef Kizzy Kooks persevered, in spite of everything.
Examiner: For business inquiries, how can people get in contact with you?
CKK: They can contact me via email at IndulgenceNY@gmail.com, or via telephone at (347) 962-0645.
Examiner: Thanks for a great interview, and as an honored guest, is there anything else you would like to say?
CKK: You’re welcome. It was my pleasure, and I have just one question—when can I cook for you?
Chef Kizzy Kooks’ Cooking Tip #1
When baking cakes or cupcakes, turn the oven—100 degrees less than the recipe states. This will produce flat top cakes that are perfect for frosting or poured fondant.
Chef Kizzy Kooks’ Cooking Tip #2
Add minced garlic to tossed salads. This helps to keep the salad crisp longer, as well as adding flavor.
Chef Kizzy Kooks’ Cooking Tip #3
Add a little oil to the water that you are boiling your pasta in. It helps to prevent sticking, unless you are coating the pasta with sauce.
Chef Kizzy Kooks’ Cooking Tip #4
Clean as you go. In the end, you won’t have a pile of dishes that you don’t want to wash.
Chef Kizzy Kooks’ Cooking Tip #5
Have FUN. Pour a glass of wine; turn on your favorite playlist, and sing, dance, and experiment.