• Juno House

Kissley, Private Chef

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Kissley Leonor



Hometown/ country:

Seattle, Washington, USA

Company and Role:

Private Chef



Tell us about your business, and what makes it special to you?

I’m a private chef specialising in plant-based catering for yoga retreats and batch cooking for families. My dishes are simple, filling, healthy and easily replicated. I happily share recipes, tips and ingredient sources. Because I cook on an intimate level, my clients can chat with me in the kitchen. Together we create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Tell us about the defining moment that propelled you to start your business, or follow your dreams.

After a heartbreaking divorce, I left a stable life in London and moved to Barcelona to start anew. With no professional cooking experience, I went to dinners in private homes via online platforms like Withlocals and Eatwith. Most of the cooks I met were not professionally trained and had other day jobs. What they had in common was a love for food and sharing their stories. I thought, maybe I could do this. So I did.

What problem is your business solving? Why is this personal to you?

Private cheffing is solving the common problem people have of not having the time (or interest/confidence) to cook but wanting to eat well and at home. Being of service to others is high on my list of values. It’s especially important that I help mothers who are trying to balance work and life. Perhaps it’s a natural sisterhood I feel for them.

As for yoga retreats, I’ve been told by organisers that it’s difficult to find a chef who can cater to the palettes of Spanish/Catalan locals and customers from abroad. I found a sweet spot and developed my menus accordingly.

Tell us how you stay inspired as an entrepreneur.

I go to food markets daily to survey the products and I discuss dishes constantly with friends.

Tell us about a defining career milestone or job that impacted your personal trajectory.

When I was hired to cater a yoga retreat for a third time because the instructor said, “People come back for your food!” I thought I was onto something.

Tell us about a woman who inspired you.

My mom. She just worked hard and didn't complain.

Do you feel you've mastered work/life balance? What could be improved or what would you like to work on?

I try to live a very small life so that I don’t have to do the balancing act. I burnt out once and I learned my lesson!

How do you release and unwind?

I stop cooking.

What's the next big step for your business?

I am quietly (and very slowly) working on a book and a course offering about how to cook without a recipe. But honestly, I have no big plans. I’m a slow and steady wins the race kind of girl.

What does the future of business look like for your industry? How are you a part of this change?

I think and hope that people will start to cook more at home and in general eat more plant-based food. I want to see restaurant menus without the words plant-based, vegan or vegetarian as it would mean that people are choosing those dishes because they are simply delicious! The rise of brands like Beyond Meat and Huera, along with community-level efforts to establish sustainable farms, is all very promising. Thank you so much for this interview, I’ve got to get back to cooking now!

Is there a quote/mantra that guides you?

“A thing can travel everywhere, just by holding still.” Richard Powers, writer

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