Chef K Can Cook; Khristianne Uy
By Karena Apollonya Ebora Higgins
At a glance, Chef K looks hard, like a bad ass, and you know what, she is, but under the fierce make-up and butcher knife tattoos, Chef K’s a real sweetie. We met up at The Little Next Door and talked ish about everything, including her dad’s wack relocation tactics, bullshitting on the TASTE and why she feels like the richest mother fucker!
Name: Khristianne Uy
Position: Private Chef, Caterer & Winner of ABC’s The Taste
Born: The Philippines
Hometown: Los Angeles
How’d you discover cooking?
Do you remember the TV show “Yan Can Cook”? I would watch that in the Philippines. My first cooking memory was his slurry. He’d always make a slurry of something. I knew that I could do it to, so I did. While my mom was at work, I would create stuff in the kitchen. I had no idea how it tasted, but I knew cooking was my hobby. While other kids played, I was cooking up dinner for my brothers.
When did you come to the United States?
When I was 12. My mom was already here (in the United States) and one summer, my dad said you’re going to go on vacation to visit your mom. I packed my bags, got on a plane and came here. Then he tells me, “your staying there”. I never got to say goodbye to anyone.
Did you keep up the cooking when you got here?
I continued to cook when I got here because I missed the Philippines. I didn’t care if anyone ate any of the food I made. It was a distraction that reminded me of home. In my senior year of highschool, I told my mom that I was going to culinary school. She cried. She was not happy. I went for two and half years, graduated, then started working.
How’d you become a chef to the “stars”?
My first two years were not “successful”. I started off as a prep cook at the Jonathan Club. I’d fine dice carrots, onions and celery for 12 hours.When I started it was still hard to be a female chef, Asian and cook American food.I’ve worked at many places including BOA. I started off as a prep cook. I would look at the line cook and say to myself “I’m going to get to that level”.
I worked at a few other places, then a friend of a friend of mine who’s the dentist to many celebrities asked me to cook a dinner and it snowballed from there. I worked for the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. They love my bread pudding and scones. Then I got an opportunity to work for Charlie Sheen. I’ve worked for Charlie ever since.
You were picked to compete on The Taste and you won, how was the experience?
It was great because I got to execute all of these concepts I have in my head. I have tons of notebooks with a million recipe and food ideas and on the show I was able to use some of them. It was funny because I was mixing shit and had no idea how it was really going to turn out. It was this, this and that and soy sauce. When it came time to write down the recipes we just plated, I had no idea what I did.
You created some interesting “spoons” on The Taste, where does your inspiration and creativity come from?
People places and things. Holidays and events. My food is nostalgic. Like you have these trend restaurants, but what brings people back is the nostalgia, things that remind them of their childhood. That’s the best thing about going into people’s homes, I see their pantry and I get to see what they love.
What’s your favorite Filipino food?
I think Filipino desserts are the bomb. I love buko pandan. I also love milk fish (Bangus), especially the belly part. My mom makes bomb ass atchara and spaghetti. I love my mom’s spaghetti with hot dogs.
What’s next for Chef K?
I’m a little overwhelmed by everything right now. I get tons of emails and requests. Cooking for parties, catering, those things feel right. Some other offers don’t feel right. People want me to put my name on things, endorse stuff, but it doesn’t always feel right. This is what I know. We cater to people and show them a good time, from beginning to end, the whole dining experience.
At night, when my head is buzzing, over thinking, I just lay there and know that the answer will come to me. It always does. As long as I wake up and get to cook everyday, I feel like the richest motherfucker!