Chef Kenzie Allen is brilliant, talented, highly professional and well respected by her staff and peers in Austin’s thriving culinary community. Her persona is charming, personable and upbeat, making it hard for anyone to call her boring or uninteresting. But like many of us, peeling back a few layers allows you to discover that her personality isn’t limited to all charm.
Her passion in the kitchen reveals something more cleverly humorous that many may not initially expect. I recently sat down with Chef Allen for a quick chat about her personality and her passions within her career. Pushing her obvious talent aside, I managed to peel back a few layers of her protective shell and discovered that she’s also a self proclaimed “oddball” with a passion for buffoonery in nearly every aspect of her life.
Austin Food Magazine (AFM): Let’s clear the air and start with an ice breaker. You’re brilliant, talented and obviously love what you do, but tell me the oddest thing about you.
Kenzie Allen (KA): “Hm that’s a tough one… Im a really gross person. I like to research very gross things to my own pleasure.”
AFM: Ha, what kind of gross things are we talking about?
KA: “I don’t think I could actually tell you these things… These DISTURBING things that interest me, but I also love smelling my sharpies, I do it all day long!”
AFM: If your entire staff had one word to describe you, what do you think they’d say?
KA: “Dedicated….and completely crazy!”
AFM: If you were given your own show on the Food Network, would you name it what would you do?
KA: “Honestly, I would never do that. I’m not a camera person and I don’t come across friendly. I’m also not a good teacher.”
AFM: What guilty pleasure comfort food are you secretly obsessed with while you’re at home?
KA: “Flaming hot Cheetos with cheese! Don’t judge me!”
AFM: Anthony Bourdain vs. Gordon Ramsey? Daniel Craig vs. Sean Connery?
KA: “Bourdain, duh! Daniel Craig, have you seen that man run out of the ocean in his little briefs…enough said.”
AFM: If there’s any famous or historical figure you could cook for, who would it be and what would you cook?
AFM: What’s your music of choice while you’re in the kitchen?
KA: “Honestly, its whatever the guys feel like listening to. No country. But when I make the call, it is the 90s early 2000s- Nysnc, Britney Spears, & Backstreet Boys… Don’t hate.”
AFM: What’s your definition of the worst possible customer EVER. Go!
KA: “People who invent their own meat temps, people telling me how I can better a dish with the most ridiculous combinations ever, Yelpers….YOU ARE NOT FOOD CRITICS and when they cant even describe the dish they had correctly ugh! Oh, and people who don’t remember what they ordered and send back their food.”
AFM: If you weren’t a chef or in the food industry, what else would you like to do?
KA: “Food Critic. That was my whole reason for ever getting into the kitchen. To me, one cannot write well about food, unless you know what it is like in the kitchen.”
AFM: If you ever open your own restaurant, what will you name it and what kind of food will you cook?
KA: “Absolutely no clue, opening up Searsucker was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But whatever food I would make, would be amazing, and very well garnished-to those chefs that know me!”
AFM: If you had one superpower that gave you the extra edge in the kitchen, what would it be?
KA: “Human Resource approved physical and verbal abuse… to the staff mainly!”