He’s only 28-years old, but already a husband and a father Kevin Cooper is not allowing for COVID to prevent him from living out his dream of becoming a chef.
Happily, wed to the beautiful Brianna and dad of sons Trent (6 years) and Roman (one year old), Cooper of Long Beach considers himself to be a man who ears many hats proudly, but the one that fits his head like a crown is that white floppy chef lid.
His yearning to become a chef started at a very early age when the Food Network seemed to hold him captive as he gazed upon it endlessly throughout his childhood.
This infatuation of the chef culture manifested into a reality when Kevin got his first opportunity in the industry at the age of 15, participating in an ROP program offered by Lakewood High School.
This is how he landed an internship at a small chef driven restaurant, Delius, run by owner/chef Louise from England, to which he owes much credit for laying a strong culinary foundation.
He credits famous cookbook author and TV host Gerry Garvin (aka G. Garvin) most widely known for his television series, Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin, which ran for seven seasons on TV One as his inspiration.
Cooper’s journey led him into several different sectors of the industry which included restaurants, the Marriott, Ace Hotel, catering services, private chef servicing, as well as school nutrition.
Although he obtained the essential experience, he also knew he needed to fully immerse himself in culinary arts, which inspired him to earn his bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management at California State University of Long Beach.
Artistic, ambitious, and now educated Kevin’s journey is beginning to take off, he launched Urban Pantry, a specialty shop focusing on hand crafted spices and seasoning blends inspired by flavors around the world.
In addition, he is currently a contestant in Bon Appetit’s FavChef competition, with hopes of using the potential earnings to launch a not-for-profit business dedicated to providing hands on experience to local communities interested in the hospitality industry while offering gourmet food services to the less fortunate.
Cooper says his favorite culinary dish is Gumbo Greens, a delicious collaboration of collards and gumbo medley.
While for many the coronavirus pandemic has been a curse, Cooper sees it as a blessing of sorts.
“I have a different outlook because I see the many people in need of nourishing food and I want to work to improve kids nutrition as well,” he explained to Inglewood Today.
Although his book is in the early chapters, Kevin’s story is already an inspiration to all who understands the value of hard work.