Kristine Kelly: A former model who became a vegan chef in St Barth
Based in St Barth for just over a year, Kristine Kelly shakes up the island’s culinary traditions by offering, thanks to her company Plant-Based Daily, sophisticated organic, vegan and mainly raw cuisine!
This young and dynamic American advocates, with a bright smile, the benefits of a healthy, ethical, and most importantly, joyful diet!
AVH: Kristine, how did you become passionate about plant-based and raw food?
KK: I was a model in California and I was living by the Santa Monica farmers market. I was really impressed by the abundance and freshness of the produce available there.
My inspiration came from Cafe Gratitude in Venice, where I used to eat. I was amazed by how flavorful their dishes were, just using plant ingredients! I wanted to learn how to cook, combining pleasure and health. It was at that time that I discovered Matthew Kenney rawfood academy.
AVH: Could you please tell us more about your training and your experience at Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy?
KK: I discovered a unique world of flavors and sophistication, a refined living cuisine using only minimally processed vegetables, fruits and natural products. I attended the onsite program at the academy and I perfected my education by taking the online courses.
I learned so much during this training, especially about flavor balance, innovative techniques and spectacular plating! The dishes become canvas!
Matthew Kenney Academy took me to another level!
I also trained in cooked vegan cuisine, nutrition, fitness and yoga.
AVH: Why did you choose St Barth to express your passion?
KK: I loved coming to St Barth on vacations, but something was missing. It was impossible to eat satisfying meals without animal products. I was craving vegetables and healthy options! I wanted to offer a new alternative on the island.
AVH: Vegan cuisine is booming all over the world. Why is St Barth so far behind?
KK: I believe that the chefs are missing the educational and nutritional piece to be able to offer balanced and attractive plant-based dishes to their menus.
AVH: How difficult is it to provision and get the right ingredients on the island?
KK: I source a lot of produces from an organic farm in Florida.
My husband has started to import organic fruits and vegetables in St Barth.
I also work in collaboration with the bio grocery store Le Rendez-Vous. I am in touch with organic farms from surrounding islands to start importing products from there. I would ideally like to use produces that are as local as possible.
You can definitely manage with what you get here. You just have to be creative, but it is definitely feasible!
AVH: Where can we find your dishes (or fare???) ? What are the services offered through your company Plant Based Daily?
KK: I am currently providing privately tailored and delivered plant-based cuisine to villas or hotels. I am available for private cheffing and special occasion catering, from birthdays, bridal showers, romantic diners to sporting events. I deliver detox menus and juice cleanses. I can customize to any dietary or taste requirement.
I also offer a range of freshly prepared raw and gluten free dishes at Le Rendez Vous such as pancakes, warrior salads, kelp noodles, chia seed puddings, chocolate truffles and more. What I do is very popular among the growing yoga and fitness community on the island. I work a lot with a loyal local clientele too. Some come every morning to buy their lunch to bring to work. I like to be in contact with my customers and in tuned with their preferences.
AVH: What are your projects?
KK: There is an enormous potential in St Barth! I started to offer cooking classes for locals. I already have consulting requests coming from chefs on the island. I hope that, with some education, the restaurants will add refined vegan options on the menus.
I am going to organize at my husband’s restaurant, The Corner, pop-up chefs nights offering healthy plant-based menu. I am also working on cooking videos. And I want to learn how to speak French!
I am following my mentor Matthew Kenney who has done such an inspiring work educating hundreds of chefs around the world! We are in touch; he is very helpful and gives me advices. He is also a St Barth fan!
AVH: What is your favorite dish? And what ingredients you wouldn’t be able to live without?
KK: My husband and I love toastadas. I could eat some everyday!
I love avocados: they can be used in so many savory or sweet preparations, adding creaminess and texture. And it is great that they are widely available in the Caribbean!
French cuisine will always be the leader here, but visitors are also looking for lighter, refreshing and sophisticated culinary options, that are a perfect match with our warm climate.
Plant Based Daily