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  • Chef Kelly Kijak
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Chef Kelly

Chef at The Chopping Block since: 2022

Favorite class to teach: I love teaching anything related to pastry.

Training/education: French Pastry School in Chicago

Cooking since: 2016

Favorite childhood food experience: Watching and helping my Grandpa and great uncle cook for the clam bake we have every year and learning about family cooking traditions.

What made you want to become a chef? My love of being in the kitchen and creating food that makes people happy.

What is your signature dish? Churros and goat milk ice cream

What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Salt, sugar, flour, butter and black pepper

What do you love about cooking? Bringing people together through food

When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? Seasonal produce, new ingredients, all the food I have experienced in my life, and other chefs

What advice would you give a new cook? Be patient, stay organized in the kitchen, put on some good tunes and practice, practice, practice.

What are you doing when you're not cooking? Spending time with family and friends, eating and playing with my cats.

Describe your perfect evening. Having dinner with family, sitting around a fire and then watching a good movie.

If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? Chinatown

Where are you from? Wauconda IL, a small town in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago

What was your favorite vacation? Costa Rica with my family

What are your hobbies? Gardening, eating, crafting and watching films

What is your favorite band? Say Anything or Brand New

What is your favorite sports team? I am not into sports!

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Masaharu Morimoto

What are your guilty pleasures? Ice cream and bread

Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Anthony Bourdain

What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen?

  • A sharp knife

  • Cutting board

  • Whisk

  • Saute pan

  • Silicone spatulas

What resources would you suggest for Chopping Block clients? The Chopping Blog!

List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen.

  • Be tasting as you cook; always taste everything!

  • Use fresh ingredients.

  • Always have a plan and have your mise en place ready to go, which makes the cooking process that much easier.

Kelly's Favorite Tool


RosleFlatWhiskMy favorite product we sell at TCB would have to be the Rosle flat whisk. It’s great for making sauces, gently folding ingredients, it will help prevent things from sticking to the bottom of pans. It also gets into the corners of the pans very nicely. I can’t live without this flat whisk!