Kate Tonge | Chef

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Kate Tonge and I am a chef.

In what ways are you an artist?
My art is formed in the culmination of flavors, textures and the technique of making them palatable. My goal is to create an experience that is both authentic and stimulating to all five senses.

What influences your art?
The seasons and what farmers are choosing to produce at the time. They determine what I use as incredients, which in turn determines the dishes I create.

In what ways does Los Angeles have an impact on how you create?
LA has a huge impact on how, and what, I create because of the availability of fresh produce. Produce straight from the source. Since the cultural diversity of the city is so large, products from all over the world are being brought here and that provides opportunities to discover and utilize new things.

Within your career, what are you most proud of?
Honestly, my resume is fantastic. I've worked in a lot of famous kitchens and with some world renowned chefs, but I'm most proud of the integrity of my practice... the application of my experiences.

How have those experiences prepared you for what you do today?
I played a lot of soccer growing up, which was my first taste of what it was like to be a part of a team. Through that experience, I parlayed the skills I learned into what it takes to be a part of a kitchen. If I'm winning, my team is winning and that's a cool thing to be a part of.

Within your art, what are you most insecure about?
I'm most insecure about the delivery of my expertise. I'm always trying to figure out new ways to engage and inspire people to love what they're eating but at the same time I ask myself why anyone would care.

How do those insecurities affect your approach to things?
Like most artistic professions, there's a certain level of vulnerability as a chef. The fear of spending time and money on a dish, and it not being appreciated, is scary and can add additional levels of pressure to what I do.

Is some of that pressure self-inflicted?
Definitely! I'm the first to know if something isn't up to the standard of quality I continuously strive for. That's when my pride and integrity come into play. I always want to give my best because I usually only get one shot at "wowing" the diner.

Last Question: What is your favorite cereal?
I love this question! Actually, my favorite way to eat cereal is to combine a variety of cereals together (Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Nut Cheerios and Granola). The combination of textures and flavors is so good!