(917) 209-4801 [email protected]

Meet Katy Keck

Palate. Passion. Purpose.

It’s my passion and privilege to combine my love for food and entertaining with years of business and culinary experience to help clients grow their brand.

If you are looking for a high-energy, results-oriented leader, willing to go the extra mile with a big smile…give a shout.

Born to Cook

Other girls were all over the babies and buggies, but I had my eye on the kitchen appliance market. By the time I had worked my way up to cooking over a 100 watt, I had already honed my skills on a tiny set of  Wolverine pink metal appliances and advanced to these sweet “lifesize” cardboard ones, perfectly in scale for my backyard playhouse.

By 3 ½, I was receiving  rave reviews for my tomato soup. TBH “cooking” tomato soup involved moving a toy can of Campbells from pantry to pan to bowl, without ever opening or pouring out what was surely water within. Did you need that recipe?  My beloved Papa died when I was 6 and I have vivid memories of “pulling an all nighter” (I suspect I stayed up till 8) making sympathy desserts for my Mom and Gaga. They were out of town at the funeral, but already all the church ladies were dropping off food at our house. I knew what to do. Fire up the turquoise Easy Bake – which sits on my kitchen counter to this very date – and whip out a lattice top apple pie and a two layer chocolate cake from the comfort of my bedroom, then hide them under some furniture so the little kids wouldn’t dig in. It’s what you do. People die. You bake. 

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Family & Food First

Food in my family was very important and covered a fairly wide range between the two sides. Grandmother Keck, a farm girl, turned her kitchen over to massive quantities of soups and applesauce and pies and cakes. And Christmas candy!!!!! She seemingly cooked for a village. While other kids ate brown, sweetened, cinnamon spiced applesauce, ours was green and oh so tart. She used June apples. I now understand them to be wholly unripe. She didn’t add sweetener. In retrospect, I understand that was a fairly sophisticated choice, to counterbalance the richness of pork – at least back when pork was fatty and rich. 

On the other side, there was Gaga who liked to splash sherry in her lobster bisque. She showed up at the holidays with Belgian galettes. Thanksgivings ALWAYS involved Delmonico apples which was a fruit compote, dependent on finding almond macarons. I have never met anyone outside the family that had that for a holiday tradition. Ever! And you were either pro Delmonico or squarely against. There was no middle ground.

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Mom landed somewhere in between the elders with a fresh spinach dip – when the rest of the world relied on dry  onion  mix, a subscription to Gourmet Magazine dating to the 50s, and the ability to perk up otherwise mundane Monday night sausage patty with apple fritters. I tried my hand at 4H and did much better in Butter Cakes (blue ribbon!!!) than knitting. “Only one?”, noted the judge in response to my entry of a single slipper. The second shoe had gotten really tight and my needles were stuck in a tangled mess of  variegated yellows, greens, reds, blues and purples. It was 4H so even ONLY ONE got you an honorable mention. But it was clear from the most tender age, my talents were tailored to the kitchen.

Frying Pan to the Fire

While life looked like a fairly normal start to a corporate career (if a bit glass-ceiling shattering for those days) –  college, a University of Chicago MBA, and a career in marketing and finance on Wall Street – there was a radical pivot once I won the grand prize in the Marie Brizard Flavors of France recipe contest. The recipe? A chocolate torte, inspired of course by Grandmother Keck’s “Chocolate Replevin”. The prize was a culinary apprenticeship in France, followed by three more I landed once there, which truly changed the trajectory of my life.

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Wearing Many Toques

Once home, I created Savoir Faire Foods, a free-lance consulting business with a nod to my French training and my ambition to do it all and to do it with (savoir) flare – culinary events….product launches….food & demo styling… menu & recipe development. I have styled hundreds (at least) of TV segments and made thousands of pizzas. Paella for Antonio Banderas, tostones for Gloria Estefan, even a butt chicken (his word, not mine) for Matthew McConaughey. The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Today Show, Letterman, the Duchess of York, Naomi Judd (“wash your hands because germs are like Jesus, invisible and everywhere”), and a segment for the author of The Coffee Maker Cookbook. No, really. As Rosie astutely queried: “If you are alone in a hotel room with a chocolate bar and Cool Whip, why for the love of God, would you need a coffee maker?” She had a point.

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Frying Pan to the Fire

While life looked like a fairly normal start to a corporate career (if a bit glass-ceiling shattering for those days) –  college, a University of Chicago MBA, and a career in marketing and finance on Wall Street – there was a radical pivot once I won the grand prize in the Marie Brizard Flavors of France recipe contest. The recipe? A chocolate torte, inspired of course by Grandmother Keck’s “Chocolate Replevin”. The prize was a culinary apprenticeship in France, followed by three more I landed once there, which truly changed the trajectory of my life.

new-world-grill-bar-bar

Wearing Many Toques

Once home, I created Savoir Faire Foods, a free-lance consulting business with a nod to my French training and my ambition to do it all and to do it with (savoir) flare – culinary events….product launches….food & demo styling… menu & recipe development. I have styled hundreds (at least) of TV segments and made thousands of pizzas. Paella for Antonio Banderas, tostones for Gloria Estefan, even a butt chicken (his word, not mine) for Matthew McConaughey. The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Today Show, Letterman, the Duchess of York, Naomi Judd (“wash your hands because germs are like Jesus, invisible and everywhere”), and a segment for the author of The Coffee Maker Cookbook. No, really. As Rosie astutely queried: “If you are alone in a hotel room with a chocolate bar and Cool Whip, why for the love of God, would you need a coffee maker?” She had a point.

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For half the last three decades, I was also a partner and consulting chef at New World Grill, a charming little glass-enclosed gazebo in the courtyard of Manhattan’s Worldwide Plaza. The menu, a new world mix of styles – some Caribbean, some Asian, some Southwestern – represented a healthy approach to eating out and garnered some glowing reviews from The New York Times, New York magazine, and The Zagat Guide.

Having a home to hang my whisk and further developing a personal culinary approach (old world style, new world flavor) opened the door to many opportunities to serve as product media spokesperson and a global flavor expert.

Paying Rent

I have been a committed volunteer and community leader in the race to end hunger and other global crises. The Keck family mantra was to give back, “paying rent on the space you occupy” according to the old man. Girl Scouts to Girls State – stir all those ingredients together and bake a few years and Katy Keck is what you get. I continue to bridge the gap between all things culinary and improving the planet, one tater tot at a time. And somewhere deep inside, I know there is a story just dying to get out.

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Awards

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Winner of Marie Brizard Flavors of France and Cooking with Lavazza Espresso contests

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Two-time Daytime Emmy Awards honoree

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Daily Point of Light #4278 (June 29, 2010) from Pres. George H. W. Bush, one of two presented by Points of Light Board Chair Neil Bush at Heart of Service Awards

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One of 10 national University of Phoenix Volunteer Leader Awards ($10,000 grant)

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Participant in “Women of Taste: A Collaboration Celebrating Quilt Artists and Chefs”

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National finalist Evian/Gourmet Magazine Healthy Menu Awards

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DePauw University Community Leader Award

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Mt. Vernon High School (Indiana) Distinguished Alumna

Affiliations

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Passion & Purpose

Community Leader & Partnership Ally

 

A candle loses nothing by lighting another.

-Father James Keller

With so much darkness in the world, each and every one of us is responsible to share our special talents to make a difference. For me, collaborative team building and leadership are my most required talents. I have that rare, odd, and bizarre mix of big picture vision and nearsightedness – it might have been a curse, but with the right focus it can be reframed as strategic vision with attention to detail. Throughout my life and especially throughout the last 15 years as a Director of Church World Service and committed to the launch and evolution of Infinite Family, I have found that at the heart of meaningful impact is a commitment to integrity and transparency. I am passionate about mentoring and volunteerism, and I regularly advocate for others to give back. At the request of Points of Light, I recorded my journey for StoryCorps, the country’s largest oral history project.

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CWS Board of Directors on Capitol Hill

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CWS Board of Directors, Executive Committee: Refugee Resettlement Advocate, Community Leader, Fundraiser, and Partnership Ally. Member Board of Directors, Vice Chair, leading Strategic Planning Committee,  CWS Incubation Lab Advisory Group, and Host for 3rd annual 100 Miles for Hunger.

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Infinite Family is an international non-profit using video technology to connect adult mentors with South African teens (affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty) so they might build self-reliance and become resourceful, resilient, and responsible. For nearly a decade, I was involved in virtually every aspect of the business model. As President and Board Chair, I spearheaded the transition from entrepreneurial to organizational model, including vision and mission setting, strategic thinking and planning, building infrastructure and sustainability, organizational branding, communications across diverse stakeholders, leveraging opportunities and team building.

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Infinite Family’s mentoring lab LaunchPad

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With Neil Bush at Points of Light Award

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.

Points of Light honors the contribution of the individual. They know that people are at the center of change. And, that people today have more power to drive change than ever before. I’m proud to advocate for volunteerism and the great work of Points of Light. Drops in a bucket do add up.

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DePauw University: I served on the Alumni Board for six years and on the Career Services committee, which I chaired the last two years of my term. I remain an ongoing resource for mentoring students and young alums on career options and life choices. As an alumna leader, I traveled to Botswana with a group of sociology and anthropology students for a cultural exchange.

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SOS Children’s Village – Botswana

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Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church: long time member and ordained deacon. I chaired the 5-year strategic plan for worship for this 4500 member church and traveled with a mission group to Ghana.

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AMPATH: Trained HIV/AIDS patients in western Kenya in food preparation and restaurant management skills to improve food safety and income security (AMPATH/Indiana University, Eldoret, Kenya)

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At AMPATH’s Cool Stream Restaurant in Eldoret, Kenya

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Working with micro-baker in Kenya

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UNIFEM

Supporter along with other women chefs as members of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs for United Nations fundraising and awareness cultivation event

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Cook for the Cure

KitchenAid’s signature campaign which facilitates those with a passion for cooking a way to support a meaningful cause. The program raises awareness for the fight against breast cancer and funds Susan G. Komen. Involved in the initial launch of celebrity chef auctions.

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Girls Inc

One of thirty chef/quilter pairs to create Women of Taste: A Collaboration Celebrating Quilt Artists and Chefs, a Smithsonian exhibit, benefiting Girls Inc.

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Hot Off The Grill

In the News

Always got something to say.  And the media listens. As a spokesperson for both food corporations and leadership in volunteerism, I am often asked to be on influencer panels, serve as an expert opinion, and featured in the media. Here are a few select highlights.

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Television & Podcast

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No need to go it alone! Put Katy’s three decades of culinary industry expertise to work for your brand.

Let’s Get in Touch!