Kelly McCown

Executive Chef, The Kitchen Restaurant, Sacramento, CA

Kelly McCown

What advice would you give up-and-coming chefs regarding sourcing ingredients?
Don’t source tasteless ingredients.  In all seriousness, develop your relationships with your farmers, ranchers, and purveyors—this will ensure you get the best of their best, which will enable you start from the best vantage point in your cooking.

Who is a chef you really admire and why?
Obviously, my mentors Scott Carsberg and Todd Humphries because both are true working chefs and have shaped my philosophy.  On the other side of the spectrum, I admire guys like Billy Ngo and Michael Thiemann because I can look at them and say that their application of skill, determination, and hard work in the kitchen is something I identify with and admire.

How would you describe your cooking philosophy in six words?
Don’t forget who you’re cooking for.

What’s an ingredient that you’ve changed your mind about over your career?
Taragon. When I first started cooking I hated it, because I struggled with that anisette, licorice flavor. Then, as my palate developed, I realized it creates a terrific umami characteristic in dishes.


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