Chef Kayla Greer, better known as personal chef Kay Kay to her A-list celebrity clients like Demi Lovato, Diddy, Drake, Migos, Jhene Aiko and the late Nipsey Hussle, is shaking things up as the newly installed creative executive chef at the recently reopened 40 Love country club themed sports lounge in West Hollywood.
The L.A. native, who has lived everywhere from South Central to Hermosa Beach, is revamping the menu with signature items from family recipes like her Aunt Trena’s clam dip and the crab cake sliders she made for Diddy’s Easter dinner last year. And in addition to her spin on fried chicken deviled eggs, she’s also introducing healthy options like a roasted vegetable and whipped feta salad with asparagus, broccoli, red bell peppers, heirloom carrots and goat cheese.
Her first major gig as a personal chef was Drake’s 2011 Super Bowl party. What was supposed to be 100 people turned into 300 people and Greer aced it. She prepared the entire 15-item menu by herself, which included fried chicken, roast chicken, grilled chicken, pastas and salads. Her chicken strips from that party have found their way to the new 40 Love menu as well.
“We weren’t wealthy growing up, but I had a wide palate,” Greer tells L.A. Weekly in the outdoor patio at 40 Love. “I cook a lot of soul food for my clients and had to actually teach myself how to make fried chicken. I don’t know what my mom’s fried chicken tastes like. My favorite meal of hers was a salmon steak with white rice and broccoli.”
Homeschooled in high school by her mom, who is a former BBW model and mother of four, Greer started cooking early. Already towering at 5’11 in the 6th grade and standing 6’1 now, she was cooking eggs with her grandmother at about seven years old because she could easily navigate the counter. The love for cooking steered her towards L.A. Trade Technical College’s culinary program.
“I had the option of going to a big school,” says the LATTC graduate. “But because I was homeschooled, my mom wondered if I wanted to get lost in a big school like the Cordon Bleu. She said try out LATTC first. I lived downtown at the time. They had such great teachers and we used the same books as the Cordon Bleu. It’s the same education for a lot less money. For me personally, I took advantage of every opportunity they offered.”
Out of only four students who qualified, she went to the Culinary Olympics twice with her teacher, traveling to Germany for the first time at 18. Often overlooked and highly underrated according to Greer, the culinary program at LATTC has placed graduates into some of the best kitchens in Los Angeles, including Melisse, Patina and Animal.
According to LATTC Culinary Arts Pathway Chair Martin Gilligan, in a regular non-pandemic year, the college has about 700 culinary students. He expects that to triple in the next two years thanks to the campus’s brand new state-of-the-art 170,000 square foot, $75 million building for culinary arts, baking and restaurant management programs. It’s even got its own rooftop urban garden which is tended by the students.
With the agility of Serena Williams and due to the overwhelming demand for her services, Greer started the Saffron Agency last year where she places chefs with clients and will be coming out with a spice line soon.
“I’ve gotten so overwhelmed with doing up to four clients a day and parties for 30, 40, 50 people and weddings by myself, I started running myself into the ground. But the biggest challenge since starting the 40 Love menu process in June 2020 has been writing down my recipes. I had no idea how time consuming that is. It was the hardest part. I’m used to just putting things together and making things up on the spot. At the end of the day, I just like to keep my food simple.”
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