“I did not want to end up going to college with the rest of my friends with no direction getting an overall degree,” Kanner said. “I have been on my own since I was 15 and I was short on money and high on ambition. I needed to choose a path that would allow me a quick start to a career.”
Johnson and Wales University had set up a booth at his high school to recruit, and once Kanner explored what they had to offer, he knew that is what he should do.
“I found that I enjoyed the discipline, professionalism, and manner that is required with being a chef,” he said. “I got a few scholarships and loans and the rest is history.”
Kanner advanced his career from kitchen manager at Harry Carray’s Italian five star restaurant in Chicago, to sous chef working with Olympic award-winning chef Reimund Pitz in Orlando, to executive chef at Miami's 250-seat Coco Pazzo Café.
But it’s when he arrived in Los Angeles that his career became interesting. He became the personal chef for director Brett Ratner and cooked for celebrities such as Warren Beatty, Ed Norton, Salma Hayek, Nicholas Cage, Robert Downey Jr. and Danny Devito.
“I know what it takes to please at all costs,” Kanner said. “I have a high sense of urgency, and a love for pleasing peoples palates.”
His favorite thing about being a chef?
“Every girl wants to marry you and every guy wants to be you,” he said. “It’s all about the praise in the end. Not too many careers do you get praised for your hard working efforts.”
Today Kenner is a restaurant consultant, and private chef for Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics as well as offering his chef services for other professional athletes and celebrities.
“I love pleasing people with food, creating, artistry, and being able to impress at the drop of a knife,” he said. “I’m a renaissance man—music, art, love—and food was the missing ingredient. Now I incorporate all those facets into my work and in turn I’m rewarded with the feeling that I don’t have a job, I just do something I love.”
My Cream of Potato Soup with Oregano and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Raspberry Creme Brulee
Learning on the job
Chef Jon Gatewood delighting customers with locally produced ingredients
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