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Chef K, the Kardashian clan’s low-key cook who has become a celebrity in her own right

Khristianne Uy has been feeding the omnipresent family for nine years, but it was TikTok that launched her own fame. Now she combines her growing success as a content creator with event catering, but never turns down a request from the K crew: ‘That’s my one exception’

Chef K
Chef K at an event at Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs on September 23, 2023 in Palm Springs, California.David Crotty (Getty Images)

“It makes me want to drink a very expensive bottle of wine and crash my Ferrari into a wall.” Such was the impulse that washed over star TV chef Anthony Bourdain in 2013, when he took a bite from a Filipino-inspired braised beef dish cooked by Khristianne Uy. He was a judge on the cooking show The Taste, on which she was a competitor. And she won. That same year, Uy became the first lesbian to compete on The Millionaire Matchmaker, a reality show for the wealthy. Then, she opted for anonymity. She stepped away from the spotlight and resumed her work as a private chef. But Uy, or Chef K — as she prefers to be called — was not destined to fly under the radar.

The 42-year-old Filipina chef has been cooking for the Kardashian clan for the past nine years. She handles the family’s meals for major events like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and birthdays. As a result, she’s familiar with all the millionaire brood’s preferences and manias. “Scott [Disick]: no dairy products,” she says, referring to Kourtney Kardashian’s former partner, in a 2022 interview with The New York Times. “Kourtney: no eggs, vegan now, no sweet potatoes, no gluten. Khloe: chicken, only white meat. The kids: I memorize their dietary restrictions too. Kendall: nothing spicy. Kim: no cilantro. Kylie: soup all the time,” she rounds out the list. Nonetheless, Uy’s growing popularity on the internet, where she has nearly 200,000 followers on TikTok and 101,000 on Instagram, is not due to her famous clients. She’s never appeared on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the reality show that reveals the day to day life of the omnipresent celebrity family, although they did mention her work on an episode. “Did I not say no to these cookies?” asked Kim, upon entering her Lake Tahoe mansion. “I gained 15 pounds,” she complains, as she threatens to throw them down the toilet. Her youngest sister Kendall runs to stop her. “OK, well then control yourself, Kim, because I like them!” Chef K, hidden in the kitchen away from the cameras, was the mastermind behind the tempting treats, and she says in the Times interview that Kim eventually apologized, saying, “Chef, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to say that about your cookies — they’re great. They’re really good, I just have no self-control.”

Her unexpected rise to fame has been thanks to TikTok. She was working as a cook at the Youtuber and makeup artist James Charles’s birthday, and he suggested recording a video for the social network. “What’s a TikTok?” she responded, according to an interview she did for the Filipina edition of Vogue in 2022. Chef K’s social media manager stepped in, telling her, “Let me help you, let’s make one and see if you like it.” And users of the platform didn’t like Chef K’s content — they loved it. “I went to Travis [Barker, drummer of the band Blink-182 and Kourtney Kardashian’s husband] and Kourtney’s house to cook dinner a few days after that and Atiana [Shanna Moakler and Óscar de la Hoya’s daughter] and Alabama [Barker and Moakler’s daughter] were like ‘Oh my God Chef K, you are so funny. We don’t even know what you’re doing but everything’s going viral! Every time we open our TikTok it’s all you,’” she recalled in the interview. Her follower count only continues to rise.

Fans assume that her nickname, Chef K, is related to her work with the Kardashians, but she credits it to actor Charlie Sheen, who began calling her that when he couldn’t her spell her name on one of his checks. She worked for him in 2011, and it was his former partner, Denise Richards, who passed her the contact to participate on Millionaire Matchmaker. Despite how controversial Sheen was at the time, due to his brazen public statements and problems with drugs and alcohol, Chef K remembers the gig with a special fondness. He turned out to be a sweet guy who always requested liverwurst sandwiches and chicken and dumplings, she told The New York Times. The actor himself praised the chef’s work. “Early on in our time together, I dared her to perfectly duplicate what I considered to be the greatest cheeseburger on planet Earth, the Five Guys — double bacon. Less than 24 hours later, she served me one. I took one bite and never went to Five Guys again,” said Sheen, according to the newspaper.

Apart from the Kardashian clan and Sheen, there’s a galaxy of stars who have tried the culinary delights of Chef K. Charlize Theron, James Cameron, Simon Fuller and the Jonas Brothers are just a few of the famous clients who have hired her in the past, and she has kind words for them all: “Nick Jonas is one of the sweetest gentlemen.” But her life hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Uy emigrated from the Phillippines to California when she was 11 years old, and went to a Catholic girl’s school named Woodrose. “And see, I don’t fit the look of a Woodrose alumni,” she says, with her short hair, shaved head and body full of tattoos, in her conversation with Vogue. She began to study at cooking school when she was 15, and established herself as a pastry chef in a Los Angeles restaurant. She would work in many a kitchen before her first big break arrived in the 1990s, working as director James Cameron’s private chef.

@chefklosangeles

Cooking for Tatum’s 1st birthday! @Khloé Kardashian kardashians celebritychef chefk khloekardashian

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Nowadays, Chef K combines her growing success as a food content creator online with event catering, an area to which she is paying more attention, having left her work as a full-time private chef. Even so, she admits that when the Kardashians call her to see if she can make them something, she never says no. “When Kourtney and Travis called me last week and were like, ‘Hey can you cook for our family dinner?’ That’s my exception,” she told Vogue. “They’re hands down just so wholesome, appreciative, just so grateful every single time. It’s hard to turn them down.”

On January 24, Chef K told Page Six that the Kardashians are “all so active with their walks in the mornings and their gym routines,” but that after an alcohol-filled celebratory evening, the only thing they want is a grilled cheese sandwich with homemade tomato sauce. “It’s just the easiest 10-minute thing. Sometimes they’re like, ‘Ah, chef, you’ve been here 21 hours, but can you whip up another late-night snack?’” Even a simple sandwich tastes better in the capable hands of Chef K.

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