Chestnut’s Kitchen

Senior Lauren Chestnut has opened her own cooking business, Chestnut’s Kitchen. Keep reading to find out about her inspirations and food items.


by Maya Tule, Staff Writer

Why did you start Chestnut’s Kitchen?

“I just really picked up cooking over the pandemic and I wanted money and the more and more I cooked, the more comfortable I got and the better I got and so it kind of turned into a passion and an art, and then I said, this is what I want to do forever because I saw other people’s reactions and seeing how it made them feel, I want to do that for a lot more people.”


Where do you see Chestnut’s Kitchen going in the future?

“Eventually I want to turn Chestnut’s Kitchen into a restaurant that will also help out my community too.”


What do you want Chestnut’s Kitchen to mean in the future?

“I want it to feel like a safe place where people can come get food, no matter if you have the money or not, just come to have somewhere to relax, enjoy yourself in a very friendly and family environment so that people feel loved.”


Does anyone help you cook and prepare the meals?

“Sometimes, when I do my pop-ups it’s usually me doing all the cooking but I have my friends that help prepare the items I need and plate the food and stuff like that. And my mom plays a big role too.”


How have you felt about your past pop-ups?

“Pretty good. It made me happy seeing people always show up and support me.”


Is there a background of cooking in your family that inspired you?

“My mom, she cooks a lot. Also me being my dad’s caregiver growing up; it’s a big role, which includes cooking for my family. I picked up cooking by watching my mom so a lot of the cooking and stuff I do is inspired by my mom, which she learned from her mom. But then I do what my mom did and make it my own.”


Can you expand more on how being your dad’s caregiver influenced your passion for cooking?

“Yeah, My dad died in the summer of  2020. So, right in the middle of the pandemic and it was a lot of at home time, and my mom was still working full time. So one of my things to do was to make sure that my dad always ate, and I didn’t want to eat the same thing every night because I can’t go out to eat. So I started to make stuff up, or try recipes I never tried and I actually found love in it. And so one of the ways I can connect and remember my grandmother and my dad is through my cooking so when I try to cook it’s always remembered of how big of an impact like those little things were to my dad and how I could keep that going.”


How has Chestnuts Kitchen changed your perspective and how you interact with people?

“I tried to make it just be extra fun with everybody because you know, you never know if that person one day will be one of your biggest customers, one of your big supporters, so just always treat everyone with love and compassion”.


Has your perspective of the food industry changed?

“Yeah. It has. Sometimes we go to restaurants and we see stressed out staff and stuff like that. . You see how when you’re going there to eat, and behind the scenes how it’s different. So I definitely give them more compassion and stuff like that. And when a restaurant staff  has a stressful day, have more compassion for that.”


What is your favorite thing to make and how do you prepare it?

“Seafood mac is my favorite and everything is homemade. Nothing is out of a box; I make it all myself. I shred my own cheese and all. I make sure to do everything homemade.”