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Meet The Former Art Student Who Became A Chef To Celebrities

We've cooked for friends and loved ones before, and have always come up nervous and anxious as they sit down to try our foods. Have you ever wondered what could go through your head if you were to cook for a celebrity?

If you're like professional chef Kathleen Schaffer, it's a walk in the park.

Schaffer, who owns Schaffer with her husband Charlie, is no stranger to celebrities. The professional chef caters for red carpet events and even the occasional private celebrity dinner.

Though that wasn't always the case.

Originally an fine arts major, Schaffer quickly discovered that her passion was in a completely different medium. As most of us know, what you aspire to be when you were  younger isn't necessarily how you'll end up. Schaffer's path turned out to be much more glamourous.

I didn’t have what it took to be a starving artist, I enjoyed eating too much.

Working through college at a handful of different restaurants, she learned that her true passion was in food and decided to continue on this trajectory. She devoted time and energy into fine-tuning her culinary skills.

So what were some of her most memorable experiences cooking for celebrities? We spoke to Schaffer who gave a us some highlights in her illustrious career. Schaffer shared a few snippets of her celebrity experience with us:

Meeting Ray Charles

Schaffer recalls her first major celebrity experience years ago with none other than legendary musician Ray Charles.

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"In NYC, I was catering an event for Ray-Ban in the mid-90s. Ray Charles was performing at the event. One of his handlers walked up to me and said 'Mr. Ray Charles would like to meet the chef.'"

The two struck up a conversation about her cooking. She recalls doing something like fried chicken sliders for that particular event.

Meeting Bryan Cranston

Schaffer and her team catered for the Breaking Bad finale and had set up a faux crystal meth lab during the event. She recalls having her staff in hazmat suits making liquid nitrogen ice cream.
Mr. Walter White, Bryan Cranston, tapped me in the shoulder excitedly asked her what the setup was. As she calmly explained it to him, he replied:

“That is so cool!”

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To which she calmly retorted:

“YOU ARE SO COOL.”

Meeting Julie Andrews

One of her favorite celebrity experiences involved none other than Mary Poppins herself: Julie Andrews. Schaffer remember one moment that stuck with her even years later while cooking for Ms. Andrews and her late husband Blake Edwards.

"They lived in a lovely home and I was standing in the kitchen looking out the window and there was this beautiful sculpture in the backyard," she said.

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Andrews then walked up next to her and said with the most genuine smile:

“Blake made that, he’s a sculpture. I'm so lucky.”
 Schaffer recalls fondly how sincere and earnest Ms. Andrews was when talking about her husband. Blake passed away in 2010 due to complications with pneumonia.


If there's one takeaway from Schaffer's tale, it's that there's always time to find the best path for yourself. Just because you decided on one dream all those years ago doesn't mean it's the best life for you.

Today, Schaffer LA has catered to events for major companies such as Google, Amazon, YouTube, and Facebook. Other celebrities Kathleen Schaffer and company have cooked for include Norman Leer, Reese Witherspoon, and David Beckham.