After I achieved the tremendous results from my first Whole30, I was inspired to start a business with the mission to help folks make delicious, real food meals a reality in their daily lives.
Y’all know I like to rhyme all the time, so it’s no surprise I landed on the business name A Real Meal Deal.
My amazing friend Sara created the logo. We were ready to roll.
logo by Studio SPC
I wanted to show others how delicious nutritious food can taste and make it easier to prepare. My husband started looking into the legalities & brainstormed various ideas with me including: a meal planning service, meal prep classes, meal delivery, freezer meals, cooking demonstrations, grocery store presentations, recipe creation, Paleo food products and group coaching. I designed meal planning recipe boards to sell on Etsy to kick things off.
Kenny had supported me through the debilitating effects of my autoimmune disease years earlier. He walked with me through my darkest days. He had seen me turn my Whole30 experiment into lasting lifestyle change and got to witness firsthand all the ways my health and life improved. Then he experienced Whole30 for himself, and he became even more invested in my mission. He was aware of all of the benefits our friends and family reported during and after the Whole30 our group completed together. He believed in me and my passion to share my story and offer my support to others. We were on the brink of change.
Our friend Emily found an incredible recipe for plantain wraps, and after trying her delicious tacos, this became my obsession. I began playing with the recipe to make it ours. We focused on the wraps as a potential first Paleo food product, and we easily came up with the perfect (rhyming) name: Jane’s Plantains.
February 23, 2016 was an ordinary Tuesday and I spent the evening in the kitchen, joyfully testing new plantain creations. I created wraps, stuffed dumplings and cinnamon crisp bowls. We tried them for dinner and dessert and gave them all of our thumbs up. All three recipes were keepers and I was pumped. I tucked the leftover dumplings in the fridge to save for Kenny’s lunch the next day and cleaned up my giant mess. Kenny left, I put our daughter to bed, and fell asleep with exciting ideas bouncing around my mind.
I was awoken in the dark to the unfathomable news of Kenny’s accident and death, and in a breath I felt our dreams and future dissipate like vapor. He was gone in an instant and so was our life together.
Our house became packed with loved ones who came to support and mourn with us. I had a drawing on our fridge of another product name idea, and my cousin, Jeremy, asked me about it. I explained our ideas to him and he encouraged me to keep my faith. He looked into my eyes and told me he believed in me, and I felt the flame flicker and rekindle.
I shared my idea with my brother, Jarod, and he agreed to help me make our dream a reality. His gentle, steadfast support was exactly what I needed to move forward. It gave me a new purpose, a reason to believe in something again.
The name Kenny’s Kitchen came to me and sealed the deal. I knew it was meant to be.
I worked with my talented friend Sara again, and she brought our vision to life in a new logo.
logo by Studio SPC
Kenny’s Kitchen would become our way to honor his life and memory. We could keep Kenny’s light shining in people’s everyday lives with our products. He would have a presence in their homes, in their kitchens, to enhance their precious time together. His spirit would live on in each delicious bite, each boisterous laugh around the table. My goal was to inspire people to create a habit of meaningful mealtimes, to appreciate the greatest gift we have to give each other–our time and presence.
We decided to start with spice blends, and thanks to my brother, Chill -n- Grill was born. Together with my daughter, we launched Kenny’s Kitchen in February, 2017.
We kept our small business running until the pandemic hit, and had to pause production. A year later we are finally ready to slowly ramp it up again. I have missed working on Kenny’s Kitchen and I am thrilled to have the chance to share the Kenny Love with y’all once again. You can find our spices for sale at kennys-kitchen.com. There are currently a limited number of Chill -n- Grill bottles and Taco Time will be available again soon.
My hope remains the same. May our products inspire you to make meaningful meals and memories around your table in honor of Kenny. None of us know when our last moment together will be, and in my eyes, that makes every meal a reason to celebrate.