Professional chef Kelly Scott was one of only four women in her graduating class at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa County, California.
She has now been working in the food industry for over five years with experience in the restaurant world, meal-preparation companies, private clients and culinary education.
At the beginning of this year, Kelly brought her cooking skills and expertise to TikTok, where she shares cooking tips and recipes in video form. Her following has grown to over 606,000 followers, along with her Instagram that has 102,000 followers.
Kelly became interested in cooking when she was completing her undergraduate studies. At this time, she was struggling with an eating disorder and an unhealthy relationship with food.
She has been able to heal this relationship and transform it into a passion for cooking healthy, nutritional meals.
Kelly went on to culinary school, and being there helped to transform her mindset about food, as the experience forced her to try a wider variety of foods.
“It was definitely like exposure therapy getting out of that, but it still creeps up,” she says. “I think someone with an eating disorder never fully gets out of those mindsets. I will sometimes have those thoughts, but cooking and enjoying the food helps get those thoughts away.”
Over time, Kelly has been able to truly enjoy food through the art of cooking. She is passionate about sharing her love for cooking with others while showcasing recipes that are healthy, farm-to-table, gluten-free and accessible to those with food allergies.
After earning her culinary degree, she began working in various restaurants. Though she enjoyed the work, the restaurant industry often comes with long hours, low pay and physically demanding labor — Kelly found herself burnt out with barely any time off.
She started working for a meal-preparation company and later transitioned to working as a private chef for families around Orange County, California, something she still currently does alongside creating her online content.
Kelly is also a culinary instructor, giving group cooking lessons and teaching at cooking retreats. She loves being the person to help those who are not sure where to start their cooking journey.
“If I had someone who I was able to help make [cooking] simple for me, it would have made it a lot more fun and manageable,” Kelly says. “A lot of people are either scared to cook or they think it’s boring, so I really like when we can turn that mindset around or inspire them to be in the kitchen.”
Kelly’s advice to those who may be new to cooking is to start with the basics and build solid cooking foundations.
“If you have those techniques down, then you can cook any recipe,” she says.
This is why Kelly wrote and self-published her upcoming book “The Basics of Cooking” to help get people started.
The book is not only a cookbook, but also a course about the basics of cooking. It will also have video links to provide a more visual tool for learning. Kelly has been working on this book for the past few months, and it will be launching soon.
It is important for Kelly to find a balance between her teaching, cooking and content creation. Since starting her own business where she works for herself, she can have more time to rest.
“When you rest more, your work thrives more,” she says.
Kelly’s upcoming book is her main focus right now. She would love to write more books in the future as well as do more creative online projects.
“I always just try to follow what lights me up the most,” she says. “I like a lot of different things — cooking for people, teaching people — so I try to find a balance for all of that and do what brings me joy. If you can, do things and projects that are fulfilling.”