Look who’s cooking

Entrepreneur by day, gourmet chef by night

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Imagine a brunch menu graced by a mouthwatering three-cheese soufflé, spinach enchiladas, turkey bacon and sausage accompanied by freshly squeezed tangerine juice. This is followed by a melt-in-your-mouth sour cream coffee cake with pecan filling. No, you’re not at a ritzy restaurant, but at the Los Angeles home of Kim Hunter.

Besides running Lagrant Communications, his multimillion-dollar public relations and advertising company that specializes in the African American consumer market, Hunter is a gourmet chef. “Brunch is my signature,” says Hunter, who began cooking as a hobby while in college more than 10 years ago. “But I also cook gourmet Italian, French and American meals. And, of course, I can definitely do soul food.”

Hunter dishes up gourmet meals at least twice a week. He not only cooks for his staff but for clients as well. Among his customers are Nissan and Edison International. “I’ll have clients over for dinner or brunch,” explains Hunter. “I’m a big believer that food is a common denominator; everyone has to eat. And [cooking for clients] has been a major plus for my business. It puts everyone in a great mood for meetings. Plus, I love to entertain.”

Over the years Hunter has taken a cooking course or two. In fact, he just recently finished a course in Cajun cooking. “There are always new things to learn or different ways of preparing food,” notes Hunter, who loves to experiment and create his own dishes. But besides mastering the basics of cooking, Hunter has found a well-equipped kitchen is a must for any would-be gourmet cook. In fact, if you’re hoping to follow in his footsteps, equipment will probably be the biggest expense. “I have a great stove, large refrigerator, a food processor, blender, mixer and Dutch oven,” says Hunter, who prefers the Cuisinart and KitchenAid brands. A high-end KitchenAid mixer, can go for as much as $400, while the top-of-the-line Cuisinart food processor is about $200.

It takes one more thing to pursue gourmet cooking, says Hunter. “You have to have a passion for food. I have a passion for cooking and baking. I find it extremely relaxing, and there’s so much joy in seeing someone else savor a meal you’ve cooked.”

Kim Hunter’s favorite three-cheese soufflé:
4 large eggs (room temperature)
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Monterey jack cheesem (All cheeses should be freshly grated)
3/4 cup heavy cream

Seasonings and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs until fluffy. Add cheeses, cream and whisk together.
  3. Put in soufflé dish that has been coated with a nonstick cooking spray such as Pam.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.

(Feeds 4-6 people)