Many kinds of people come through the Millionair Club Charity’s Employment Program. Some, like Kenn Hagele, are entrepreneurs looking for financial stability as they seek to start or grow their small businesses.
Nearly a decade ago Kenn started The Edible Chef, a food company that uses foods like watermelons, yams, apples, sweet potatoes, radishes and carrots to create artistic sculptures of animals, cartoon characters, buildings and other real life objects. He has also found jobs in yard work, moving, landscaping and general labor through the Millionair Club Charity as a way to supplement his income.
“When I have days off, I come to the Millionair Club to get some extra cash in my pocket,” Kenn says.
Thanks to supporters like you who make the Millionair Club Charity programs possible, Kenn can make a living and continue to pursue his dreams of creating edible art for business functions, private parties, weddings, anniversary celebrations, fundraising events and anyone who enjoys seeing birds, tigers, penguins, whales, log cabins, houses or Disney characters made out of items found in the fruit and vegetable aisle.
“You can incorporate any wood carving to food. Food is just a softer wood,” Kenn says.
When the average shopper goes to the supermarket and sees a misshapen potato sitting on the produce shelf, they see something they wouldn’t want to eat.
Kenn, on the other hand, sees an artistic opportunity.
Born in Tacoma and raised in a small town in Minnesota, Kenn graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked at a restaurant in New York City. He became interested in food art when his employer hired a catering company from Japan to create artistic displays for an oyster bar.
“I talked to this guy [from the Japanese company] and he carved an apple into a rose while I was talking to him. I was fascinated by it. It was a whole new level of cooking,” Kenn recalls.
Afterward, Kenn worked for a chapter of The Boys and Girls Club near his hometown teaching culinary skills to kids and eventually moved to Seattle to pursue other opportunities.
When Kenn briefly worked for FareStart, a local Seattle nonprofit that provides meals to low-income adults and families, he was encouraged to start his own food art business by a co-worker.
“Everything I do, you can eat. That’s what I always tell people,” Kenn says.
Kenn considers himself to be both a chef and an artist. He hopes his artistic talents and passion for cooking will take him far.
“I like cooking because it’s like playing with a safe chemistry set. I like the colors, smells and tastes,” Kenn says.
To see more examples of Kenn’s work, visit EdibleChef.weebly.com.