By Bethany Good
Kisha Washington wears a lot of hats. Firstly, she is a private chef and owner of TheKeyIngredient, where she provides upscale dining experiences to her clients in the comfort of their own homes. She studied at Stratford University in Fairfax, VA where she received a BA in Culinary Arts as well as Hospitality and Business Management. Her accomplishments also include being the founder and president of a nonprofit organization called Cookzcreed Foundation which supplies scholarships, mentorships, and mental health and substance abuse resources to chefs in the hospitality and culinary industry. Her motto is “life is too short to be miserable and not peaceful.”
Kisha is from Leesburg, VA. When she’s not working she enjoys competing in culinary competitions. It’s no surprise that Kisha has won numerous awards and accolades for dishes and concepts. That’s not all, she is also a certified judge and has judged numerous competitions. In her free time, she sits on the advisory board for a company called Just Call Me Chef, where they celebrate black female chefs in the industry. Kisha also enjoys road trips and other outdoor activities.
Why we love Kisha Washington
Kisha is passionate about serving others through mentorship and through her nonprofit the Cookzcreed Foundation. Her dedication to supporting others in the industry is truly impressive. Besides her advocacy work, she is also a mentor for “Open for Good” which is a part of the James Beard Foundation. In her personal life, she believes in approaching each day as a new experience. “The experience is going to give me a memory that I can store and refer back to in those low days or moments. I try and find a balance between the two,” she says.
Q&A with Kisha Washington
Tell me about your nonprofit the Cookzcreed Foundation.
I started this organization because after losing my fiance to suicide and dealing with my own mental health, I wanted to find a way to impact the culinary industry with how we chefs can tell our stories and get the help we need. Besides all that, I also work at a mental health center, working closely with group services for mental health and substance abuse clients. My nonprofit organization is also a part of the Mental Health Hospitality Coalition in which I partner with other organizations on mental health and hospitality.
What inspires you and keeps you going?
What drives me forward and inspires me would have to be others. I always find it interesting what others are doing, their stories, and how they got to where they are. But also, just looking forward to what tomorrow brings. It’s always a new day to start over, start something new, etc…
Which of the guiding values defined by Cowork Frederick members speaks to you?
When it comes to business or my clients, I have a top few things I value: authenticity, curiosity, and generosity. My biggest of the three would have to be curiosity. I have always been a curious person. Always asking questions, wondering what I can do better, and how I can exceed the expectations. With that comes authenticity, always being true to who I am, and open about what I feel is right. Then out comes generosity, not just for others but for myself as well.
Any tips for business owners?
Some quick tips I learned over the years in business that I would tell someone wanting to get in the field or this line of work would be:
1. Do your diligence to ask questions and research. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do and where you’re headed. It makes it easier to plan ahead.
2. Take some risk. It’s ok to not know the outcome, and without taking the first step, you will never know what happens.
3. Get some friends or people around you that are going to be brutally honest. You want their opinions on your ideas and the moves you make. They won’t steer you wrong if they are there to see you win.
Why Cowork Frederick?
I chose Cowork Frederick because I felt the atmosphere and people fit my energy and vibe. It’s so quaint and nestled in a downtown area which I love. Everyone has been so nice and even though I don’t get to the office as much, it’s nice to feel in the loop and recognized. A sense of community is always great.
For those who want to learn more, how can you be reached?
You can also find more information about Kisha’s culinary services here. You can email her at Keyingredientllc@gmail.com or Cookzcreedfoundation@gmail.com.
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