Executive Chef Katherine Humphus
Executive Chef Katherine, a native of San Diego, has enjoyed cooking from a young age. She loved cooking with her grandma, but never thought she could make it into a career. At the age of 19, after living in San Diego her whole life she was looking for an adventure and set out to attend Le Cordon Blue in Paris.
By earning a Culinary Trust Scholarship, Chef Katherine’s dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu became a reality. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, France in 2009 with a Le Grand Diplome in Cuisine & Pastry. Here she developed her personal creativity while mastering the classic, yet intricate, French techniques and methods. Chef Katherine also attended Le Cordon Bleu’s Wine & Spirits Program completing multiple courses in wine education. “I loved the experience – the food and people in France – everything inspired me.”
Katherine’s first restaurant job was at The Prado in Balboa Park, 2 years prior to attending Le Cordon Bleu. She began as a hostess and knew after the first Friday night shift that the restaurant business was her calling. “The ambiance was tremendous – the staff was busy running around, everyone was smiling, the food smelled delicious, the wine was flowing and each challenge became a success. I instantly wanted to learn more.” With her sights set on becoming a chef, Katherine asked to be moved into any position in the Heart of the House. Her request was soon granted and 5 months later she was transferred to the Prado’s bakery. It wasn’t long before she was working as a pantry cook, then moved to a grill station, and finally ended up in the banquet kitchen. Katherine thrived on the constant evolution of her role and fast pace of the Prado kitchen. “I was so excited to be trained in each position and I loved that my job title could change any day – I helped the restaurant in any way I could and I especially liked the diversity of my job. Every day was a new challenge and exciting.”
After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris Chef Katherine landed a job working at wd-50 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. She started in the prep kitchen of this Michelin Starred restaurant and was promoted the Meat Entremets station, “the hardest yet most rewarding work environment.”
Home sick for the west coast, Chef Katherine moved back to California and landed an internship with The French Laundry in Yountville, CA. She was delighted to have the internship at such a renowned restaurant and an experience that allowed her to gain excellent prep training as well as time to perfect her knife skills.
In 2010, Chef Katherine headed south to her native San Diego to open her own catering company, Pardon My French. She specialized in French dessert buffets and chocolate truffles. The experience was immensely rewarding and gave her an opportunity to hone her management and people skills.
Reconnecting with the Cohn Restaurant Group Katherine was soon teaching classes at the Balboa Park Food & Wine School. Impressed with her drive, David and Lesley Cohn asked her to assist with the opening of the new concept Analog replacing Mister Tiki in the Gaslamp. Here Chef Katherine assisted with the hiring, training on proper knife skills, safety, and sanitation. She offered new ideas for modifying kitchen procedures and new menu items.
When the position of Executive Chef for the Cohn’s new French restaurant
BO-beau kitchen + bar (formerly Thee Bungalow) became available, Chef Katherine called David Cohn and requested an interview. David took the meeting, offered her the job, and couldn’t be happier with the decision. Chef Katherine has an undeniable desire to grow and learn and an intense passion for achievement that has brought her so much success at such a young age.
When asked what she credits her accomplishments to thus far, her response was, “Perseverance and the desire to always improve. I have to take more seasoned and accomplished chef’s suggestions and simultaneously lead my team with the knowledge I have gained along the way. I want to smile and have fun at work and at the end of a long hard shift I want all of our guests to have left with full tummies and happy memories of their experience.”
She credits her mom and dad for their support and her grandma for keeping her by her side in the kitchen; making her see that cooking is fun and creative. Chef Katherine is the perfect ingredient to add to the Cohn Family of restaurants. When questioned about her future aspirations the answer was simple, “I want to continue to grow as a chef and help make BO-beau a great success doing what I love to do…cooking French food.”