Portrait & Bio: Chef Kim Katz Alvarez

Chef Kim Katz Alvarez is the co-owner of the hot new Latin American restaurant Avenida, www.avenidarestaurant.com in Mt. Airy, PA.

A graduate of Syracuse University’s restaurant management program and the two-year chef program at the Culinary Institute of America, cooking has been her passion since she was 7.

Kim says:

I clearly remember the day my mom enrolled me in a cooking class at Bloomingdales in Jenkintown, PA. It was Thanksgiving time, and our first assignment was to make homemade stuffing. My cousin Brandi was in the class, too, and she also liked all the tearing of the bread and combining it with the wet ingredients using her fingers. But I loved it.

It was the best stuffing I’d ever tasted and every Thanksgiving I continue to make it for my family. In fact, every year my daughter, Emma, and son, Alejandro, look forward to tearing the bread and helping me saute vegetables and mix it all together with their hands.

But that’s what cooking is all about: bringing joy to family and friends through combining the best ingredients with some skill and a little magic. Although my mother never really loved to cook, she lit up when it came time to prepare the traditional Jewish dishes that her mother made best: chicken, pot roast, chopped liver, and motzah ball soup (although my mom always made the kind of motzah balls that sink).

Of course, now that Edgar and I have kids we teach them to prepare the recipes that our grandmothers created. Rarely does a week go by when Emma doesn’t whip up a giant bowl of guacamole, or Alejandro doesn’t ask for some of mommom’s motzah balls (he likes the kind that sink, too).

I feel lucky to share the art of cooking with my kids and with my customers, too.

In my 25 years as a chef, I have had the privilege to work in some of the best kitchens in America including Brad Ogden’s One Market in San Francisco and the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, CA. I was the second-in-command at The Striped Bass under head chef Alison Barshack, and head chef of Beaujolais in Philadelphia.

I also worked as a chef at several gourmet markets in Philadelphia, including Gerard’s and Patina.

At those establishments I learned not only how to prepare four-star meals, but to lead other chefs so they enjoy coming to work each day. I also came to master what it means to truly take care of your guests.

Edgar and I have brought our passion and skills to the Delaware Market House, and this experience has been a highlight of our careers.