Food is a way to bring communities together, share cultural traditions and teach individuals about the importance of a healthy, ethically-sourced meal, said Dr. Karen Patrice Boyd.
“My passion is teaching. Yes, I produce great food. But at the end of the day, I can impact the community more in terms of their knowledge and experience with fresh, healthier ingredients. People can then walk away with self confidence in how to prepare food and in their life skills,” said Boyd, the founder of Patrice’s Culinary Collective.
Click here to check out Patrice’s Culinary Collective.
Patrice’s Culinary Collective is a Kansas City-based catering company that also offers cooking classes and hosts social gatherings. The journey in founding the business has spanned more than 50 years, Boyd said, noting that it began when she was a child, watching her mother make pies.
“I previously owned and operated a bakery company in Tampa, Florida which is what I had always wanted to do,” said the Chicago native who moved to Kansas City a little more than 20 years ago. “I got into the business to teach. I wanted to teach life skills, etiquette.”
After moving to Kansas City, Boyd’s family and friends encouraged her to bring her New Orleans-inspired baked goods and catering to the area, she recalled.
“Over the years, and especially through COVID, I found that my format actually started to resonate more in the Kansas City area because people were putting more focus on high quality food,” Boyd said. “So when a lot of organizations were experiencing a downturn during COVID, we actually went the opposite way.”
Winslow Place Culinary Micro Center
At the end of 2020, Boyd secured a grant and funding through AltCap and the State of Missouri. These funds allowed Boyd to map out a business plan and document her vision for the future of the Winslow Place Culinary Micro Center, which would transform her own home. The plan included a remodeling of her basement into a demonstration kitchen for classes and food prep.
“My son is a master chef, so he came in with the architect to bring more environmentally sound practices to our business,” Boyd said. “Our gardens produce many of our ingredients.”
In July 2022, Boyd received a $50,000 grant from Kansas City G.I.F.T., which allowed her to hire a team and supply her kitchen with more equipment, she said.
Watch Dr. Karen Patrice Boyd’s reaction to winning the $50K G.I.F.T. grant, then scroll down to keep reading!
Along with the indoor demo kitchen, Boyd’s grand plan for Winslow Place Culinary Micro Center includes an impressive outdoor space that features a greenhouse, a dining patio, a living wall, composting area and an outdoor demonstration kitchen to expand class offerings with grilling and smoking.
“The indoor demo kitchen is what I call Phase 1. It’s an ever-evolving plan, but I see the next phase as expanding into our outdoor space,” Boyd said, pointing to her backyard. “My dream is to have an outdoor kitchen, greenhouse and some tables for people to enjoy their food outside. … That’ll take a few years, but I share my vision whenever I get the chance.”
A crucial aspect of Patrice’s Culinary Collective is people who make up the business, Boyd said, and that includes both her team and her community partners.
“I started here back in January,” said Chad Baker, food production manager at Patrice’s Culinary Collective. “… Chef Boyd was gracious enough to introduce me to Growing Growers, the apprenticeship program through [Kansas State University] that teaches you how to provide your own fully sustainable, local farm or garden.”
Baker is currently apprenticing at 2 Birds Farm, which provided the plants grown in the garden at Patrice’s Culinary Collective.
“[Boyd] has really put a bug in my ear about becoming fully sustainable,” Baker shared. “I love showing people that you can grow your meals right outside your front door. That’s really the barrier that I want to break down. It’s something we teach her in our classes.
“No two days here are the same,” Baker continued. “There’s always some new aspect to learn on this entrepreneurial venture and something new to learn from Chef Boyd. I feel very grateful to be a part of this. Cooking has always been a passion of mine; my family swears it is my love language.”
Baker’s brother, Aaron, also works for Patrice’s Culinary Collective as an assistant chef. He started as a contractor to help with the basement build out and became a staff member in March.
“My favorite part of this job is learning how to become a more well-rounded chef and as a person overall,” Aaron Baker shared. “We’re learning business and personal skills, along with the cooking skills.”
Allowing her team to explore their interests and come up with their own recipes is crucial to creating a successful business, Boyd said.
“In this environment, you have an opportunity as a leader to turn people to other experts and pour professional development into your team,” Boyd said. “What Chad’s doing with 2 Birds Farm has helped us, and we just connected Aaron with Tammy Buckner with WeCodeKC because he expressed interest in coding.”
Boyd strives to tap into experts around Kansas City to share their knowledge and their culture, she shared. Patrice’s Culinary Collective often brings in individuals who can share their traditions with others.
“We’ve been partnering a lot with Becky Gripp and The Tamale Kitchen,” Boyd noted. “She makes tamales and shares her story. We have another Black lady who does the best greens in Kansas City. And I love sharing my peach cobbler.”
Everything from the herbs to the meats used by Patrice’s Culinary Collective is locally and ethically sourced, Boyd said.
“This collective is about experience,” Boyd said. “Whether we are catering, hosting an event or teaching a class, we are all about experiential learning. We like to stretch people in terms of their culinary experiences and culture so that they experience and learn something new.”