in her kitchen
the secret sauce
I'm Chef Krysia aka Chiqui. Chiqui is short for Chiquitita, which means "little girl" in Spanish. My abuelo, my grandfather, used to call me this when I was a child. I named this business Chiqui's Kitchen because I wanted to always be reminded of my love of, and passion for, food as it began early in my childhood. My love for food is also deeply rooted in my Peruvian-American heritage and the secret sauce to my cooking is simple: my passion.
My first exposure to actual cooking was helping my mother in the kitchen as a teenager. However, I really fell in love with the sounds and rhythm of the kitchen, when I was even younger, in my father's Latin American restaurant that was once located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I will never forget the smell of the rice cooking, the flan baking, the sizzle of all things tasty in the fryerlator, and the dance my uncle or cousin performed as they made their way through the daily cooking routines. Later in life, I decided to pursue a career in the culinary arts by obtaining a degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI then actively cooked in restaurants in both the U.S. and Peru. After the birth of my daughter, I worked in the food manufacturing industry running a retail store and corresponding factory tour program to teach the public about cacao and chocolate. I first started this business in 2019, first as a personal chef, then I decided to shift my focus. In 2020, I completed my masters in liberal arts in Gastronomy at Boston University and pivoted my business to producing specialty Peruvian-style empanadas.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I kept going back to my time living in Peru. There was a small bakery down the street from where I lived in Miraflores, a district of Lima. I can still remember the first time I bought an empanada from that place. It was filled with the most flavorful ground beef. I ordered it with a steaming hot cup of coffee. On the plate with the confectioners sugar-dusted empanada was just a slice of lime. I squeezed the lime on the tip of the empanada, positioned it for the perfect bite, and dove into it. It simply fell apart and melted in my mouth in the best of ways. I believe I audibly grunted. I wanted to recreate this empanada, so I began playing with ingredients and tweaking recipes until I got it right. I decided, too, that I would center indigenous Peruvian peppers as the base of the flavor. No shortcuts or substitutes. This is now the focus of Chiqui's Kitchen: to make melt-in-your-mouth, handmade, lovemade, small-batch Peruvian-style empanadas. Take a look through this site to learn more about my offerings and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions.