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Meet Chef Kaylenne Brown and Family
Chef Kaylenne Brown moved to Corning from Hampton, VA (one of the seven cities that makes up the Hampton Roads Coastal Community area) in September 2022 with her husband Herbert, their daughter, Leilani, and a cat and a dog named Nightingale and Pepper.
Before Herbert accepted a job offer at Corning Inc., they’d never been to Corning and weren’t sure what to expect. The closest Chef Kay had gotten to the area was when she attended an Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Program (EBV) at Cornell University in 2018, run through the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and sponsored by Syracuse University. “The EBV Program is a cutting-edge entrepreneurship training program teaching the steps and stages of business creation and business management, with a tailored emphasis on the unique challenges and opportunities associated with being a veteran business owner,” Chef said. At Cornell, she got hands-on training and business information on operating a food business. “Having this knowledge made me feel more comfortable with the move to Corning because I wasn’t that far from Ithaca and had access to the various resources shared with me through the program.” She added, “So we had an open mind about our new adventure, but I think the only thing we knew for sure was that the winters would be VERY cold!”
Now that they live here, they’re learning more and more each day. They love that there are no traffic jams and that it’s quiet. Chef Kay shared, “We’re still in the process of exploring and are searching for restaurants that have great vegan options.”
One other thing the Brown family enjoyed was the ease of relocation. Chef Kay recalls, “It wasn’t difficult to relocate to the area. We had been on the search for housing, which is always a hit or miss, but we were successful and love where we are now.”
Chef Kay is a vegan chef and community nutritionist. She owns and operates Plant-Based Eatz, LLC, where she plans to offer personal chef services, cooking classes, and catering services. Upon moving to Corning, Chef worked on establishing herself in the community. “The goal is to start catering again and teach vegan cooking classes,” she said, “I’d love to start a food truck/mobile food kitchen serving my dishes. I am working on licensing and setting up a shop in the area..and I am looking for new clients!”
Chef Kay has found that the reception to her business has been very positive. “People are very excited about more plant-forward options in this area. When I tell people that I am a vegan chef, their faces light up with amazement.” She added, “I always get the, ‘I am vegan/vegetarian and would love to support’ or, ‘I have several friends that are vegan, and we would love for you to cater!’ I get really excited talking about my business. I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and start preparing meals again!”
And this further adds to what she sees as one of the area’s advantages. “There is so much room to grow! We can grow our careers, our daughter can hone in on things she loves, and there are lots of opportunities for us to grow as a family.” She stated they were in a very densely populated area and felt stifled because everything was over-saturated. “Coming to Corning is literally a breath of fresh air.”
For anyone relocating to the area, Chef Kay points out, “If they are looking for peace of mind and tranquility, then they’ve chosen the right place.” She added, “I would also tell that person about the opportunities available for them and their families. This area is a hidden gem.”
Thank you, Chef Kaylenne and family, for sharing your story with us! Read more SoFLX stories to learn about life, work, and play in the Southern Finger Lakes.