Where there is passion, there is often food. For Trinidad-born and current Meriden community leader, Chef Kashia Diaz Cave is a woman who knows the way to people’s hearts: their stomach. As the Executive Director My City Kitchen, Inc., Chef Cave is a graduate of Lincoln Culinary Institute, formerly Connecticut Culinary Institute and the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners (ICIF) in Costigliole-D’Asti, Italy.
On her love of all things epicurean, Chef Cave admits, “I come from a cooking and baking family. My grandfather, Phillip Diaz, was a farmer from Point Fortin, Trinidad and grandfather, Johnson Jeremiah James, was a fisherman from Carenage. It was the bonds that I have with my family that instilled a passion for cooking.”
As an island girl, it was quite normal for young girls to understand the basics of preparing meals from as young as 12 years old. While many people are following their dreams, Chef Cave is ardently passionate about her role and her ability to help others.
” There is no greater joy than cooking a scrumptious meal, which puts a smile on the faces of those that I serve. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, music, watching great movies and enjoy teaching children and adults how to be creative in the kitchen.”
It is with this steely resolve that has seen My City Kitchen flourish and Chef Cave has managed to manifest her idea into a very successful non-profit organization. Her Junior Chefs organization has been featured in the Chef Ramin Ganeshram Cookbook Future Chefs: Recipes by tomorrow’s Cooks Across the Nation and the World), Hartford Courant, the People’s Press, the Meriden Record Journal Newspapers, TnT Mirror Newspaper (Trinidad & Tobago), Natural Awakenings Health Magazine, Connecticut Magazine, the New Haven Advocate, Jay Blessed Media(NYC), and in the Meriden Patch.
As the winner of numerous awards, Chef Cave knows well the personal impact of culinary education. In recent years Chef Cave has been named Meriden Children First Champion in 2010, was among Connecticut Magazine Generation Next “40 Under 40″ honorees in 2011; in 2012 she was recognized by NASDAQ for her service of assisting military veterans, and 2013 she was the recipient of the City of Meriden Board of Education’s Community Outstanding Support Award for her work with Meriden Public Schools.
In 2015 she received the Meriden/Wallingford NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Community Service; and in 2016 Chef Cave received the Carenage United International Community Leader Award and the Cultural Exchange Award from the Trinbago American Association of Southern Connecticut (TAAoSC) Excellence. Chef Cave also has the distinct honor of being one of 12 chefs featured in the 2016 Aetna African American Black History Calendar as a pillar in the culinary arts.
Other features include articles in the Hartford Courant, The People’s Press, the Meriden Record Journal Newspapers, Natural Awakenings Health Magazine, The New Haven Advocate, and the NASDAQ website. Chef Cave was also a featured guest chef for CBS Connecticut News WTIC, and has had her charitable work highlighted on WFSB Channel 3, Better Connecticut, NBC30 News, Fox61 News, and WTNH/ABC News.
Chef Cave has also formed vital connections with the Italian Food Style Eduction (IFSE) culinary institute, and Enotre Delicato, a family-owned olive grove in Calabria, Italy. Together, they inspire people to satiate their curiosity as much as their appetites.
Chef Kashia Diaz Cave lives in Meriden, Connecticut with her two sons, Brandon and Tyler.