Profiles

MY LOOK: Kate Klenavic

This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec print edition of Ottawa Magazine

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Kate Klenavic is wearing the Rouched Marigold Coat by Tracy Reese and Sam Edelman boots. Tights and dress are from Wilfred; earrings and gloves are Etsy finds. Photo: Andrew Carson

How would you describe your personal style?
As a chef, I have to be pretty functional, but I also switch from kitchen to floor a lot — as catering chef for The Whalesbone, I supervise the kitchen but also interact with event guests. So it’s a mix of functionality and style. Ballet flats are good for instantly making a look chic. Booties are great because they look like you’re wearing heels but you’re not. And black. I wear a lot of black. Off-site, I’m usually in cook’s clothing, but that can be tricky because halfway through the day, I might have to meet a client. Then I slip on ballet flats and a bracelet, and I’m good to go. Blazers are also a super way to easily transform an outfit.

Does your own style affect the way you present the food?
It definitely does. My style can be trendy, and things in the catering world change often. Plus, I see a lot of the same people at different events. So I’m always looking on Pinterest and reading magazines for ways to present food while still keeping the food delicious. These days I use a lot of wood accents and stainless steel. Brown paper bags are great because they’re so simple and functional. And mid-century is coming back in style, so that style of glassware is both hipster cool and old-school cool, so it appeals to different groups, which is especially good at weddings, where you see grandparents and young people. These days I do a lot of the event styling too, so it’s about combining your personal vision for the event with that of the client and finding a good balance between the two. In the end, I always feel good food should look like you want to eat it and not like a piece of art — a little bit rustic, a little bit messy.

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Kate Klenavic is wearing the Rouched Marigold Coat by Tracy Reese and Sam Edelman boots. Tights and dress are from Wilfred; earrings and gloves are Etsy finds. Photo: Andrew Carson

I’ve seen you with blond hair and red hair but never dark brown. What’s your natural hair colour? What do you think of this shade you’re currently rocking?
I have light brown hair, but I’m liking the dark brown. I think my blond (and red and purple) days are over. I’m getting older — I’m 36 — and I’d rather be classic than trendy.

How does being a mom affect your style?
As a mom of a two-year-old, I can’t be in heels all day and be functional at the end of the day. So the heels are shorter now, the jewellery less … intense. Last summer rompers were really in, and she loved them, and then I was really excited to see them for women too. My husband is pretty stylish too, so we have fun with [my daughter’s] clothes. She always wants to wear what I’m wearing. She wears her hair in a top bun, she loves fringe, she has a motorcycle jacket, a denim vest, booties, skinny jeans — we’re staying away from the princess crap as long as we can. We shop at Zara Kids and Baby Gap.

What else do you do when you’re not cooking, styling, or being a mom?
I’m a spinning instructor at Goodlife. It gives me another outlet — it’s a one-hour class, three times a week. I used to cycle a lot and race. I started spinning at the gym in 2005 and just really got into it. But I try not to yell — I try to be encouraging.