As a child in Detroit, Michigan, Gary Walker spent much of his time in his mother’s kitchen. It was here that his passion for cooking took seed as he keenly observed three generations of women lovingly prepare countless, elaborate meals. At just twelve years old, he took on the responsibility of feeding the family while his mother re-entered the work force. It proved to be formidable experience. “It was a single parent household,” he recounts. “I quickly learned that shared meals are an essential part of what makes a family strong.” After getting a degree in French from Wayne State University Gary moved to New York City to work in corporate America. It was here where his passion for food developed into a career. He enrolled in the work-study program at The Institute of Culinary Education, where he eventually received a Diploma in Culinary Arts.
Gary left New York for Chicago, where he learned the ins and outs of cooking and catering at several of the city’s best establishments. Gary left the restaurant side of the business and started his own Private chef company, Cheflove, where his client list included a sorority house and several distinguished Chicago families. Gary also explored teaching and food styling as ways to stay working in the industry without the grueling pressure of restaurant work. Gary continues to travel the globe cooking for his clients. He also finds the importance of giving back, getting involved with his community whether it’s teaching healthy cooking lessons to homeless women or getting involved with urban farming and food justice. His personal culinary philosophy is deeply rooted in home-style, multicultural food using fresh, local and organic ingredients.