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    Influencer Series | 4 min read

    David Thomas | Chef & Founder at Kinfolk + Cousins Concepts

    Chef David Thomas was born in Philadelphia, but spent the majority of his life in Houston, Texas. It was there that he decided to be a chef at 14 years old. He fell in love with the kitchen by way of community service, as a means to stay out of trouble as a teen. He met his mentor, Joseph Hopkins, at a soup kitchen, and continued to work for him in the years to follow. He takes inspirations from his Mother, Grandmother, Chef Joseph, and having traveled with circuses along the way. David spent summers as youth traveling the country with his aunt who was a circus performer. 

    Southern Fusion is his favorite cuisine, and his favorite thing to cook is a Collard Green Soup, that has been passed down through his family for generations. While at Morehouse, David Majored in Sociology and was a Member of the "House of Funk" Marching Band and Jazz Band, SGA, and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity. 

    David founded Kinfolk + Cousins in 2017. Kinfolk + Cousins Concepts is a boutique catering and live events company based in NYC. At Kinfolk + Cousins our food is inspired by the seasons and sourced from trusted local farmers and purveyors. We believe it is all about the food. 

    Head chefs David Thomas and Fabian Ferrera, along with their experienced and knowledgeable staff, offer a wide range of services. From photo shoots, full service catering, Hospitality Consulting , and Menu Development. 

    Q: What is the biggest challenge you have met in your career?

    David: The largest and most consistent challenge I have had in my career is being underestimated from a skill perspective and being treated as other because of the color of my skin.

    Q: How you would describe your company culture, and what are the superpowers of your team? 

    David: The culture ofKinfolk + Cousins is Love Meals: Real Food for Real People. We believe that food is the great common denominator in life and the headwaters from which all culture flows. the super power of my team is our ability to create thoughtful and genuine food and culture spaces.

    Q: How would you describe your leadership style? 

    David: I am an interactive relationship builder. I believe in creating genuine relational space with my staff to create a comfortable living space for us to create in and be our best selves in. Treat people well and they will treat you well has been a working mantra for my team.

    Q: Who inspires you and why? 

    David: Walter Massey was my college president. He inspired me as a leader because he was a walking example of the line " Speak the Kings Language, but Walks with the Common Touch" by Rudyard Kipling. He always made time to speak with students when on campus and we regularly had lunch with him. his wisdom and sage advice continues to help my life.

    Q: What are some challenges or trends you see in hiring today?

    David: Finding the right people is always the biggest challenge. The trend I see in hiring today is companies taking the time by extending the interview process to spend more time with potential candidates to get to know them as people before making a hiring decision.

    Q: Have you ever had an hourly job? If yes, please share with us your experience

    David: I started as a dishwasher and prep cook. I have worked hard and know the value of hard work. I learned so much from that work that informs what I do everyday, hard and cooperative work with a team of people that trust one another can achieve anything.

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