As we get ready to celebrate Independence Day we thought it was a perfect time to reflect on what freedom means. Chef Kelsey Henderson has a long history and passion of working as a private chef. We decided to combine two of our favorite things, food and freedom, during our Q&A with Kelsey.

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Q: How and why did you become a chef?
A: I grew up with an Italian mother, so food was a huge part of my everyday life. But I chose to be a chef  because I knew it was something I felt passionate about, little did I know where the food industry would take me. I have to say although I have worked very hard for all that I have, I feel like I have a little luck on my side. I went to culinary school at the Art Institute in Santa Monica, while going to school I worked as an apprentice for a macrobiotic chef and really broadened my knowledge of using seasonal food and all the benefits that eating a healthy diet  can have on your Body, mind, soul, happiness, and health. Once I was introduced to the world of being a private chef  there was no turning back. I love meeting new clients, traveling, working in beautiful homes, and creating very personal relationships that you don’t find in the restaurant industry.
Q: What do you love most about 4th of July, any special childhood memories?
A: What I love most about the 4th of July is what I love about all holidays. It brings our friends, families, and country together to celebrate all that we have. The 4th of July is a day to take time and be thankful for our country, our freedom, and of course the delicious food you have in front of you.
Q: What does freedom mean to you?
A: Freedom has so many meanings. At this point in my life, it means I have the power and choice to do whatever I wish with my life. I can create a world of happiness, success, adventure, love, challenge, and health. You have the freedom to be BOLD.  It’s important to know your health and diet is in your control, take advantage of your resource and be the healthiest “You” you can be.  Freedom is knowing you have control over your life and all of the details that go a long with it.
Q: Where do you like to go shopping for your food?
A: Living in California I feel so spoiled, I can go to the farmers market year round. If I miss the market I like to head to Whole Foods, they carry a ton of local product and always have the best seasonal produce, fish, and everything else you need to make a fantastic meal.
Q: When going to pick out produce, can you give us some secrets of the trade we should know?
A: Everyone has a few tricks, like; thumping watermelons, squeezing avocados to see if they’re ripe, and so many other things. I say- know what is in season, smell, and take a minute to look at your produce. Know that when you buy produce that is in season you get the best flavor and the most nutrients from the product. Also look at the produce, peaches are brighter when ripe, pineapple leaves should be a little brown, and if you’re unsure ask the person working in produce. These people know a ton about the product they have on the shelves, and are happy to help you pick out the best!
Q: Why is this recipe so perfect for 4th of July?
A: This recipe is fun, fresh, and light. So you and your fellow 4th of July game goers wont be weighed down all day. The colors are bright and look great with a red, white, and blue table scape. And the salad travels well, there is nothing that is going to spoil if you don’t eat the salad right away, so it’s perfect for a 4th of July picnic or BBQ.
If you are looking for a simple and delicious recipe to bring to your festivities, here is Kelsey’s suggestion:
Red, white and heirloom salad


  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes cut into 1inch cubes
  • 1 small seedless watermelon cut into 1inch cubes
  • 1 English cucumber cut into 1inch cubes
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1t chopped fresh parsley
  • 1t chopped fresh basil
  • 1t chopped fresh mint
  • 1t chopped fresh dill
  • 4T balsamic vinegar
  • 2T champagne vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of feta cheese to garnish (optional)

Arrange cubed produce on a platter, Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour dressing over the salad 20-40 minutes before serving top with feta cheese. Enjoy!


Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Fourth of July,

The Help Company