Update: I have retired as the church cook at my church and now posting recipes for my children's future reference.  Thank you for your years of encouragement by reading this blog! Blessings to you!

:  Everything here, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted.  Opinions, conclusions, and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the view of Independent Presbyterian Church.  

10 facts about the Church Cook:

1. Born and raised in South Korea. (This qualifies me as a "Southerner")
2. Survived US Army boot camp at age 18, and went on to serve as an assistant for an oral surgeon in Heidelberg,Germany. Let me tell you, I've seen lots, and lots, and lots, of teeth.
3. Former hair model for Klaus Peter Ochs, only because there weren't too many Asians living in Frankfuhrt area 27 years ago.
4. Met, fell in love with, and married a windsurfer/aeronautic engineer.
5. Became a Christian shortly after marriage
6. Became a Master Gardener in order to start an herb farm. Unfortunately, I must have lost my green thumb...my garden is a sad testimony.
7. Found a passion for cooking...and started catering instead
8. Has four beautiful, mostly cheerful, mostly homeschooled children
9. Has a fear of rodents and canned peas
10. Currently a Church Cook, and loving it.

And THANK YOU to all my friends who take the time to leave comments on my post.  I cherish every one of them. Though I don't personally respond to your every comments, please do understand and know that your kinds words encourage me so much!

A dear friend, Molly Amanda, a senior at SCAD, majoring in photography, did a photo documentary of The Church Cook as a school project.


  1. I just love your blog. My husband is a church planter and also works as an associate paster for a church in Atlanta, GA. Cooking has always been a passion of mine (there is nothing more relaxing than being in the kitchen), and I recently took the position of cooking half of the Wednesday night dinners. Your blog encourages me to push the envelope and be even more creative! Keep it up and thank you!

  2. @ Melanie, so glad to hear that this site can encourage you, my fellow church cook! If you and your husband are in Savannah, please come and visit IPC,I will be your personal tour guide. ;)

  3. We would love to! Thank you for the offer...my uncle is a eye surgeon in the area, so we might make plans sooner than later!

  4. I found your site from a comment left on a PBS Parents Kitchen post and absolutely love your blog! You have a beautiful family, and your edible creations are amazing. Thank you for sharing!

    - Rachel
    [A fellow mom who cooks and goes to church but that doesn't necessarily qualify me as a church cook. I do some occasional baking for church events -- does that count? :)]

  5. Kay - Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am so happy to get to know you. Your family, your life story, your talents and your blog - all very impressive! I sure will visit here often.

  6. this is so funny. i am a caterer and volunteer as a synagogue cook. we do monthly luncheons for 400 people (free) and next i am one of the anchor chefs for our schools gala (at 180 a person)

    I should start a synagogue cooking blog!


  7. @schewvy, yes! It would be wonderful to have Jewish recipe blog!! Savannah has a large Jewish community and when I worked as a catering manager @ Toucan Cafe(http://www.toucancafe.com/), I had the wonderful opportunity to cater Bar mitzvah celebrations at the local synagogue. Yes, crash course on kashrut from the rabbi and I was so nervous the whole time, not wanting to make any mistakes! So wonderful to "meet" you!

  8. Kay, I have been looking over your blog and am so impressed! I am a church cook, too, though no one would ever mistake me for a gourmet chef. But this is a job with real heart and is one of the most rewarding I've had. Kay, I'm sure that like all chefs, you try to purchase the right amount of food and no end up with too much left over. What do you do with leftover meats and other cooked food? I try to freeze what I can, either in freezer-to-microwave meal containers to distribute to the needy, or in larger buckets to re-use in future meals. I HATE throwing food into the garbage, partly because I also garden and know how much work it is to get anything to grow, lol. Any advice is appreciated!!

  9. To avoid having a lot of left over is to cook much less. This sounds too simple but try to understand how your church family eat. My church family eat about 3 to 3.5 oz per person average for the main meat, but that may be different for your church family. i.e. last night I served beef tacos so I cooked 55 lbs. of ground beef to serve 270 people. This is with lots of fixings and we always add corn dogs or hot dogs (40) for little children.

    Now that I have been doing this for 4 years, I rarely have left over meat, but when I do, I portion them in baggies and have the members take them home. Any left over dessert is served to college group or youth group.

    Email me thechurchcook@gmail.com for any more specific questions and I will be happy to share any tips I know on food portioning for your church! :)

  10. Thanks so much, I will email you with further questions if I have them. I've only been at this for 6 months, with no prior experience cooking for a large group. Oddly enough, cooking in quantity makes more sense to me, and is more fun, than cooking for 3 or 4 in my home kitchen. :) For the church dinners, I try to cook 1/4 lb. meat per person, I think what's tripping me up is that the meats at Sam's Club come in bulk - sometimes, for example, 5 pkgs. of chicken breasts are not quite enough, while 6 pkgs. is too much! Anyway... I will visit your blog often because you and your elegant food creations are an inspiration to me!

  11. Wow! Kay, I am so happy to have found your site! I too am a "church cook" - I've been the Kitchen Director at 1st Presbyterian here in Winston Salem, NC for the past 3 years. Before that I was a caterer for Whole Foods!

    My job at 1st Pres is only part time, so I also work part-time in an Alzheimer's care facitily. But my 4 sons are grown now, so I enjoy having time to do both - although I definitely need a cup of coffee in the morning before I can figure out where I'm supposed to show up that day, and what I'm supposed to do!

    It is so much fun to find someone online who shares something I am passionate about and WOW! - someone who does it so very, very well! I am so impressed and happy with your blog!

  12. Hi Kay,

    It was so nice to discover you on TK! I really enjoy reading your church cooking stories and recipes. You have such an interesting life and past behind you. Thank you for sharing your fascinating life with us!

  13. Barbara, my fellow laborer in Christ! We must meet and talk!

    And Sharon, so great to connect with you! I am really looking forward to getting to know you better and learning more of all the wonderful soup recipes you have!

  14. Hey There! Just found you and subscribed right away... I must tell you i would go to your church for the food alone and i was raised Catholic!
    Thank you for the wonderful recipes.... Cant wait to get started!

  15. @anonymous, you would be very surprised how comfortable you would feel if you were to visit my church! Catholics welcomed! So happy to connect with you. :)

  16. Can you address the subject of food safety? Our church has a potluck every Sunday after the service. I often see pots or casserole dishes of food sitting on the counter, unrefrigerated, for as long as 2/12 - 3 hours. While going through the buffet, I've seen people using their fingers to get the last bit of food off the serving spoon. I've actually seen someone take a taste from the serving spoon and feeding a baby right from the serving pan! And these are smart, normal people. As an RN and someone who has gotten sick more than once after eating at our potluck, I'm really concerned. Of course I don't want make anyone feel badly.

    I talked to a restaurant inspector from the local health department and she's glad to come and give a food safety talk to the women's group, but I think that those who would most benefit from the talk wouldn't attend. Have you ever had to deal with this topic? Or does the fact that you make the food yourself take care of most of the problems?

  17. Hi, I saw your name on the list for the Food Blog Forum. I am going to and thought I would say hi. Look forward to meeting you!

  18. Hi, Anonymous! Sorry it took me so long to address your question about food safety. Since we make the food and serve it ourselves at IPC kitchen, thankfully, we don't have to worry about food safety issues. But I can certainly understand your concern; I was a surgical tech so I am very aware of how you think! IPC kitchen also voluntarily have the health department come and inspect our kitchen annually even though we are not required to do so, it's a good practice and accountability.

    I think it is a great idea for you to have the food inspector come and give a class on food safety. Hope your church ladies are receptive to the idea! If you have any further question, please don't hesitate to email me! :)

  19. I found your blog while doing a google search for church dinner ideas. You have a beautiful blog, lots of great photos and your recipes ALL sound great! I have used a few of your recipes (pumpkin spice cake and Lemon Ricotta Cookies) and they turned out perfectly. I recently started a blog to talk about the Wednesday meals and post recipes from meals we serve at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid City, SD. Thanks so much for your inspiring ideas.

  20. Just wanted to tell you something I'm sure you already know - you've been blessed with a beautiful family! May God continue to bless each of you greatly.

    1. Thank you so much for your visit, Joi with an "i". You have a beautiful family as well. Looking forward to getting to know you better! God bless you. :)

  21. Dear Kay, My mother turned 80 this year. She is a remarkable woman. She wants to come to Savannah as her birthday gift. I would like to bring her to visit IPC and have lunch on November 28th if that is possible. I hope we might get to meet you too. My mother is an excellent cook and I think she would enjoy very much seeing how you minister with food.

    Janet Siefert
    PS. This is my mother: http://pineknotfarmandlab.com/blog/2012/05/08/a-little-bit-less-than-five-weeks-to-eighty/

    1. Dear Janet, I think your mother Doris and I will have much to talk about over lunch! It would be my honor to have you and Doris at IPC! Would you email me thechurchcook@gmail.com and tell me some of her favorite food to eat and what dessert would she like? I would love to make it for her and make her visit to Savannah a little more special.