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Meet Kenon Prevo: A Birmingham Culinary Artist at his Best

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Kenon Prevo was born and raised on the north side Birmingham in a single-parent household with three older sisters. (PROVIDED PHOTO)

By Nicole S. Daniel

The Birmingham Times

Becoming a culinary artist with his own food catering business in Birmingham did not come as a surprise to 26-year-old Kenon Prevo, who grew up in the Magic City and was raised in a family environment full of cooks and bakers.

For family gatherings, Prevo would always look forward to his favorite desert: red velvet cake baked by his aunt, Mary Hall.

“I’ve always loved food. I can eat a whole lot,” said Prevo, who now shares his love of food with others through his catering events, where guests are always greeted with a warm smile, confidence, and delicious foods.

“I specialized in finer cuisine and the upscale side of the food industry. I’m all about presentations, flavors, and textures,” said Prevo, who is known to host large events for realtors, lawyers, and business owners, as well as for intimate gatherings.

One of his top-selling dishes is Soul Food Egg Rolls.

“It’s a whole meal in an egg roll. It has sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, fried chicken, and my honey hot sauce to dip it in,” he said, adding that all of his sauces are specially made from scratch.

Prevo also caters date nights.

“We cook on site, do wine pairing, and play music to create the ultimate experience for the couple,” he said.

Prevo always dresses in his signature red, slim-fitted chef coat, or in a T-shirt emblazoned with his logo (an animated photo of him with the word “Chef Prevo”) or his tagline “Pre Cooked It” to promote his catering company.

A Family That Eats Together

Prevo was born and raised on the north side Birmingham and lived with both parents but would always visit his dad’s side of the family in Louisiana and Texas.

His upbringing gave him the best of both culinary worlds—his travels to Louisiana allowed him to experience Cajun-style food and his trips to Texas exposed him to Hispanic food, and in Birmingham he always looked forward to his mother’s hamburger steak with homemade gravy, as well as her sausage and rice.

“I’m a big rice person. I’ll eat almost anything with rice. The whole house would just eat rice,” said Prevo, who said one of his favorite meals was fried bologna and rice.

“My mom, [Deborah], would always prepare large meals for the entire family,” he recalled. “My uncle would cook at times, too, and my auntie always did the desserts.”

In Texas, with his dad, he had his “very first experience with what they call an authentic taco.”

“That was pretty cool because I never really thought of an authentic taco. I knew of Taco Bell, and that’s the realest I thought tacos could be,” Prevo added. “Being able to travel as much as I did was really cool for me because I got to experience different cultures in different places.”

At around the age of 13, Prevo became interested in preparing his own meals. “I started by watching my mother and just asking questions: … ‘Why are you using that seasoning?,’ ‘What are you cooking on that temperature?,’ ‘Why is that important?,’ How can I create that flavor?,’” he said.

One of his favorite mom-cooked meals was a spaghetti dish with macaroni noodles: “It was extra cheesy [and], even though it looked like spaghetti, the mac noodles gave it a totally different taste,” he said.

Prevo soon experimented on his own. “One day, I went into the kitchen and experimented with fried bologna. I put it in the skillet and fried it, of course, but I seasoned it up like I was really doing something just to add a little more flavor.”

Prevo received so many great compliments from family members that he was encouraged to try more with preparing food. After graduating from Huffman High School in 2014, Prevo enrolled at Jefferson State Community College, where majored in art—not culinary, but with an eye toward fashion design. “I used to make and sell bow ties before I got deep into cooking food,” he said.

The Start of Something New

Whether it’s with food or fashion, Prevo has always set himself apart. His clothing style, for instance, was preppy and casual. “I always liked to dress different,” he said. “I tried to wear different shoes everybody didn’t wear. My style was outgoing and expressive.”

Though Prevo wasn’t a fan of suits, he would wear button-up shirts that he layered with a tie.

“I used to make bow ties with different materials—for example, ostrich skin. It wasn’t your typical self-tie or a bow tie with the clips on the back; I used Velcro to be different. It was easy to install, easy to wear for those that couldn’t tie a tie and wanted something quick,” he said, adding that he sold bow ties and matching handkerchiefs for about $25.

Despite his knack for fashion, Prevo found that his art classes weren’t a challenge: “I’m more of a hands-on person, and I wanted to do something that would make me faster money than bow ties did.”

So Prevo went to his advisor and enrolled in a culinary program. “That’s when I realized there was so much more to [culinary arts] than just eating food. [It] opened my eyes to the culinary industry as far as cooking, [learning] new techniques and recipes, and working with flavors and sauces,” he said.

As Prevo prepared to graduate with bachelor’s degree in food service and hospitality management in 2020, he promoted himself on social media and by selling small desserts.

“I sold chocolate chip cookies, strawberry brownies, and cupcakes,” he said. “I sold them three-for-five-dollars or buy-one-get-one-free just to get my name out there before launching my business.”

Passion for Quality

In his culinary career, Prevo takes his work seriously. “Everything is done professionally,” he said. “I mean business, and I’m serious about my art. I don’t want to be looked at as a caterer. I want them to see a chef. There’s a difference between a cook, caterer, and a chef.”

That passion and professionalism have helped Prevo gain a clientele that includes the likes of hip-hop artist Armani Caesar, celebrity stylist Ryan Christopher, singer K. Michelle, and “Love and Hip-Hop” star Shay Johnson.

One of Prevo’s goals is to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Birmingham. “Although I’ll have a location open, I still plan to be a traveling chef and do private catering,” he said.

At some point, Prevo would like to launch his own cooking show, as well. “I don’t want to be your typical stand-in-front-of-the-camera-showing-recipes [host], I want to incorporate entertainment and special guests,” he said.

To learn more about Chef Prevo or to book him to cater your next event, email him at Prevobusinessbookings@gmail.com or follow him on Instagram @chefprevo.

Updated at 8:14 a.m. on 12/13/2022 to clarify where he was raised.