Gabrielle Kennedy
Gabrielle (FD name Disco Panther) has been working with First Descents since 2014. Her culinary career was sparked by a zeal for nutrition and healthy eating when she began reading about the topic over a decade ago. A co-founder of Malcolm Fontier Accessories (now Pakt Bags), she decided to leave her job in the fashion industry in 2012 and enroll at the Natural Gourmet Institute — the world’s only accredited health-supportive culinary school. She started out as a personal chef and freelance caterer in New York City, catering large and small parties, teaching culinary education and building programs and menus. She has volunteered for the Food Bank of New York and the James Beard House, where she worked with some of the world’s most famous chefs, assisting on elaborate meals in the New York City kitchen.
More recently she has shifted her focus to cooking for the greater good, where she has been a culinary influencer and educator for First DescentsCape Wellness Collaborative and The Mercy Ships. Her culinary journey has led her to kitchens all over the world, from cooking for 500 people aboard a hospital ship to cooking for cancer and other life-altering illnesses.
Gabrielle is passionate about using seasonal, locally sourced, organic ingredients. Her love for plant based cuisine propels her mission: to make vegetables the star of the show without sacrificing flavor or elegance. She considers herself a vegetable-forward chef, having traveled the world to learn about rustic food preparation in different cultures.
Currently, she is a freelance chef and educator, focusing her skills and passion on working with non-profit organizations to strengthen human rights initiatives. Gabrille has a breadth of skills in her apron, but her diverse interests (chef education, non-profit kitchens, emergency relief cheffing, urban farming work, recipe testing/developing, travel cheffing) all have a commonality — humanitarianism, purpose and helping communities.