Meet The Urbaanite: Simoni Kigweba, A Nashville Chef

photo credit: Clark Brewer

Simoni Kigweba is a Nashville chef, offering intentional, in-home private chef services. He began as an intern at several Atlanta restaurants including The Lawrence and has continued to make tremendous leaps ever since. Nashville is lucky to now have him creating intimate experiences for small groups in the comfort of their homes. Learn a little about what he is creating here in Nashville. Plus, check the out the recipe he left for us to try.  

What brought you to Nashville?

I’ve been in Nashville since 2012. I kind of came to Nashville on a whim and the city has definitely taken off since I’ve been here. I helped a friend with some music merchandising for a bit, but what really drew me to Nashville was the food. I began cooking at a spot in 12 South called Burger Up. It was one of my first jaunts. After that, I progressed into other kitchens, including leading the creation of the menu for Stay Golden.

What inspired you to create your private chef services?

It kind of started as a creative outlet. My parents are from Burundi in East Africa, and culturally there is a very communal aspect to food. When I began cooking, I always knew I wanted a space to breathe that communal feeling into the dining experience. I first created a small supper club called Common Table, and that became an evolving concept that was a creative outlet for me. It eventually progressed to me receiving inquiries from guests who came to the club asking if I could come to their home kitchens. It became this side hustle that when I had time, I would say yes to a few of them, but I didn’t really think it could be a full-time thing until about 2016. I took the leap and went through all the essential steps of putting a business plan together. It has been really neat being able to control a narrative that merges both my creative and professional life.

Why do you feel Nashville was the perfect place to start Simoni Kigweba Private Chef Services?

I feel like the spirit of Nashville is moving toward the creative space. It’s rooted in this stereotypical southern culture, but there’s a space on the periphery where creative voices and people get to see a true reclamation of artistry and a true placement of your art and craft. Nashville is very diverse. I’ve run into so many chefs from so many different backgrounds just wanting to push food forward in a really holistic way. Some of my mentors have been really influential in helping me refine and create my own voice.

What is your favorite Nashville spot right now?

Richland Park Farmers Market, it’s a local spot with a range of food vendors and artisans. It’s some of the best food in Nashville, especially if you go on a Saturday. All the farmers and food trucks are really great. They have a few dope Mexican food trucks and there is this vegan Afro-soul food spot. There’s also an awesome biscuits and gravy spot. Recently, my wife and I were able to try gumbo, a crab cake, enchiladas and tacos at one of our recent market trips. It is definitely a place where you can grab breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at the same spot!

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