Kenmore Kitchens is bursting with flavor with Buffalo’s first large scale ghost kitchen set up, and SZN had just joined in on the party. Alongside Caribbean Cuisine, Venus Greek, and Mediterranean, Jack’s, and Sticky Wangs, SZN moved into kitchen 25, and is making their way back to Buffalo to offer true fusion in some of the most comforting forms.
SZN is owned and operated by Head Chef Josey and wife Lena – Josey is a Buffalo native who moved to Atlanta when she was nine. Growing up in a kitchen with her family, seasoning was in her blood. After working in the tech field, and even coding for Apple when she was only 23, Josey loved the job that she was doing but knew it was not her. Coding can seem boring and still – and that is the exact opposite of what Chef Josey embodies. A larger than life personality, paired with out of the box concepts is what this chef is bringing to Buffalo.
“What you’re seeing me do is going for what I want to go for and doing what I want to do,” said Chef Josey. An envelope to push is what she needed, and the outlet for her was in the kitchen. “I have nieces and nephews who I am constantly telling ‘go for it’ and ‘be what you want to be,’ so when I talk to them in that way, that is how I have to be as well. That is what this is to me. Showing up everyday, being accountable for what you want.”
SZN opened in Atlanta, out of Josey and Lena’s apartment, in 2019. With so much encouragement, and oddly enough a chain letter on Facebook, Josey took a leap and landed on MasterChef on FOX.
“’You’re doing it,’ that’s just what I kept telling her. ‘You’re doing it…’” said Lena.
On the final day of admission for contestants, Josey entered. Covid brought a new spin to the show, however. The contestants had to present a dish that could sit at room temperature for three hours before tasting.
“This was a challenge for sure,” said Josey.
Without overthinking things, she headed to the fridge and put together a ‘SoulRitto,’ as if second nature, using homemade leftovers. That combination of mac and cheese, collard greens, and chicken, wound Josey on the show side-by-side with Gordon Ramsay.
Fast forward to today, Josey and Lena are preparing for the hard launch of SZN Buffalo out of Kenmore Kitchens. On the menu are some of the most creative and flavorful combinations you can think of. True munchie bliss, a foodie haven.
We were lucky enough to share an experience with Josey at Kenmore Kitchens, where she gave us a feel of what the menu is going to offer, and what she brings to the table. We were greeted with a delicious and not-too-sweet strawberry lemonade that set the tone for what was to come. It was cool, refreshing, and different – a perfect foray into SZN.
Josey then whipped up crab cake egg rolls that were absolutely filled with fresh crab meat. There was no filler of bread, but in replace were colorful and fresh peppers. These crispy rolls were served with a signature creole sauce and they were everything someone could want out of a crab cake, but in a hand held, crunchy roll.
We then rolled on (pun intended) into the 716 – a Buffalo chicken style egg roll with three imported cheeses. The staple flavors were all there. The buttery hot sauce, fresh grilled chicken, and creamy cheese blended together to bring it all home.
Touchy Feely was next in the experience, which is a ground turkey soft shell taco. The toppings were insanely bright and fresh. To conclude the experience? Fresh baked cinnamon rolls… in an egg roll. With creamed cheese frosting…. drooling just writing this.
Along with an extreme emphasis on fresh and flavor, SZN is a green business. The lemonade was served out of mason jars, rolls can be served in paper containers, and no utensils are needed for dining.
It is all fusion, all the time at SZN. From the birria pizza, to the lasagna egg rolls, not to mention the out of this world lemonade. Oh, by the way, the egg rolls are six inches long. Check out some of their menu offerings at www.sznbflo.com.
“Kenmore Kitchens offers a way for chefs like myself to make an impression,” Josey said. “This gives affordability, and gives us a chance to grow into ourselves.”
In the building, you can find a world full of flavor. Chef Craig at Caribbean Cuisine has a technique for the jerk chicken that makes the entire building smell beyond delicious. The rice and peas pack so much flavor, and there are so many vegetarian options to choose from as well. You can tell the passion that he has for his kitchen and cuisine. This Queens native brings true Caribbean flavor, and has plenty of tricks in the kitchen to make sure the flavor is authentic.
Along with passion, comes extreme comradery. We were originally there to experience Chef Josey and her SZN cuisine, but she took us through Kenmore Kitchens and shared the family she has made there. Concluding her long day of preparation for opening, and working with BFS that morning on a special delivery, Chef Josey sat alongside Chef Craig and ordered her dinner for the day a bit after 10 pm. “I’ve had his jerk chicken every day this week,” Josey said about one of Chef Craig’s signatures. “It speaks to my soul.”
We were also welcomed by Venus Mediterranean with their new Souvlaki bowl and signature Greek fries. The garlic sauce is what dreams are made of, but be careful with their homemade hot sauce! It brings the heat for sure.
These ghost kitchen set ups offer such a foot in the door for chefs like Craig and Josey. One day SZN may have a new home that is a brick and mortar all of their own, but until then they are holding it down in Kenmore, offering the best of what they do.