Lenore’s Kitchen Catering is an off-premise catering company founded by Lillia Key 23 years ago. Ms. Key started Lenore’s Kitchen by providing food and catering service for friends and family. As a child growing up in the Englewood community, Ms. Key watched her mother, grandmother, and great-aunts throw fabulous family parties. After absorbing everything she could about cooking and entertaining from them, Ms. Key found she had a forte for party foods and planning. While attending college those cooking skills were fine-tuned by cooking for her neighborhood every night and planning parties for her social club in major downtown hotels.
This led Ms. Key to step out on faith with her mother to City Colleges of Chicago and obtain City and State licenses for Sanitation and Proper food handling. The business was on its way. In two years the home based business reached so many milestones the business had to expand to their church’s commercial kitchen. This expansion also made a life-long desire come true by providing employment to residents of the Englewood Community. Ms. Key is the founder of the non-profit organization The Key Works Association, which offers culinary training and job placement services for under-privileged youth, ex-offenders and lower-income families.
Shortly after 2000, another dream became a reality, the company moved to its own facility. Lenore’s we open to the public serving not only soul food, but also love and respect. The demand for catering services continued, thus the decision to close the restaurant was made in July 2004. The facility is now strictly used for catering. Today Lenore’s Kitchen proudly serves a wide variety of clientele from corporations, government offices, schools, churches and more across the Chicagoland-Northwest Indiana area. Ms. Key is a member in good standing with the International Caterers Association, and is proud to do that “little extra” to make every event a success.