Pairing the unique flavors of Africa with the abundance of the Yakima Valley


"Food brings people together on many different levels. It's nourishment for the soul and body; it's truly love."
-Giada De Laurentis

The Lion Chef Gilbert Kalombo brings a unique culinary point of view to the Pacific Northwest, drawing inspiration from his roots in Zambia. Chef Gilbert blends traditional African ingredients and spices with the bounty of the Yakima Valley, creating a fusion that celebrates the rich cultural tapestry of the continent of Africa.

Chef Gilbert began cooking at the age of seven in Kasama, the Northern Province of Zambia where he was born. As a child, his father Leo taught him how to select the freshest produce and fish from the local open-air market. Leo mentored him in cooking in the kitchen and grilling on an open flame, in a time when cooking was just for women. After his father died at the age of 12, Gilbert was preparing daily meals for a family of seven. After graduating high school, Chef Gilbert started a wholesale bakery selling bread baked in a wood-fired brick oven he and his partner built. 

In recent years, Chef Gilbert has honed his skills through catering, part ownership of three restaurants, and a members-only dining club. With a steady hand, calm presence, and over 30-years of experience as an accountant, Gilbert has led teams and run kitchens since 2017.

The Lion Chef recently launched his business in 2023 offering private dinners, catering, and Cook Like an African culinary classes. When not in the kitchen, Chef Gilbert enjoys working out, listening to reggae music and Spanish guitar, and spending time with his three children and beautiful wife Beth. He is passionate about raising up leaders across the continent of Africa and has served as the National Director of the US board of Capital Christian Ministries International since 2001.

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WEdding catering

Let The Lion Chef team take care of the details and create a memorable experience with food on your wedding day!

We provide custom, curated experiences for couples looking for a unique experience with food on their wedding day. Food can be served in small bites, family-style, plated, or buffet. Menus can be coursed experiences or even traditional African dishes eaten by hand. We can also travel and cook on-location. A wedding is a statement and a memorable part of a couple’s love story that is passed through the generations. As a caterer, it is a privilege to become part of someone’s story even for a day!


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Bringing the traditional styles of African cuisine by showcasing the abundance of the Yakima Valley.

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