Kris Komori’s Success – A Change of Path


If there is one thing that has always been consistent in Kris Komori’s life, it is change. Originally, Komori dreamed of doing audio engineering in college, but when he joined the College of Idaho, he developed an interest in Biology. He later did an internship at Boise’s Veterans Affairs Medical Centre and sat for the MCATs in anticipation of joining medical school. It wasn’t long before he started to develop another interest. While he was in college, Komori started working at the Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant and became quite passionate about cooking. After graduating from the College of Idaho in 2005, Komori decided that the best path for him to take was culinary school rather than medical school. Surprisingly the only cooking skills Komori had when he made this decision was melting cheese, but he knew that cooking is what he wanted to focus on and was determined to make it work.

Komori relocated to Boise when the love of his life, Allyson, joined Boise’s Veteran Affairs for her medical school residency. It was while he was working at the Sweet Valley Organics farmers markets that he heard word that a new restaurant was setting up shop in town. Inspired by the idea of joining the new startup, Komori grabbed his resume and rode his bike to the restaurant’s location. Remi McManus and Jay Henry were remodeling the property when Komori stepped in. The three had a tet-a-tet over a bottle of beer, and the following day, Komori was laying down the carpet. A couple of weeks later, Komori and Henry prepared a meal for a small dinner gathering, and it was clear that the team was destined to do great things together. As Henry recollects, he had a fantastic time with Komori when they first cooked together. They had a pleasant, deep conversation and also joked and laughed a lot, and the experience taught him everything he needed to know about Komori.

In the winter of 2014, Kris Komori was nominated for the James Beard Best Chef in the Northwest award and made it to the semi-finals. In the following year, he was nominated by Food and Magazine for the People’s Best New Chef award. In 2016, Kris Komori was yet again nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award alongside a fellow State & Lemp chef. The James Beard Award is the highest honor in the culinary world and is like the Oscar Awards for chefs. Komori attributes his culinary success to the State & Lemp’s specialized menu, which allows him and his team to try out different culinary experiments and creatively control the menu of fresh produce. State & Lemp’s five-course evening menu comprised a wild currant with Hagerman golden trout, cured on wild herbs, Crème Fraiche, Vollkornbrot, and green peach. Since Komori had become accustomed to change in his life, State & Lemp was a great place for him. The restaurant allowed him to change the menu continually and provided the much-needed change that defines much of his life. According to Komori, although sometimes he experiences challenges creatively, it is part of the joy of finally creating something that people genuinely love and doesn’t see himself working in any other industry.