#AHLOTB: Kale cookin’ up success in California

By Ryan Holt | AHL On The Beat Archive


Any good cook will tell you that the key to any dish is the right ingredients, prepared the right way, and presented perfectly. There are so many points in the process where the dish could fall apart, but when everything comes together, the final product is delicious.


Away from the rink in Condorstown, it is Chef Kale who is cookin’ up the winning dishes on and off the ice. Starting away from the rink, third-year winger Kale Kessy has drawn rave reviews from his abilities in the kitchen…or should we say BBQ?


“I like to grill especially,” he said. “My girlfriend is in town now so we’re always grilling at home, because I don’t like to eat out too much. Out here, the weather is great so we like to grill out by the pool – you can’t beat that – getting some sun and grilling with everyone.”


Kessy, who is one of 12 Condors featured in an upcoming “Cookin’ with the Condors” Cookbook to benefit charity, has his own special recipe that he knows fans will enjoy.


“It’s a ribs recipe from home,” the Saskatchewan-native said. “My mom always makes it when I go back home for the summer, because it’s my favorite food. It’s certainly time consuming, but the ribs are great and it’s not too difficult.”


It didn’t always come naturally for the hulking winger who moved away from home at a young age to pursue his dream of playing the game of hockey.


“I moved away from home when I was 12 and played my minor hockey in Medicine Hat,” said Kessy. “Moving away at a young age, you kind of just learn to fend for yourself. If you can read, you can cook.”


On the ice, “Chef Kale” is just one of the many ingredients to a Condors team looking to serve up a dish of playoff hockey.


“This is the most exciting time of the year,” he said. “It makes it even more exciting that we’re battling for a playoff spot and every game is important. We have a really good group of guys here in Bakersfield. We have the players to get there, we just need to stick with the process and stay focused.”


Known for his physical play, penalty killing, and ability to change a game with a big hit, the 23-year-old is having his best season to date with seven goals and 12 points to go along with a +5 rating. After an injury cut last season short, the physical winger is enjoying this season.


“It’s been an awesome experience here in Bakersfield. There are really loyal fans who support us each and every night. It’s fun to come to the rink and compete.”


Most recently, Kessy has been on the “grind line” with winger Luke Gazdic (now up with Edmonton) and center Josh Currie.


“(Gazdic) going up is great for him and it’s good to see,” said Kessy. “I’ve enjoyed playing with him and Currie, because they’re two guys who work hard and keep it simple. That’s our role. If the points come, that’s awesome, but we’re there to limit mistakes and keep the momentum going for the team. There are plenty of skill guys on the team who can take care of the scoring.”


And much like cooking up a winning dish in the sunny, postcard-esque surroundings in Condorstown, “Chef Kale” knows that the preparation and attention to detail will be what gets the Condors to the postseason.


“We have to focus mentally every night and every shift. You never know what might happen and we have to be ready for anything down the stretch.”


Sounds like a recipe for success!