Chef K Will Never Get Behind This One Kardashian-Loved Beverage

"There's too many steps."

black and white portrait of Chef K on a pink and purple ombré background with text that says "Doing Well"
(Image credit: Future)

There’s no right way to “do” wellness, but Marie Claire’s Doing Well offers a glimpse into the self-care mantras, therapies, and affirmations practiced by industry trailblazers.

Khristianne Uy, better known as Chef K, is a celebrated private chef best known for her longtime professional relationship with the Kardashians. As one can imagine, her job requires long days (16 hours is standard), creativity, and a deep dedication to nutrition. Finding balance is a constant challenge and lengthy wellness rituals don't make the cut. Instead, she integrates easy, centering habits.

"I like to start off the day with three good flowing things," she exclusively shares with Mare Claire. "One for the body, one for the mind, and one for spirit. So, I make sure that I take all the vitamins and chug my water, and I think about what I'm grateful for. I think: What's fortifying my day? What am I going to be grateful for today? It's so important to hold that little space for ourselves."

Her gratitude is grounded in her life experience. Born and raised in the Philippines, she's acutely aware of daily habits, like turning on the tap and getting clean water, that easily get taken for granted. "It's hard to process a different reality from what I've grown up with, culturally," she shares. "[Back home} you don't know what you'll get when you pour water. It's like a roulette. That batch of tap water could make you sick for weeks. But here [in Los Angeles], it's always clean water."

An appreciation for every aspect of life gives Chef K an impressive sense of balance. Ahead, she describes the mental and physical secrets to keeping her level-headed—no matter what the day throws at her.

The wellness trend I haven't tried yet but want to:

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Chef K holding out food to the camera

Chef K has dedicated her life to the culinary arts, and has learned quite a bit about wellness along the way.

(Image credit: Michael Kovac)

I'm pretty old school. I don't really go by trends unless I've experienced it myself or I've known someone who's gone through it. Only because, as a chef too, wellness and diet are most important to me. Remember the Atkins diet? That was the biggest wave and then, a few years later, everyone had high cholesterol or blood pressure. So it's a tricky thing. Don't get me wrong, part of me still thinks, "Oh, what is that? Let me try it." I'm exposed to so many things, especially with the family that I work for, that it's fun to try it. But am I invested in it? Do I have time for it? No.

A wellness practice you swear by that some might find "woo woo"

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I have a scepter. It's a super seven scepter and I just hold it in my pocket because I feel like my exposure to different entities in the world can really suck up my energy. Maybe it's a placebo effect and maybe not, but it keeps my fate going, in a sense. I'm also Catholic, so I'm like, "Should I hold this? Should I not?" But crystals are number one for me—I have them all over my house.

I've seen a lot of these Gen Z-ers say they can't go through their day without drawing an angel card. They're like, "Oh, I can't make a decision." They're much too dependent on that, which worries me, because it's like, "Dude, have a backbone a little bit."

No matter how hard you try, you just can't get into:

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Powders. Khloé had a collagen powder, and I had to figure out ways to use it. How do I warm up? Even with matcha, do I warm up a quarter cup of water to dilute this before I put it? There's too many steps.

A post shared by Chef Khristianne U

A photo posted by chefkla on

Your ideal wellness routine:

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I wake up, let the dogs out, make sure that they're all out. Then, after I take my vitamins the first thing I grab is this liquid collagen. It has saved my hair, my nails, and my acid reflux. I make myself a matcha.

I make sure I'm good with my liquids because chefs forget to eat a lot of the time. Sometimes, it's the 10th or 12th hour of working nonstop, and I'm like, "Why am I so dizzy?" The Spoiled Child collagen keeps me full, which makes sense because in the Philippines, we used to wake up and drink soup my mom made with beef knuckles. Now, we call it bone broth. That's been part of my routine my whole life. I have no time to heat up soup and drink gelatinous broth, so this is a great solution.

I never live the same day twice. We can't plan for mishaps, but on the days that I follow a self-care regimen and show up for myself, I feel good. I feel so bad when I don't wash my face, for instance. It's just a little act of care that I show to myself. Water is number one for me, too.

Low-brow feel-good hack:

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When you look at my Instagram, it's all dogs. Everything is dog, puppy, puppy, puppy, it's a Maltese world, poodle world, blah blah blah. All over the world, that's what I watch. I feel like dogs are just angels and they're really there to show you love. And that spikes up all my inspiration.

High-brow feel-good splurge:

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Collagen would be my high-brow splurge. I have tried many collagens that were just not working out before I discovered the one I use. Skincare and haircare are number one: I'm 42 and I'm real Asian, and what I mean that is my hair is so straight that it splits in half. I used to look like The Grudge. I've been really insecure about how thin my hair is and how fine it is. I gave collagen five weeks to work and I am telling you, it made a difference. Plus with my skin, being 42—and I do smoke cigarettes, though I don't drink—and getting only two or three hours of sleep as a chef, I want to look good. There is pressure with being around the clients that I have. I can't just look bad.

When you work in someone's home, it's so intimate, and they see everything. It's like you're under a microscope.

The best way to describe your wellness vibe:

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I'm a Libra at heart, so it's all about balance and that nothing is so linear, and I think that's a beauty of human nature. Everyone's just so unique and different. So for me, with my lifestyle, I don't have a lifestyle. With my occupational life, it's all about energy. When I am stepping into a huge event, I need to make sure that I'm fully there, because I feel like the food is always affected by it. So it starts off with the mirror and just feeling good.

Who you look to for advice:

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It's always mom. She gives really, really good advice, about handling life. Even when I lost my father, there was this strength that I found in her that kept me going. That was her best friend for 47 years—gone. So I was more worried about her, but she kept it strong. I've learned a lot from her. A lot. Humility is number one. She would always say, "Don't forget to always look back and remind yourself where you've come from or else you'll completely lose it in this big, big, big, big world."

The wellness apps we'd find on your phone:

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My steps app. I try to be active, so I make sure that my steps are in. And it's crazy, because sometimes in a kitchen, which is only like 400 or 600 square feet kitchen, I'll do 28,000 steps. And I'm like, No wonder I have cabin fever.

Chef K cooking outdoors

Chef K attends Camp Poosh in Thermal, California in April 2024.

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When you need to reset:

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When I know that it's going to be an intense day, I jump in the pool. Sometimes, when I've had a long day, you'll see a trail of clothes. The pool is a good cold plunge. Also holding my puppies.

Your current state of mind:

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I'm Catholic at heart, so I have this little shrine by my nightstand. I say a prayer. Prayer is my way of checking in on myself. It's for my mental clarity, to know the spirit support is there.

There are all of these products for big problem-solving, but it's like, what are we solving here? We're actually creating more problems.

Your mental health focus right now:

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Have you ever had a conversation with somebody, and it has nothing to do with you, but they're on a rant and you just don't know what to say? I take on so much energy throughout the day. As a private chef, you soak up all these energies that your body's not used to, like divorces, rehabs, all that stuff, and you witness it in the kitchen. Those are their most intimate moments, and how do you process that? You need to be strong for yourself.

My therapist advises me to do this one thing: When you're home, you need to not be Chef K. She says, "When you pull up to your garage, when you park your car, open up your glove compartment and take your chef's coat off and tuck it in there." So, when you enter your house, you're Khristianne. You keep the two separated.

When and where you feel the happiest:

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When I'm with my puppies. I have five puppies. Also, where mom is. Having one parent now really changed my perception in life. I have one and I'd better take great care of her.

A funny little wellness story about you:

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I was told the wrong position for my quartz crystal, so it was facing the wrong side of the house. When you enter, it should be southwest and it's supposed to be grabbing the energy, supposedly, from there. But instead, I was told, "Oh, put it on the floor in the center of your living room or your room." I did that and I felt like I drank a Red Bull.

A post shared by Vogue Philippines

A photo posted by voguephilippines on

Wellness advice you've received that...isn't great:

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There are a lot of skincare trends that people are promoting that I just don't do. My mom advises that Asian skincare is the best, and she used to get me papaya soap to scrub my face. We didn't believe in additives. I remember even deodorant looked like a rock. Now, I think a lot of things have been over-complicated and people are really missing the point. There are all of these products for big problem-solving, but it's like, what are we solving here? We're actually creating more problems.

The thing you'd tell your younger self about wellness

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Be preventative, before it's too late. When I give my team, most of whom are a decade or two decades younger than me, advice, they look at me like I'm an alien sometimes. But I'm like, "In 10 years, you're going to be like, 'Yeah, chef, you were right.'"

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, politics, culture, and fashion at Marie Claire and at publications including The New York Times, HuffPost Personal, Bustle, Alma, Muskrat Magazine, O'Bheal, and elsewhere. Her personal essay in The New York Times' Modern Love column kickstarted her professional writing career in 2018, and that piece has since been printed in the 2019 revised edition of the Modern Love book. Having studied history, international relations, and film, she has made films on politics and gender equity in addition to writing about cinema for Film Ireland, University College Cork, and on her personal blog, Before working with Marie Claire, Gabrielle worked in local government, higher education, and sales, and has resided in four countries and counting. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, and spent two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy.

Deeply political, she believes that skincare, haircare, and sexual wellness are central tenets to one's overall health and fights for them to be taken seriously, especially for people of color. She also loves studying makeup as a means of artistic expression, drawing on her experience as an artist in her analysis of beauty trends. She's based in New York City, where she can be found watching movies or running her art business when she isn't writing. Find her on Twitter at @GabrielleUlubay or on Instagram at @gabrielle.ulubay, or follow her art at