Born in Puerto Rico, and raised on Charlotte’s east side, Ken’s deep cultural roots provide a unique culinary backdrop for his classical french training. He started his career at just 18 years old at Zebra (formerly in Southpark), where he progressed from pantry, to Sous Chef over the course of 5 years. Recognizing his need for culinary exploration, he traveled through Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Spain before landing in Chicago at the world renowned Alinea, and then Terzo Piano located in the Art Institute of Chicago. These experiences fueled interest in a blended fine art & dining experience. In 2015 Ken returned to the Carolinas, as Executive Chef at Napa on Providence, which he ran until early 2020.
Executive Chef Ken Aponte brings his extensive experience to the culinary arts studio at ALCHEMY at C3Lab. This expansion adds a contemporary, vegetarian focused Restaurant, Art Gallery, and Gathering Common to C3Lab’s already established Creative Coworking facility. Ken’s global influence, and diverse experience have prepared him for the culinary challenge offered by ALCHEMY’s health-conscious, plant-forward approach. Ingredients are sourced from local businesses such as Tega Hills Farm, Chapel Hill Creamery and Salem Hills Farm. All pasta and bread are made in-house.