"I definitely got my work ethic from my parents," he said. "Both my parents are nonstop workers, and my father will never retire. I mean, he'll just always work. My dad is the president and CEO of a medical company, and my mom's just traveling, living."
As far as cooking, the chef said, his grandmother picked up the slack left by his parents.
"My grandmother was my biggest influence as far as cooking," Kaysen said. "I mean, I still have the rolling pin that we used to make cookies with every Christmas. I started baking cookies with her when I was 7. I asked for an Easy-Bake Oven when I was 7 as well. Of course, I never had the patience to watch the brownie cook, so I would just eat the raw dough. You know how long it takes to cook with that light bulb -- it's terrible!
"So she was my biggest supporter though; I mean, we used to make sun-buckles and all of these cookies when we were kids. It's a Norwegian cookie, it's like a sugar cookie, but it's a certain shape. And I remember we never had enough space on the table, so we would make the cookies on her ironing board. We'd break out the ironing board and put a cloth on it and make cookies."
Kaysen and his wife, Linda, who will have been married five years in August, have a 10-month old son, Emile.
"My wife is my No. 1 fan and my No.1 critic, so it's perfect," Kaysen said. "We met in Switzerland -- she's from Sweden. And when I lived in Switzerland, I worked five doubles a week and then I had two days off every week and we would travel. We'd go to Italy or somewhere in France or somewhere in Switzerland or wherever. And then we moved to London, and I worked six doubles and I just had Sunday off, so I would sleep. I would start at 7 a.m. -- I would leave the house at 7 a.m. and I'd get home at 2 o'clock in the morning. So I never had breakfast with my wife until we moved to America, which was like three years into our relationship.
"So when I worked in San Diego, I'd start work at noon, so we could have breakfast together, so it was like a dream: Now we could have breakfast together. And we still breakfast together, which is great. Now we just trade off, because one's got to hold the baby and feed him and then one's eating breakfast and one's taking a shower and it's crazy. But she's fantastic. She's an amazing supporter."
Kaysen said an air of unreality still hangs over the idea of being a celebrated chef.
"I don't recognize my status at all. I don't even think about it," he said. "When I do events and people say they know me, I don't even -- I can't concept what they're saying at all, cause I'm the same way. I'll go to an event and I'll see somebody like David Meyers from L.A. or I'll see Paul Bartolotta or somebody and I'll be like, 'Oh man! Look at that.' Or I'll see Jean-Paul Shea and I get so starstruck by it. And then Jean-Paul Shea will walk up to me and say, 'Oh, Gavin, good to see you.' I'm like what?! You know my name. I don't understand. I have no concept of what it means because you know what the reality is -- I don't really go out that much. I don't get out enough to really understand it."
In the end, Kaysen said, celebrity doesn't count for much.