Kearney earned her toque at the Greater Cincinnati Culinary Arts Academy. Exactly one Mardi Gras celebration later, she left her home state of Ohio for New Orleans, where she was a fixture on the culinary scene ever since. In New Orleans, she worked at a number of restaurants, then settled in at Bistro at the Maison de Ville hotel under John Neal; in 1991, she followed Neal to Peristyle.
Kearney credits her stint as sous-chef there for the development of her classic French cooking techniques. The flair for the flavors of New Orleans evolved during her three years with Emeril Lagasse, where she got to do a bit of everything from cooking on the line and developing cookbook recipes to researching and writing Emeril’s TV show scripts. By the time Kearney returned to Peristyle as its chef and proprietor, shortly after Neal died, she had clearly taken it up a notch.
In 2004, Kearney sold Peristyle and moved back to Ohio. She and her husband Tom are working on Two Small Tomatoes, an all-natural organic garden.