Behind The Chef: Food, Motherhood, & Hustle
I didn’t choose to become a private chef - it chose me. Sometimes, something unexpected happens and changes your life forever. For me, it was a client referral that got my whole business rolling. Being a private chef is rewarding in so many ways, but the best part is that I get to make a difference in my client’s lives. I get to give them back their time, so they can concentrate on the things they truly love.
I’ve always loved to cook. I spent most of my childhood at the heels of my grandmother, following her around the kitchen. As our family matriarch, she was the driving force behind everything. She kept the family together – and her cooking was perfection. Being her oldest granddaughter, she taught me everything she knew about food. As simple as it is, the thing I remember most fondly is scrambled eggs – the first thing I ever learned to make.
Somehow, it didn’t dawn on me that this was something I really wanted to do for a living until I was well into college. Even though I attended The Le Cordon Bleu program through Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, I wasn’t 100% certain that this was my path. After graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, I started working in a new restaurant here in the city and that’s when my creativity started to flow.
Savoy Restaurant and Lounge was a God-send. I was 19 when a became a mom, right at the start of my journey. When I turned 24 I started working at a restaurant called Savoy. I’m not going to lie – it was hard balancing work and motherhood. Restaurant hours can be straight-up crazy, but Savoy gave me a place to call home, and a place where I could advance my career (and, just fyi, I take full responsibility for their famous brunch – that was my thing!).
Earning respect as a woman in the kitchen was challenging, but I did it. I worked my way up from prep cook to kitchen manager within three years. It was amazing being able to prove myself in that way, and it gave me the confidence I’d need in the future to go out and start my own business. I thank God every day for the opportunity He gave me there.
Being a woman of faith influences my life in every way, from being a mother to running my business. I credit my relationship with God for my success, and I try to live the way He would want me to live. Sometimes, doing the right thing means losing out on a job – but that’s ok. I have to be mindful of the people I am connected with, and the environments I place myself in, whether it’s work related or not. Operating from a loving place - and valuing others’ beliefs and perspectives - is the only way to gain any true success in life.
I know that those values shine through when I’m working with my clients. I come from a place of love, and that reflects in my everyday life and my food. Every client relationship is based on mutual respect, and we value each other, completely. As a chef, I am so happy that I can help others live their best lives. Not only do I give them back their time, but I also help give them back their health.
Friends and family will tell you that today I spend most of my free time in the kitchen, just like I did with my grandma. It's what I love to do! It's where I plan meals, experiment and create. And just like my grandma, I don’t use recipes. I like to have fun, and I let my intuition guide me. For me, food is life. Food is memories. Food is tradition. Let me bring that back into your home.