As 2018 has come to an end and 2019 is here and already rolling, I just wanted to take a moment to reflect over the past year. It's been so very crazy, scary and exciting to say the least. January was I rough month for me with work because my clients (Pittsburgh Steelers) were in the playoffs and my main client Ryan Shazier #50(family) was rehabbing from his incident in December during the Steelers vs Bengals game. Between running my services back and forth to the hospital daily and managing meals for Le'veon Bell #26, Joe Hayden #21(family), Mike Mitchell #23 and Alvin "Bud" Dupree #48 I was totally wiped out. I seemed to have coasted my way through to the end of February by the grace of God seriously. In the beginning of March I was feeling like I couldn't go on living and working like this. Though I loved being a private chef and creating new dishes I was tired of the hours and restrictions I worked under (Ryan has a highly specialized diet). I knew that I needed a change. I couldn't continue on like this. I was Ryan Shazier's private chef for just under four years. We'd become like family and I enjoyed him and his family yet, something in my spirit prepared me for a shift. I worked Monday through Friday and prepared four meals a day to the specifications of his specialized diet. I juiced, made organic lemonades, chips and even fruit rolls pulls. I was in a creative heaven for awhile. I learned a lot about myself and food. I worked with ingredients I never heard of before and had many failures during the process. Ryan was always so gracious yet I needed more. I felt like a caged bird. I need to spread my wings. something new, something fresh, something that wasn't this. Though the pay was amazing and I loved them, I knew that it was best for me to eventually part ways.
At the end of February Ryan asked to have a conversation with me and I knew that my time had past as his chef. Nothing negative on either end just that he was transitioning and little did he know so was I. It'd been my totally pleasure to see him evolve in the many staging of his life over the years and we had grown close like family. We talked and I totally understood his position and told him that if he'd have me back I'd love to come back and if not I couldn't be upset in the least bit because he exposed me to so much and gave me a chance when no one knew my name. March 16, 2018 was my last day as the chef in the Shazier household.
After that I vacationed and traveled quite a bit. I took my children ( son, nephew and goddaughter) on their first ever plane ride and trip to Universal Studios in Orlando Florida for four days . They had a blast. In April I hosted my first ever Chef's Trip to Chicago with two of my closest chef friends Chef Courtney ( New Jersey) and Chef Rosalind (San Diego). We did all the touristy things like going to the Willis (Sears) Tower, Shedd Aquarium and a place for deep dish pizza (it wasn't the best). The highlight of our trip was dinner at the Purple Pig. We dined there two nights in a row. The food is absolutely amazing. It's a must try if you're ever in Chicago. It's a tapas communal style restaurant with no reservations. You get in where you fit in. The food is amazing and it's affordable. The three of us dined on 10 sharable courses with beverages and the bill wasn't over $200. I mean I couldn't believe it. The second night we requested the same serve Adam. He was so chill and didn't rush our dining experience just to turn the table.The manager on duty even gave us a specialty champagne from France made of Pinot Noir (red grape). It's was unheard of and delicious. What made the night even more special was the fact that the staff signed the menus for us. That was just an awesome moment for me last year.
Sometime in April the beginning of OTA's I get a call from Joseph Cheeks and Jonathan Bostic (Former N.Y. Giant) on the same day for my Food Concierge Service. Within a week JJ Wilcox ( Former Cowboy) also reached out to me for service. So after living off of my savings for awhile I had income flowing again. Not as much as I was used to but I was back cooking doing what I love. Sadly, after working with JJ for a few weeks he was cut from the team and moved away. Little did I know that I'd made such an impression on him with my food that he'd want me to be his private chef. In June I flew to Fort Lauderdale for my first speaking engagement with Dynamic Personal Development I mean can you honestly believe it? Me? Speaking to young men about life adversities and the ability to overcome them. The thought of that is totally insane to me. From Fort Lauderdale I was flown to Tampa were I would be cooking for JJ weekly. If you had of asked me in March where I saw my business going I surely never would have said that I'd be catching two first class flights a week to any destination my client was at. Surely, not I. Yet, there I was flying from my first speaking engage to a clients home out of town. I was seriously in awe of it all. I mean I was concerned surely about my business and my ability to provide for my son because my savings had run out. My savings was about 30 thousand dollars. And no I don't live beyond my means at all. I live a modest life in all reality in comparison to what I could do. Yet, I had invested a lot of my savings into equipment, revamping and rebranding my business and a mobile application ( coming soon). I even had to ask my mother to borrow $700 because I overdraft my business account.
Man that was a low point for me this year. I prided myself on not asking my parents for anything especially money. For me it was a sign I had made it. Or so I thought. I couldn't believe I was in this place. No one talks about the pitfalls of entrepreneurship but they are so very real. So here I am this "celebrity chef" to some people and I don't have any funds in my business account. What's a girl to do at this point? Give up? Cry? Pray? First of all, I cried and prayed. You know that got me through prayer, hard work and a food consistent product. Business began to pick back up as training camp started. I gained back some of my clients Like Bud #48, Bostic #51 and Javon Hargrave #79 and lost others. It's apart of the business clients come and go. What's most important is establishing solid relationships. When training camp hits it hits hard. Now I am back busy weekly next with my Steelers and flying to New Jersey because JJ got signed with the N.Y. Jets.
October is the month I started to hit my stride. I have two Steeler clients and I gained a family of four. Things are going great. Even my client Chevywoods (Rapper) flies in town from L.A. and asks me to manage his diet while he's in town. All while flying in and out of town weekly for my NFL client too. November hits and it's time for rev up my thanksgiving dinner promotions. Everything goes off without any issues. I curated this dope menu. One prix fix and another a la carte with dessert options like bourbon sweet potato pie and sweet potato cheesecake. Still while maintaining all of my food concierge clients and travel schedule. The day before thanksgiving I made all my deliveries and got the chance to go home to Cleveland for the holiday with my son. It was so great to lounge, eat fellowship with my family especially since I don't get to see them often because of my business and work schedule.
Now December hits and it hits hard. I'm talking about sucker punch to the face twenty times. Ok maybe not twenty but most definitely a good dozen though, lol. I was off to the races literally. Working nonstop til Christmas. Each week I had my food concierge clients and JJ who's out of state along with holiday events every 3 to 4 days a part. I was beyond exhausted. I'm thankful for all the many transition that 2018 has brought me. It's 2019 already and I'm still amazing crazy busy. I couldn't thank God enough and you all for the support of my business during one of the biggest changes of my life.