I started my journey in the private chef sector back in May of 2015. At the time an associate of mine was moonlighting as a private chef for Jarvis Jones. A former linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And I say moonlighting because in retrospect she & I had no damn idea what the hell me were doing. Just to be honest. Looking at that era being a private chef was common in and especially being a black one.
Chile talking about breaking the internet. With instagram being a new thing you began to see black "chefs" pop up from everywhere. Such inspiring times. Back to the story. I got a call asking me if a wanted to work evenings. Mind you I was a single mother and working the most ideal job ever at that time. I worked for a company called Guckenheimer. Its a food service contractor for corporate institutions like banks, factories and other establishments that operate Monday through Friday from 5am-4pm. I worked from 6:00am to 2:30pm. No weekends and no holidays ever, how perfect! So to receive this call was odd and slightly off putting. Because why in the hell would I want to do more work?
Nevertheless, I listened to her proposal and I decided to give it shot. What did I have to lose? My job? Not even, at worst I would never go back to the client and life would continue on per usual. Little did I know my world was about to change. So, this was the setup. I was to charge $125 a day and cook only dinner and get reimbursement for all the groceries and supplies purchased. I thought to myself this isn't bad I'm making a lot less in a day at work and I'm working half the time. I told her to set it up.
I can't recall if she had Jarvis connect with my client or she reached out to him. Little did I know my first ever private chef client would be Pro Bowler & Linebacker Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers in his rookie year. I had to google him, lol. I lived in Steeler country for years but was never a fan. I was completely out of the loop and not impressed to be honest. He was a rookie and an unknown name of names to me in regards to being a Steeler.
I get a voicemail the following day as I'm leaving work and surely enough it called to setup a meeting to go over his dietary restrictions at the time. We connected and I began work shortly after. I was hired without any resume, credentials or crazy vetting. Trust this was all new for everyone involved. As being a private chef was a very white space for white people. You never saw black people with money for private chefs hiring or having them.
A few days later I came and cooked for Ryan. I sealed the deal with Ryan the first day just be cooking from the heart. I made a very basic meal. Citrus Honey Glazed Chicken, Broccoli and Red Skinned Mashed Potatoes. From there I kept showing up.