MORE THAN JUST A CHEF
A WOMAN'S JOURNEY
My story is filled with moments of back-to-back success, but also moments of intense difficulties that often made it tempting to quit all together. No matter what I've endured on my journey as a chef and business owner, my faith has consistently provided the resources and people I needed. I share my story from a perspective of showing others that anyone can fulfill their purpose in the midst of challenges and obstacles.
Born and raised in Brooklyn New York, my first memory of cooking was with my Grandmother and Dad at the age of 9. I also remember my mother always making really great pies and cakes during family celebrations.
I come from a long line of family members who served in the United States Military; most of them enlisted in the Marines. At age 18 I enlisted into the US Army as a Food Specialist and eventually stationed in Germany. There I was exposed kitchen management, food service, and cooking food for large quantities of people daily.
I studied Hospitality Management & Tourism and also graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with a degree in Culinary Arts. After graduating culinary school I took my chef bag began to aggressively pursue personal and private chef jobs.
Outside of working for myself I gained a solid foundation in international cuisine working part time at Universal Studios. After some time working in the kitchen the realization came that I was more passionate about interacting with guests, than being behind the line.
A Chef’s Low Point
I was homeless in 2005 and lost momentum with my business and attempted suicide from overall frustration. My previous marriage, clients and business fell apart and I was in a season of instability. I later wrote about it in my spiritual memoir, Lily In The Valley published in 2007.
From 2007-2010 I was not able to run my catering business due to being homeless and moving from place to place. After remarrying in 2010 the road to rebuilding Wishful Concepts Catering began around 2011, when I was inspired to focus on my passion for culinary arts full-time.
The Road To Rebuilding
After sacrificing with my husband Matthew we secured a commercial kitchen and consultation space for clients in 2014. Despite not having all the money, we were eventually able to build an entire commercial kitchen debt free through patience and persistence.
We Wanted To Be Different
My husband and I wanted to build a catering company that created an opportunity for clients to have a “one-stop shopping experience”. We wanted an atmosphere that allowed clients to work directly with a chef and also communicate with my husband, who could structure their creative ideas and assist with executing them.
We’ve catered events at various luxurious indoor and outdoor venue locations throughout Florida. Wishful Concepts Catering has won TheKnot’s prestigious award, “The Best of Weddings” for 5 consecutive years straight since 2013.
Where to next
2017- and beyond
I Competed on The Food Network’s hit show Cooks Vs. Cons
I used to always tell my mom, “one day you will see me on television” and in August of 2017 I achieved my dream. It was definitely an amazing experience to meet Chef Carla Hall, Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and food author and tv host Daphne Oz! I stepped out…applied and was chosen from among thousands to compete on the show.
Returning To My Culinary Roots
Having spent years in the wedding catering industry, my desire is to focus more on utilizing food to tell stories and connect people together. I have a huge passion to merge what I learned in culinary school and bridge my love for cultural cuisines.
WHAT'S YOUR STORY?
I want to recognize some great people who have helped contribute to my professional growth as a chef and business owner. My husband Matthew (and his mom & dad), my mother for her continued support, Lavoria Buckley, Joe & Amy Rogan, Kisha & Ari Thomas and Michelle from ARTCevents. These individuals have consistently taken time to invest, support and pray me through tough times!