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Didn't you say you were a Chef?

January 14, 2018

 

 Very seldom do you hear people talk about their failures unless success is followed afterwards. Well I've had a few failures, and almost 2 decades in my industry, I've realized one thing. Your failures are actually lessons, and even though you might not end up achieving the goal you had in mind, you've managed to acquire something valuable.... a fortress of knowledge. You know what they say, knowledge is POWER


Raising a daughter in Harlem, NYC in the 80s I suppose was a challenge for my parents. All I can say is that they tried their best, but to a fault. My parents were the epitome of strictness. If you look up the word strict in the dictionary, there isn't a definition, it's just a picture of my mom and dad. Surprisingly in highschool, I managed to be extremely popular despite my parents never allowing me to go to any parties, requiring me to come home straight after school and making me stay home to study instead of hanging out with my friends. You could imagine why I decided to go to college 1,300 miles away in Miami, Florida.

 

 

Raising a daughter in Harlem, NYC in the 80s I suppose was a challenge for my parents. All I can say is that they tried their best, but to a fault. My parents were the epitome of strictness. If you look up the word strict in the dictionary, there isn't a definition, it's just a picture of my mom and dad. Surprisingly in highschool, I managed to be extremely popular despite my parents never allowing me to go to any parties, requiring me to come home straight after school and making me stay home to study instead of hanging out with my friends. You could imagine why I decided to go to college 1,300 miles away in Miami, Florida.

All the glitz and glam hanging around millionaires and A List celebrities starting to take away from the glitz and glam of getting good grades to maintain my college scholarship. Inevitably I lost my scholarship and the financial struggle that was already loosely wrapped around my neck started to strangle me. Instead of focussing on getting better grades, I buried myself in work, however the lines between work and just plain old nightlife fun became blurred. 

I remember it like it was yesterday, towards the end of my shift at Rumi, this photographer came up to me and asked if I wanted to model and explained that I could make a lot of money. Ashamed to say how naive I was, I immediately jumped on what turned out to be a legitimate offer. My life changed from that moment. I dropped out of college, quit my two jobs and started my short lived modeling career. My first jobs were second rate runway shows and fit modeling and the checks were fat. I freelanced modeled setting up a profiles on websites like model mayhem, going to every single casting call I can find while actively looking for an agency to represent me professionally.  

 

 

The modeling world was extreme. It was extremely wild, crazy and dangerous. I was able to travel the world to places like Dubai, Monaco and, St Barths and party like a rockstar. My circle of friends became dramatic gay stylists, shallow models, drugged out celebrities, arrogant playboy millionaires, and scheming club promoters. In the end, after repeated failed efforts to be represented by a top international modeling agency, it finally set into my head that my lifestyle wasn't sustainable. I had to strategically find my next move without having to totally give up my lifestyle. 

Because modeling majority of the time isn't a steady stream of income, I always maintained restaurant jobs on the side. With my hospitality experience and years of working in my family's restaurant there was only one thing I could do. The plan was to go to culinary school, start a fine dining catering business for the rich and elite of the Hamptons and Miami while offering a staff of beautiful models. Brilliant

 

 

 

 

I went to ICC formally called the French Culinary Institute in NYC. Culinary school, kitchen internships and working as a cook for a few years, barely prepared me at all for the amount of work and knowledge it was going to take to run my own catering company as a sole proprietor. I have to say that the amount of support for my new endeavor that I received from friends and acquaintances that I made throughout my modeling adventure was overwhelming. Soon word got out in Miami that you can have an amazing dinning experience in the comfort of your own home, with a classically trained chef, and a good looking staff. 

 

My company was called Dining Endeavors, and what started out to be catering became more of party throwing. I watched my concept turn into something else right before my eyes and it wasn't necessarily for the better. All the emphasized steered away from the culinary experience and focussed more on the hospitality side. I was so busy with R&D, buying, prepping, cooking, and preparing food cost reports that by the time it came to taking care of every one of my clients high detailed and sometimes unreasonable demands, I was burnt out. I needed a partner and search I did, and found I did not. 

 

I became overworked, depressed, bitter and threw in the towel. Even as I write this post, I don't look at the fact that my company didn't grow and that I decided that I couldn't push anymore to be a failure. Actually I feel reassured that the whole experience has taught me things that no school, online tutorial nor person could have taught me. The knowledge that I gained from owning my own business is the same that I am using to create my new project, The Flambé. Although I am not currently practicing as a professional chef, the time I haven't been in the kitchen has been time spent traveling the world seeing vineyards, distilleries, and new restaurants. 

I haven't had the best of luck getting to where I want to be in my career right now, but I have the tools to get me there. It may take a lifetime to do so, but I'm willing to leave this earth happy to know I kept on trying. 

 

 

 

 

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