Can you accomplish anything you want to do?
For me, it’s a resounding yes! I want to share with you how I fulfilled my dreams. Life is such an adventure and can be full of surprises. After working in software development for fifteen years, I did not recognize my true calling until about a decade ago. When I asked myself what career I would choose if I had complete freedom in the decision, my immediate answer was to be a a personal chef. However, for a while, I dismissed the thought as a whim. I often laughed myself silly when I brought up this idea to others, as I was unconvinced that I could actually follow through with this dream.
Nonetheless, this spark of an idea grew brighter and stronger over time. As a self-taught chef, I began cooking as much as possible everyday. Whenever I had time at home, I would plan menus in my head. I then cooked elaborate meals on a daily basis for the simple reason that I enjoyed cooking regardless of how much work it required.
Fast forward several years later, I quitted my job and started a personal chef business. The rest is history. During the early days of my business, I started a supper club and cooked themed-based dinners. My guests enjoyed a carefully designed multi-course dinner for a nominal fee. I found every dinner very meaningful, as the guests would be able to connect with each other through their love for food. I greatly enjoyed the satisfaction of cooking for others. The menus were often inspired by my cultural roots, such as festive, traditional Taiwanese food or my favorite childhood dishes from other cultural cuisines.
Unfortunately, I realized that the supper club format was not financially sustainable. The amount of time I invested in a project resulted in earnings that only covered the cost of the ingredients. During my second year into this quest, I earned the opportunity to continue my pursuit by working with Kitchen Surfing , an online personal chef marketplace. This connection allowed me to cook for dozens of dinner parties in the latter half of 2014. As I acquired more skills and further enhanced my menu options, my private party chef services and cooking class grew steadily. I was hired to cook for housewarming, graduation, or birthday parties; team building events; and casual family get-togethers on a regular basis.
Given my non-American cultural background, I now offer a wide range of menu options inspired by the places I visited around the world. I haven taken advantage of studying local ingredients and cuisines among the 29 countries I have explored. For instance, I planned in advanced to attend immersive cooking cooking classes in Spain, Mexico, Peru and Thailand. Consequently, my ideas may be inspired by a rural fishing village in Greece, a fancy dinner at a luxury Peruvian resort and street food in Thailand. These experiences incite my creativity.
Sometimes, my clients would ask me to create dishes based on their fondest food memories or the memorable places they have lived in in the past. I put together their memories like puzzle pieces and help my client share these memories with their loved ones at intimate gatherings.
The cooking gigs continue to come my way via word of mouth and requests from my website. After several years, I no longer have to actively seek for customers. I now have the luxury to devote my efforts to developing new menus and perfecting the dishes.
Cooking for a special occasion requires many moving parts. First, I design a menu for my customers based on their dietary preferences and desired theme. Afterwards, I prepare both a shopping list and a packing list that includes the required cookware that my client does not own. On the day of the event, I cook live at a client’s home. By then, I have already mentally rehearse the flow multiple times days before the occasion so I can cook in a timely fashion. The additional details, such as menu and label preparations as well as the plating arrangements, come naturally to me since I have been in the business for many years. In order to ensure perfect delivery, I plan all of the details in advanced.
Cooking tasty food for my clients as they celebrate special occasions is very gratifying to me. My client can relax and enjoy their time with their guests rather than worry about cooking. At times, they have invited me to have a glass of wine after I completed my work. My clients are very supportive of my endeavors, and I have a million reasons to thank them for trusting me to cook for their big days. Finally, I want to thank you for reading my story and wish you luck for following your dreams!