As I have been making this move to be a personal chef, people often ask me what I did before and why being a personal chef was the right change for me. There's no real quick answer and thought I would share a little more about my story.
I worked for 20+ years in the tech industry. My first love was programming when I wrote my first line of code at age 12. I knew creating/using software was for me. I have had an incredible career working in everything from IT to consulting to sales to management for companies of all sizes. The profession is a demanding one, and often your time isn't always yours with project deadlines, sales, and customers running applications 24x7 365 days a year.
As I learned I needed to find ways to take breaks from the computer screen, I found that I gravitated toward my second love: cooking. Additionally, I learned that I needed to find ways to make sure I was eating well. Working from home, traveling 4-5 days a week, being with customers the rest of the time didn't really leave me much time to do more than salads and turkey sandwiches or worse yet, order out many days a week.
I leveraged the skills I learned growing up around cooking, knowing where your food comes from, and that to keep you on track to plan meals a few days to a week at a time.
I started out life on a farm in IL. My family was very connected to the land, and we pretty much grew everything we ate (I still thank my Mom for my love of all vegetables to the vast garden she would plant each year). My Mom would put together three meals a day for my family and extended family working on the farm. That takes a lot of planning and requires some help! I learned to bake especially pastries from her to help use the apples from our trees.
When I got older, I joined 4-H, where I learned to do more cooking than baking. The excitement of making something and taking it to the county fair to share was always the best part of the summer. Later, I would live in 4-H House in college where we did the cooking for all meals ourselves. Cooking for 40+ people was a real learning experience!
As I grew in my career, I started putting together plans for what I wanted to eat each week or just when I had busy weeks at work. I learned that I really enjoyed not only the cooking but the planning and prepping. It is so easy to get into that rut of having the same thing week after week. Pulling in recipes that I'd made even back in high school/college was fun to do. Then, hitting the local farmer's markets and local butchers to get the freshest produce and protein to use in the dishes made everything just click. Things even got more interesting as I started my garden!
I decided to expand my cooking skills by going to culinary school at Kendall College. I loved my time at Kendall not only because I was able to fix a lot of the things I was doing wrong and learn the basics to new cuisines, but it gave me time to start thinking about cooking and food as more than just a hobby. By the time I was done with the program, I had decided that sharing my skills and enjoyment about cooking/meals with others as a personal chef was more than just a hobby but was becoming my passion.
It took me a few years to make the transition from my first love of technology to food, but it has been an incredible journey. Helping others struggling with similar issues of not having enough time or not knowing how to cook yet wanting something healthy and homemade confirms that becoming a personal chef has been the right move for me.