My passion for cooking began at a very young age. It was not instilled in me by my mother or family; most of them don’t like to cook. It began with watching cooking shows. I fell in love with chefs like Emeril Lagasse & Alton Brown. Their passion for food fueled mine, and over the course of two decades that passion has never waned.
As with so many people, I strayed from my true calling. I, like so many others, did not think I could make a successful career out of what I loved. I went down a couple different paths before deciding I had to pursue my passion. I knew if I didn’t, I would regret it for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to be one of those people who regret what they could have changed.
My professional cooking career started over 12 years ago. I began as a private chef for a family friend and later cooked in a small diner. During some of this time, I was taking classes at the local community college and trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I was still not convinced I could make a living as a chef. I applied to and was accepted into a culinary program but decided not to go, twice. My doubts still plagued me. I knew I needed a way to support myself and since my family has had a long history of Military service, I decided to follow in their footsteps and joined the Air Force. After a bit of time in the service, my duty station changed and I was assigned to, of all places, the dining hall on my new base. I was back cooking and my passion was still the same as it had been when I was a child. I remained a cook for the rest of my military service. When I got out, I returned to my home town and went back to school, not for culinary arts though. I still thought I needed something that was going to be a more secure career than being a chef. I finished school and was looking for a job, in my career field, when I finally realized that the only thing I could see myself doing, for the rest of my life, was cooking. I applied to, and was accepted at The Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, New York.
While in New York, I worked for a prominent New York City restaurant but found I didn’t feel passionate about the job. I loved what I had done so many years before, and I just wanted to be a private chef and caterer again. So I left New York and came back to the Washington D.C. area and started my own company. It was the best decision I could have made. I, after a decade, am finally doing what I love and am enjoying life like never before.
My business has expanded beyond my wildest dreams and I now offer a gourmet meal delivery service as well as catering services. All of this has happened in less than a year, and I can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store for my company.
Chef CeCe Cooper