My love of all things food came at a young age while watching my late Grandmother Rosie in the kitchen. She would cook elaborate dinners for the family, and she made and sold desserts. She was well known for her cheesecakes. I didn’t go to culinary school until my early twenty’s. Life happened, and I dropped out. But the love and passion for food kept me going on my own.
Can you tell us about your brand? What service and products do you provide?
I always find it hard to talk about myself, so I am just going to dive in. I have two brands, Private Chef Tendai and Jerk Me Off. Private Chef Tendai is just that I provide various chef services for my clients. I pretty much do it all, intimate dinners for two, dinner parties, small fun events such as sip and paint, retirement parties, weddings, receptions, and the list goes on and on. Jerk Me Off is my newest business line. I have never been a big fan of jerk seasoning; it was something about it that I could not get into. Then I realized how popular it was and how hard it was to get in my area, so I decided to hit the lab (My kitchen) and invent my own rub. That was back in 2017, and I kept tweaking it until it got my stamp of approval. Fast Forward to the present, and Jerk Me Off Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and Jerk Sauce is born and available to purchase online.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
Creative Control, unlimited income potential, and the ability to share my gift with food to the world.
How many hats do you wear?
Whew, a lot! I make all the products I sell. I design all my advertisements. I do my own Branding, Scouting of new clients, and accounting. I recently welcomed a new business partner with the launch of Jerk Me Off. Her presence is already benefiting me. I am also the Head Chef of the Gamma Phi Beta Iowa City Chapter.
What is the most challenging aspect of your boss-journey, and what is the most rewarding aspect?
The most challenging aspect is building the courage to do something that may have a greater chance of failure than success. The most rewarding is customer feedback on their dining experience. With every dish or dessert I make, I try to create a unique dining experience....one plate at a time, and the joy that comes from happy and satisfied customers is priceless.
What is your favorite dish?
My favorite food to cook is Shrimp & Grits (I have various ways I make them). My favorite food to eat is Salmon Salad with my own Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. (So good)
What is your most requested dish?
Seafood Boils and lately Jerk Chicken Pizza.
Do you have any advice for people who want to become a private chef?
Work hard and educate yourself on the needs and trends in your area. Always be willing to learn because this is a fast and ever-changing industry. Devote at least 2-4 hours a day into your craft, work on recipes, and creating your own as well. Most importantly, take pride in what you serve, integrity is a must, and it goes a long way. Never expect someone to eat something you would not. Do it right, or do it over. Love what you do. In closing, remember your beginning doesn’t define your ending; you do!
My love of all things food came at a young age while watching my late Grandmother Rosie in the kitchen. She would cook elaborate dinners for the family, and she made and sold desserts. She was well known for her cheesecakes. I didn’t go to culinary school until my early twenty’s. Life happened, and I dropped out. But the love and passion for food kept me going on my own. For years and years, I researched, watched, and self-taught myself how to do any and everything I wanted to know and learn. I eventually went back to college, but not for culinary arts. I majored in Business. And went to work in corporate America. I became tired of the rat race because my passion for food was relentless, so I quit and jumped into the world of food full time. I started my own catering business, then a line cook, and finally Head Chef. I worked hard to make a name for myself; until the name Tendai automatically came up when the discussion turned to food. I took it a step further and started making custom cakes and treats. I will always be passionate about food and my second love, writing. For my next venture (Cookbook), the two will complement each other.