We had the good fortune of connecting with Chef Tj and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chef, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My brother past away in December of 2018. I used my passion for cooking as therapy. It helped me get through a lot of tuff day’s. I was cooking so often that I told myself I wanted to do it full time and dedicate my business to Donald. So I did.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am the owner of Cooking From the 💚 Catering. The green heart represents Donald, my brother. I’m most proud about making it happen. I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan and a lot of people don’t make it out from there. Let alone own a business but God saw me through. The Chef’s CoLab helped me out a lot on the business side of things. Anything worth having is worth working for. I overcome most challenges by remembering my “why”. A large part of my why is Donald and how I want him to be proud of me and to have his son taken care of. He had a new born son just a few months prior to him passing. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is business is just that business keep the personal stuff out. I want the world to know that I’ve been cooking since I was a toddler. I put love in each and every dish I make. I love barbecuing and smoking foods. As far as for my story…. Storms don’t last always perseverance does. I love you Dee.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love adrenaline pumping things. So if my best friend came into town I would want to go sky diving. I also love the out doors and they have a place here called the Japanese Tea Garden. It is beautiful. They also have beautiful koi fish. Before covid hit I loved going to Sangria on the Burg. It’s an amazing restaurant with amazing drinks.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mother Crystal Parks. The Chefs Colab. God and my family. Also a big shout to all my brother’s and sisters who’ve been supporting me and pushing me to do this for years.
Cassie De los Santos