Cooking up a passion – Q&A interview with chef Shanice Parris

Shanice Parris is a former corporate city girl who turned private chef when she found fulfilment in her career when she took the plunge to pursue a career in the culinary arts. She sat down and opened up in an interview about her journey to creating a livelihood from cooking with purpose.

What was your career background before you decided to become a private chef?

Straight from school I went to culinary school for three years to do my chef training. Then, I went on to spend a few years working in Michelin star restaurants and then I also started specialising in gluten free cooking for a while.

After that, I went into the corporate world for a little bit working office jobs which to be honest wasn’t ever a good match for me because I’m really creative. It was then that led me to think about what I would really love to do, what would be the perfect job for me. I realised that I really missed the creative side of being a chef and cooking in general so that’s why I designed my career going back into the chef world but in a different way by working in people’s homes. That’s how I came around to where I am now. 

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What made you want to change careers?

I was quite keen to move out of the corporate part of my career and I really wanted to do something I was passionate about and that I loved getting up for each day. I wanted to feel like I was doing work that was purposeful and enjoyable. I’ve always loved cooking, I got into when I was about 13 so it was like getting back to my roots.

When I was 13, I began cooking at home for my family fell in love with it and so started to want to learn more and more about food and creating delicious recipes. I would spend a lot of time reading cook books and magazines and started entering cooking competitions in my teens. My passion for cooking grew from there.

What was the career transition like? 

I think because I’ve had a couple of career transitions in my life so far I didn’t find it too much of a challenge. Also because I was moving into something that felt much more aligned with who I am and much more exciting. I found the transition to be a smooth one.

What has been the most challenging part of your journey?

It takes going through many jobs and careers to find what really suits you. That can take time and effort, it’s all about listening to your gut on what feels right and what doesn’t.

Can you tell us about your work now as a private chef now?

I offer a very bespoke private chef service to my clients, going to their home and cooking for them. This involves creating menus that are custom tailored to their exact needs. That will vary depending on my clients. A lot of my focus is on food for well being and really nourishing food that makes people feel good.

Do you feel you’ve now found purpose in your work now as a private chef?

Definitely. I come away from each day of work with a real sense of purpose and just really enjoying what I’m doing each day. It’s nice to see I’m making an impact on people’s lives because what we eat and the food we enjoy each day is a big part of our lives really. When we eat well, we feel good so it’s really nice to help my clients to enjoy that.

What is your favourite part of your job now?

There are so many things I love about my job, I love that I get to be creative every day. It’s a real big part of something I enjoy is bringing things to life, coming up with new ideas and dishes and testing new recipes and making an impact on people in a positive way.

What personal change within yourself have you seen working as a private chef?

When you wake up everyday and go and do something you enjoy that gives you energy than drains your energy it then has a huge [positive] impact on all areas of your life. 

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