Updated: Jul 3, 2021
we sat down with chef dave, the neighborhood chef dealer...here's what he had to say
tell us your story...
“y’all have no idea who y’all got back here”
i always knew i was going to be famous. as a kid i played basketball, i always had a competitive spirit. but i was a class clown so my mama took me out of basketball. i graduated and still wasn’t famous, i was like damn. so i started working labor jobs through temp agencies and knew it wasn’t it.
i was never big on cooking, i could make oodles and noodles. but i always added something extra to give it a little more flavor. virginia college had a 9-month program, so i went. i was nonchalant, but i didn’t make less than a 95% on the cooking exams and one of the instructors told me i could make it on chopped off of my plating.
i worked at peppermoon catering after cooking school, then i worked at spare time - the bowling alley. I would have issues with my boss and i’d be thinking “y’all have no idea who y’all got back here”.
then my aunt informed me about a job opening at bennett college. the interview was to cook a chicken stir fry...i had never cooked a stir fry a day in my life, but i got the job working at the international station. i was cooking for nothing but women and it wasn’t sweet. they gave me hell, but i needed the criticism, it made me better. by my third year, i was basically cooking for the entire cafeteria.
one summer while i was still at bennett all i did was sell plates and returned to work just to struggle finacially. from that moment on i knew i would never feel like this again so i requested to either be given more money or fewer days--this was so i could sell plates. i started working at luxe while i was at bennett and that’s how i learned the hustle of food and cater to people in the club atmosphere. eventually, i quit luxe to pick up rekloosiv and chef dave full time.
i got used to quitting jobs to better myself and my business. we are often so nervous to quit our jobs because we are so dependent on it. this is me having faith in God, believing in myself, and putting the work in. i've only scratched the surface. i preach to people all the time, quit your job because we are made to feel like we need it. you can make the money you are making on your job, yourself. take the risk.
so dave, do you always want to sell plates?
definitely don’t always want to sell plates but my end goal is to have a talk show. chef dave is going to be a household name. the food industry is something that I will always be involved in, the black food mogul. i want to have my hands in everything and change the narrative, like, yeah i'm here with all my tats and chains on.
where do you find your inspiration for your meals?
i do a lot of stuff that i already know how to cook. instagram too, but i feel like everyone is beginning to make the same things. pinterest - they give you a lot of ideas and i’m into the art of food. i also get inspiration from other chefs as well. as a creative, you’ll see other creations and try to add your own twist to it.
when you’re not in the kitchen, what are you doing?
- going to eat and trying different restaurants.
- being adventurous.
i stay in my own space to keep my inner peace. i want to be knowledgeable about everything so i'm starting to read more. i really like to host events to make sure that people are having a good time.
when you aren’t cooking for everyone else what’s your go to meal?
i don’t really cook for myself like that, but i have started. i like neck bones and rice and mac and cheese. i really just enjoy the art of food. I really like to cook for the people.
fav eateries in gso:
golden wok- house rice
phoenix Asian cuisine
chicken and mac & cheese
but me being a chef, i like to try different things, with gso i always ride around looking for a new place.
how do you find balance?
i don’t want to say that it’s hard, cause it’s not. i’m used to it. people don’t realize i’m not always chef dave and like i said i’m by myself most of the time.
what’s one challenge that you continuously have to overcome?
not giving up, honestly - even when it wasn’t looking sweet. i didn’t always have the chef dave hype. people kinda looked at me like i’m the lil’ bro, but i had to show them i can bark too, cause i’m really like that. just don’t give up, the devil will try to throw different things at you to throw you off.
what resources did you use that could potentially be of help to another chasing their bag?
i didn’t learn from books or seminars. i learned from life, trial, and error and learning from the mistakes that i made. it’s a hustle that i turned into a business.
how did you gain the support and/or the social media following?
with the plates, i was just really busy and people saw my work ethic. the consistency of my plates that look and taste great. i got to the point where i had hype behind my plates. plus my instagram is very open, i entertain people. i visited denver at one point and people were asking me when i was coming back, it was crazy to see the city miss me. it got to the point where i stopped doing plate deliveries and just picked one location, posted it, and sold out.
when corona hit, i stopped doing plates and began working on my presentation. nobody was doing what i was doing with the food in greensboro.
but people really got to watch my come up, people came in at different times but they were there for the journey.
we’re professional about what we promote, we’re authentic and you can’t help but to love us.
i hit 10K followers during corona, and I ain't buy none.
a tip for someone chasing the bag:
you have to have confidence. without confidence, you can’t do nothing. people won’t believe in you if you don’t have it.
when you walk in the room, act like you belong there. believe it.
beware of people putting their fears on you. as long as you know you can do it, set out to do it and figure out how to get it done.
don’t get caught up in what’s going on around, it’s not your time yet. wait your time, be patient. it’s God’s timing, not yours.
embrace your journey. don’t look at problems like why me? look at them as what am I going to gain from this situation?
always have faith. know that you are going to take some Ls and those Ls are so important. they show you what you are made of. it shows you who gone stay down, how strong you are, your weaknesses, and how to bounce back.
take a break if you need to, but don’t stop . have fun with it, you only live once. whatever you wanna do, do it.
what do you want your legacy to be?
i want to be remembered as a good dude with a good heart that didn’t mind helping people. when i’m dead and gone, i want things around greensboro to still represent me. i want my lifestyle to inspire other people. my legacy is going to be that i lived my truth.