Today we’d like to introduce you to Pyet DeSpain.
Hi Pyet, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My culinary career started six years ago while I was living in my hometown Kansas City, KS. I developed this passion for cooking and remembered really taking the time to make delicious and pretty plates. A few friends suggested I look into going to culinary school. At first, I shrugged it off and paid no mind to the comments. Until one day, I saw a commercial on TV for a local culinary school that was advertising for tours of the school. I called the number on the screen and by my luck, there was an opening the next day. I took the tour and immediately was really excited about the idea of going to culinary school. So, excited that I signed up for classes that day, I was to start in three weeks! During my experience in culinary school, I truly found myself, I found my passion and decided this was it for me. I am going to be a chef. After finishing the culinary program, I quickly started my private chef business. I still worked a full-time job in the car business and operated my business part-time. I thought, “I can do this anywhere. Where do I want to go?”. I ended up moving to LA in 2017 to pursue my wildest dreams of being a successful Private Chef. It has been a challenging three years of finding my footing here in a new city, but once I built that momentum I could not stop.
I’ve been grinding and hustling in LA for three years nonstop and have now made my mark as TOP 25 Private Chefs in LA. What really fuels me is my upbringing, my family, my native and Mexican culture, all the people that root for me back in Kansas City. Over the years of entrepreneur struggle, I’ve had to really dig deep to figure out my why, why did I choose this and what it is that I want to express to people with my work. At the end of the day, it came down to representation. I want to represent all the people back home supporting me. I would not be where I am today without my upbringing, without my people and their constant support. Yes, It took a lot of long days, late nights and a few kitchen fires but ultimately, I do this to show the other young Native American & Mexican American girls that they too can have a bright successful future and can follow their dreams no matter how big or crazy it may seem at first. There is so much more that I want to accomplish as a Native American & Mexican Chef. I want to create opportunity and be a positive representation of my people. I want to share my heritage and culture through my food.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Entrepreneurship is not for the weak. I’ve gone through all the struggles! Fear of not making rent, self-doubt, dry months with no jobs lined up with no money coming in. Being homeless for four months, sleeping on friends couches until I could figure out what the next move was. Not to mention Covid-19 shutting down all food businesses recently. I lost my job as a cooking class instructor at Sur La Table. It is hard to wake up everyday with a full tank of energy and optimism when you still feel beat down from the day before. I have to work 18 hour days prepping 200 meals then drive all over the place to deliver orders to clients just to make it, and I did it all alone too! I regret not being resourceful and not having the courage to ask for help, but we all learn through our mistakes. This journey has definitely made me a stronger person and has really shown me just how resilient and capable I truly am. I now am confident in myself and in my skill set as Chef. I no longer have imposter syndrome.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a Private Chef, I specialize in Indigenous Fusion Cuisine. I take both of my culture heritage and combined them together to create fusion dishes. I am most proud of the merchandise I recently launched. I sell traditional Native American berry sauce called Wojapi and these really fun shirts and hat. But mostly the Wojapi Sauce! It allows me to share my culture and creations with others that may not be able to hire me to cook Indigenous Fusion Food for them. I think what sets me apart from others is my ability to really be able to connect to people. I love learning about others as well as sharing my story with them. I think there is a true power that lies behind being open and accepting to others and wanting to share your light with them. All I’ve ever wanted to be is a true light for others to see that they too have the magic within themselves. I’ve found my light by finding my true calling and purpose which is feeding people and sharing my story and my culture through my food.
What makes you happy?
This is a tough question. There are two things that make me the happiest. #1 food! Of course, because you can learn so much about someone by the meal they cook for you. You can learn so much about a culture through their traditional dishes. I love every aspect about food, tasting, cooking, exploring ingredients and flavors, all of it. #2 The beach. I feel so happy when I’m on at the beach feeling the warm sun, playing good music and vibing. The ocean is so calming and peaceful yet so powerful. There is always so much life at the beach on a warm day.
- $12 Wojapi Sauce
- $30 Foodie T-shirts
- $30 Shef T Shirst
- $28 Foodie hats
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.pyetsplate.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chefpyet/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pyetsplate
Images by Mark Mendoza