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Life & Work with Mike Shand

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Shand.

Hi Mike, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’m a Private Chef, Nutritionist, and Restaurant Owner with locations in the U.S. and New Zealand. It all began on my family’s farm in Christchurch, New Zealand. I earned money by picking and harvesting the produce of the farm and in the evenings I’d avidly watch my Mum prepare dinner. I began my culinary training in the fine-dining scene in 1999 while simultaneously attending culinary university. In 2007 on Beyoncés “I Am” tour I was offered the position of Private Chef to Beyoncé. I have been personal to Beyoncé Carter and behind the scenes on everyone of her tours since that day. I’ve worked consistently in the culinary field for 21 years now. My clients Mr. and Mrs. Carter and past clients like Adele, Prince, the New Zealand Consulate. My flagship concept, “Love Baked Wings™” is located right here in LA on Melrose and Fuller.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a truly amazing road that’s led me to where I am now. By no means smooth sailing all the way, and certainly not without much obstacle navigation required. Cooking for months on end, changing cities and countries every other day, constantly cooking in foreign places, with foreign ingredients with both food labels and local help in foreign languages. Cooking anywhere from a make shift kitchen at a festival or stadium truck dock to the most pristine mansions around the world to the galley on a plane or boat and everything in between. The long periods away from home, the tour busses and hotel rooms, the time zones and need to operate at 100% all the time. None of which I would trade from anything in the world. I believe I’m now rather proficient in the art of sign language ingredients while shopping in international markets. The people I’ve met and cooked with along the way have been nothing short of soul enriching, the places I’ve seen have woken me up to both the disparity and beauty of the world. It’s really been a dream come true retrospectively and an opportunity for which I will remain eternally grateful.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As both chef operating at full speed all day and also a creative who’s job it is to create appealing meals to nourish extremely high performing individuals. The understanding that there is one shot at each meal, no second chances all the while housing the necessary humility to provide good service in sometimes trying conditions. Knowing when to go to the extreme with technique and when simplicity rules all.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
Growing up on the farm, I maintained a constant sense of curiosity and wonderment to the produce that we harvested. Most of my memories were of finding creative ways to make things on the farm exciting. I was inquisitive always and pretty high energy as a child leaving a farm to be the best possible place I could’ve grown up. I think my upbringing has left me with a desire to constantly be exploring the world in my immediate surroundings or venturing as far as possible in my time off.

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