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Meet Andre Tan of Counter Space

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andre Tan.

Andre, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I saw myself as a creative for some time. From fine arts, photography, and Djing, I always had the need to explore new things and do cool stuff. Straight out of high school I thought I was going to end up being a graphic designer. I studied hard, met the right people, took the right classes, and produced some really good work.

After about three years into school, while doing any freelance work I could get at the time, I realized I wasn’t happy with what I was doing.. I couldn’t get myself to work on projects from my desk, and I dreaded having to stare at a computer all night. I was no longer motivated and felt unsatisfied after every project. Those three years in school and doing freelance design, I worked locally at various coffee shops. I loved it. I enjoyed serving people every day, giving people what they need and being there when they needed it most.

I realized there was just as much creativity in hospitality as there is in design. Therefore, working in hospitality kinda got me thinking what I’d rather be doing with my life. So I couldn’t settle for less and went to culinary school. I knew that I was getting myself into some crazy hard labor. It takes a lot being a cook. Especially when you know, it doesn’t pay well for a while, but that’s where passion for craft comes in. I studied at the Institute for Culinary Education at College of the Canyons.

Began working in kitchens around the area as a dishwasher, to prep, to line cook, then landing a job working at one of the best restaurants in the valley, Newhall Refinery. The Refinery was no joke, they all had a passion for what they were doing. They finessed the culinary game. It took a while, but after working there for a year, I learned the necessary skills needed to make it in this industry: craftsmanship, work ethic, and discipline.

Eventually, I had to leave; I needed to learn more. I went from working at a bakery for a few months learning how to bake, then worked at country clubs doing catering events and worked my way up to sous chef briefly. One thing leads to another, and I found myself today working with a great company called Locally Grown, a Los Angeles based company that caters for the motion picture industry.

In the beginning, my design professor always told me that “it wasn’t about the destination, it’s the adventure.” I kept that in mind throughout my career and really focused on constantly learning new things and staying true to my craft. In my cooking, I’ll do my best capture the best of ingredients create meals that are both nutritious and artfully pleasing.

I owe a lot of who I am today to the journey and the people who I’ve met on the way.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Being in the culinary scene, there’s a lot of sacrificing I had to do. I’ve missed holidays, family gatherings, birthdays, anniversaries, and plenty more. It’s cutthroat, I’m on my feet all the time, my back is messed up, and I constantly work long hours, late nights, and weekends.

It is in our nature as chefs to solve problems and move forward. The one thing I was told the most working at Newhall Refinery was “make it happen.” No matter the obstacle, you still got someone to feed. It takes practice, discipline, problem-solving, and a good work ethic. I love what I do and do what I love.

Counter Space – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Aside from working in motion picture catering, I’m currently building a personal brand called Counter Space. It includes all sorts of things. From being a personal chef for clients, meal preparations, small-scale catering, and hopefully sooner or later, bread baking service

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
In my eyes, success is making it in the world by doing what you love and loving what you do. In the end, once “work” stops feeling like “work” I’ll hit that success mark. I have ideas of opening up a shop counter that serves specially crafted sandwiches and toast maybe. The possibilities are endless. We’ll see what comes next.

Pricing:

  • Meal Preps ranges from $10-15 per meal

Contact Info:

  • Phone: 661.803.1834
  • Email: cntr.space@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @dretan

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