Today we’d like to introduce you to Dominique Dright.
Dominique, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I always enjoyed cooking from an early age, I was always eager to learn. My mom worked long hours so a lot of our bonding time was spent in the kitchen, salon, or MALL lol. I remember us waking early to get started on holiday meals. So the interest was always there.
I had been working at LAX Airport for The Department of Homeland Security for about six years when I got fired, I had some decisions to make. Was I going to go out and get another job or was I going to go after a career? What did I actually WANT to do? I was scared honestly, I had bills and no real source of income after losing my job. I thought about going back to school to get my degree in Communications, then I thought about all of my friends who were up to their neck in student loan debt with jobs unrelated to their field of study.
After exploring multiple culinary programs, I decided on Le Cordon Bleu of Los Angeles, which was actually located in Pasadena. I was 26 at the time I started school, needless to say I was focused and ready to take school seriously, I was not there to play! I had the honor of studying under some great Chef Instructors and meeting fellow classmates who loved to cook just as much as I did. Throughout the process people dropped like flies but I stayed the course, I graduated with honors in 2015, ten years after my high school graduation.
Now I had the challenges of the real world ahead of me, what would my next move be? At the time, I was still working at my Externship position which I hated. Prior to culinary school, I had no real kitchen experience, Externship’s are in place to help us adapt. I realized early on that I was not going to be in a restaurant for too much longer, it just wasn’t for me. The amazing thing is there are so many lanes in the culinary world, you just have to find yours & what works best for you.
I ended up landing a live-in chef position with an ex-Wall Street tycoon as my first real job, don’t ask me how I did it lol. He had a home in Malibu as well as Silverlake, after building a working relationship he then brought me onboard to his company as Chief Chef, Convalo Health consisted of a set of rehabilitation centers along the west coast. This was a huge milestone for me, I was very grateful for the opportunity, I essentially became a house manager/live-in chef for the client.
Of course, all good things come to an end, things ran their course with that situation & I was back to square one. This is when I started focusing on Private Chef bookings (MY FAV BTW). From there, I started getting into Meal Prep due to working with a large number of athletes. Catering also has a special place in my heart, I enjoy providing meals for special occasions, not only for the sentimental value but for the word of mouth. You will get nonstop bookings when your food speaks for itself. I’m still in the beginning stages of my journey, my only goal at the moment is to LEARN & GROW so my next steps are guided by experience, no matter where I land I’m proud of myself for taking a chance on my dreams.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My biggest struggles come from dealing with the business side of things, as a creator all we want to do is create. I can’t stress the importance of staying on top of your bookkeeping, taxes, receipts, & all paperwork.
Another major struggle is finding reliable help, nobody will execute for your business like you will but finding help is a major key. You can do a lot but you can’t do everything alone…build a solid team of people you can trust.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Cook+Nique Culinary Services story. Tell us more about the business.
My specialty would be Cajun/Creole cuisine, my family roots are based in Louisiana, so I naturally gravitate to those flavor profiles. But that is not what I am limited to, I am classically French trained due to school however I also have a lot of Pan Asian influences in my cooking…
I travel quite often also so I’m able to pull from those experiences and apply them to your culinary experience with me. I’ve been to multiple islands in the Caribbean, Spain, Amsterdam, London, Greece & Italy to name a few.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’m not sure if I necessarily believe in “Luck”… I do believe in Karma. Be a good person, put out into the world what you would like to receive. Whenever I give wholeheartedly, I always get back MORE.
Also, understand that it’s not always rainbows and sunshine you will go through some storms…
- Website: Chefdomod.com
- Phone: 3104268583
- Email: Chefdomod@gmail.com
Dominique Dright, Brandy Allen