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Meet Erika Jones of Erika’s Lunch Hour in Gardena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chef Erika Jones.

Erika, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story started when I was 25 and working for different companies as a receptionist which was going nowhere. So at this time I was just coming out of transitional housing (I’m a former foster child) and I needed a career change but I wanted to do something that I loved and I can make my own schedule, so I decided to take my hobby as be foodie and go to culinary arts school. As I was in school, I got hired for a major Los Angeles catering company working with many highly skilled Chefs which helped me with my education and gave me real life hands on experience on how to conduct myself and how to carry myself as a chef. Working for that company and a few smaller companies really gave me a lot of wisdom and helped me set boundaries for myself that I still carry today. I wanted to cook to help bring families together, build awareness of healthy eating habits for the black and brown community especially and so that personally I’ll have a legacy for my children one day. Being a chef is not easy, there is a lot of competition out there but also, its my way to express my art and creativity. My food is my art and I want to help and do my part to inform and heal the world with my blessings.

Has it been a smooth road?
One of the biggest struggles is consistent clientele, sometimes you get your good seasons where you have money in the bank and in your pocket. But then you have your dry season when your bank account is empty and your pockets have a few dollars in them and you’re wondering how you’re going to pay your rent or get groceries for yourself. Which often times brings depression and doubts about your talent. Being a black chef who promotes healthy eating doesn’t get you a whole lot of business when you first start off so having a 9-5 and chasing your dream is really tough. You want to work for yourself full time and thrive but when rent is due a dream just can’t pay it.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My company is Erika‘s Lunch Hour and I promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyle. I specialize in custom meals for people who have diet restrictions (meal prep) But I also do catering, intimate dinners and personal chef services. I also just added cooking classes. One thing that sets me apart from different companies is that I come from a personable experience, I try to get to know my client as much as possible so that we can achieve their goal and keep them on the right track, I will also travel to the doctor with my client (nutritionist) to get full on details of your condition and write a meal plan best for the health benefits of you. I am proud that I am not perfect myself, that I still struggle with my eating habits but I do try to give advice as I’m living it and trying different things and foods and recipes so that we all can live long, happy & disease free.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is always a great place to start a business since our city is a melting pot of people. There is a lot of competition in Los Angeles, so you have to be a hustler. Put in the footwork and be tech savvy to get your business and your message across! Don’t be afraid to show your art! Be confident! The person you think that may not like your art may love it and may open doors for you that you would never imagine.

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