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Meet Nikki Karamooz of Nikki’s Table in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Karamooz.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nikki. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and went to the prestigious fashion school The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and worked long hours in the fashion world for six years as a stylist and a marketing consultant. Not fully satisfied with my career, I decided to change directions. Later, I transitioned into commercial real estate and worked the American 9-5 dream for another two years. Depressed, overworked and unfulfilled, I knew there was something bigger that I had to fulfill. I could feel there was something in me deeper that wanted to be expressed. I started asking myself, “what could I do to use my creative energy?” Then I realized every time I wanted to stir my attention away from work, I found myself cooking. Remembering my inner child as a little girl and always sitting in the kitchen with my dad while he made such delectable foods. THAT is what made me happy. Food and the way it made others feel. So, I discovered my dream of being a chef and decided to do whatever it took to learn the ins and outs of the industry, but this required me to move out of my comfort zone.

One day I woke up and decided it was time to let go of my fear and step into the role I desired. I trusted in myself like never before and became the newest and best version of myself. For five years, I participated and collaborated with all different chefs in Los Angeles and slowly worked under high profile chefs in the culinary world and earned my way up in the kitchen while simultaneously attending The New School of Cooking in Culver City. Later, my first official restaurant position as Chef de Partie was at the world-renown 5-star restaurant Crustacean, an extension of the restaurant Dat Lat Rose which was debuted to honor Chef An’s success. This was one of my greatest accomplishments to be a part of a team of 12 chefs in a high pace kitchen environment in Beverly Hills.  The sky was the limit.

I began to make a name for myself in the celebrity chef world. Once I gained more confidence with my experience, my creativity started to flow. I was inspired to use my dads knowledge and expertise in cooking, so I fused modern American style cuisine with Persian flavored dishes. I became more confident and motivated each day. Soon after, I created a seamless meal drop off delivery service with a plant-based and regular menu options for working individuals that wanted a convenient way to eat healthily. More and more people were hearing about the food I was creating and started to order. Next thing I knew I had an overwhelming amount of clients.  My dream was slowly becoming my reality.

Great, 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 definitely not been a smooth road, I’ve encountered numerous obstacles during my journey. Growing up into a traditional Iranian family was definitely not easy to begin with. You were expected to become a doctor, lawyer or dentist, but I went against the norm and pursued a dream that was difficult to attain and wasn’t valued highly.

I took on the challenge and worked long hours on my feet, without understanding the dangerous consequences of a constant state of high stress and high expectation in a male-dominated world, this meant that I had to always work three times as hard in order to get seen or even be recognized for opportunities but I wouldn’t change any of the struggles I endured because it’s made me who I am and has made me so much stronger.

I waited so long to trust myself. It’s hard to give up everything you know. A steady paycheck, someone keeping you accountable, and letting someone else take all the risk. Throughout my journey, I wanted to prove to everyone especially my family, that if you have a dream and this one life to live, why live it for someone else? If your 9-5 is killing you, today is all you have, so go for it and don’t wait years and years like I did.

For a while, I doubted If I could make enough money to support my newfound dream. I went through a process of deep transformation and understanding my limiting beliefs. It was incredibly hard to imagine a way of leaving my old lifestyle which included a promised paycheck but as hard as it has been, I wake up every day with purpose and gratitude and wouldn’t change any of it.

Please tell us about Nikki’s Table.
At Nikki’s Table, we offer a variety of services. I truly enjoy experimenting with different flavors in the kitchen and now prepare a wide variety of foods, while still capturing the essence of the Middle East. I strive to prepare my food with the utmost of quality ingredients, using only organic and maintaining a healthy menu. Others describe my cooking as comforting, rich, and unique. Not only do I value food for its taste, but also for its presentation; therefore, my meals are displayed with an artistic touch.

From group to private cooking classes, I like to show others that cooking can be easy with simple techniques I learned myself. Being mostly self-taught using a more simplistic approach for home cooks to learn.

We also offer meal drop off services for families that are always on the go that would like to eat healthily and need convenient meals to heat up during the week.

Whether it’s a private dinner or you need a chef to make nourishing meals for you in the privacy of your own kitchen. We come prepared with uniquely designed menus, grocery shopping done in advance and a team of professionals to make sure you have everything you need when it comes to food for you and your guests.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory as a child was being around my family and seeing them cook all day long in the kitchen. Dinner was such a big part of our household. I remember just sitting by the stove and tasting anything and everything straight off the pan and having a big smile on my face constantly.

One distinctive memory I have was in elementary school I would open my lunch box and have a home-cooked meal my mom made for me because the smell of the spices would stand out compared to the turkey sandwiches or Lunchables others would have. I felt different but at the same time, felt lucky to have such diverse meals and be able to share them with the other kids around me. Giving back through food even as a grown up still gives me that same feeling I had when I was a child.

Pricing:

  • Cooking classes starting at $100 per session (group & private classes)
  • Meal drop off services starting at $200 per week  (family meals)
  • In-Home Private Chef Services starting at $400 per day plus cost of food (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Natalie Baidi Photography

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