Chefs Without Restaurants

Sobriety and Starting a Baking Business - Louis Remolde The Single Baker

December 13, 2021 Chris Spear Season 2 Episode 122
Chefs Without Restaurants
Sobriety and Starting a Baking Business - Louis Remolde The Single Baker
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode, we're joined by Louis Remolde, otherwise known as The Single Baker. Louis is someone who's worked in the food and beverage industry in Philadelphia, PA since he was 14 years old. At the age of 39, he decided to get sober, and eventually started his own baking business, as well as a personal training business.

Louis talks about his path in the industry, and how he came to start his business. You'll learn about how he landed cooking spots on local tv stations, and eventually a spot on a Food Network tv show. He also talks about his upcoming book on food and sex.

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Louis Remolde

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Louis's Instagram
Louis's Recipes

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Chris Spear:

Welcome to Chefs Without Restaurants. I'm your host Chris spear. On the show. I've conversations with culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who took a different route. Their caterers, research chefs, personal chefs, cookbook authors, food truckers, farmers, cottage bakers, and all sorts of culinary renegades. I fall into the personal chef category as I started my own personal chef business perfect little bites 11 years ago. And while I started working in kitchens in the early 90s, I've literally never worked in a restaurant unless you count Burger King or Boston Market. Happy Tuesday, everyone. I hope you're off to a great start. So today I have Louis Remolde. Lewis goes by the name the single Baker on Instagram. He's someone who I've been following for about a year now, I think I first saw his work after I had Monica glass on my show. She's also a pastry chef in Philadelphia, like Louis. So I've been watching his stuff for a while now. And we've been talking back and forth. And I really wanted to have him on the show. Right now Louis is working as a baker and as a personal trainer. But so much of his story revolves around sobriety and getting sober at the age of 39. He's someone who came up through the food industry, you know, starting at the age of 14, and then living the, you know, traditional restaurant lifestyle, partying a little too hard. And just by the time he was 39, decided that things had to change, he wanted to stop drinking, he wanted to focus on his health. And, you know, he was able to do that. So a lot of our conversation revolves around that. But then I want to know how he got into baking, you know, he wasn't trained as a baker or pastry chef, he just had a lot of years experience in the food and beverage industry. So he discussed this path of how he came up through the restaurant industry, and then transitioned into starting his own businesses. We also touch a little bit on staging, because he took a couple of stages to really learn how to start his own bakery business. So you know, we do get into that I know, that's something that a lot of you listeners have done, or maybe as an employer had people stash for you. And it's something that a lot of us have strong feelings about. And for those of you interested in getting on TV, he was on a Food Network show as well as doing a lot of cooking bits on his local news. So I asked him how he got into that, because I think that's something that a lot of people want to know, you know, how do you get on either local TV and like, how do you get on the Food Network? So we're talking about that, and then he has a book that's going to be coming out next year about food and sex. So stick around, and the show will be coming right up after a word from this week's sponsor. Did you know restaurants turnover employees four times faster than most businesses? What if somebody created an affordable and effective hiring solution for the restaurant industry? What if there were a job site that only focused on people looking for food service jobs? What if that site only cost $50 A year to advertise for every job your restaurant needed? Forget the big corporate sites like indeed and monster. Our sponsor savory jobs has a job site exclusively for restaurants. The best part is savory jobs, only two are just $50 for an entire year, and you can post all the jobs you want. And for our loyal listeners use the code savory 10 and get 10% off, that's s a Vory. One zero. So you go to savory jobs.com and discover the job site shaking up the industry. And remember to use savory 10 for 10% off. And now on with the show, thanks so much and have a great week,

Louis Remolde:

I decided at 39 that I wasn't happy with the way my life was going, and the way that I was aging and the way that I was handling myself. And I decided I needed to get sober. First and foremost, I needed that was the one thing that was holding me back from everything. So I worked on that, and I got sober. And then I cleaned up my act with food and with the way I was eating the way I was preparing food. And that really changed everything. And then I kind of just like went into, I fell into fitness. So that's what I do as well. So I'm a home Baker, I'm also a fitness instructor, a certified fitness instructor. And there's kind of two don't seem like they will go hand in hand. But they actually they work really well, connection wise, it's great. So I kind of fell into them around 2014 2015 and had been doing those two things for a while now, which has been a great way of just staying busy and staying active. But yeah, so I 39 I decided that, you know, you could keep talking and complaining could have would have should have stopped or you can change everything and see what's the worst that's gonna happen, you know, you can't get any worse than it was because you were drinking and you were having a great time eating and partying. But that has to stop and you have to learn how to enjoy it and reset.

Chris Spear:

That was at 39 Yeah, 39,

Unknown:

I decided before it turned 40 that I would make all these changes because I wasn't happy anymore. And it was, it was a lot of things, you know, but one of the major things that really contributed was alcohol abuse, and in this industry that we're in, you know, it's there, it's but so many chefs right now are sober. And that's amazing. It's really amazing. It's inspiring. And I love the fact that there's so many chefs in Philadelphia that are sober, conscious, and that aren't there. They have families, and they have these small businesses and they can't lose it all over a night of partying anymore. And it's just, it's tiring.

Chris Spear:

It is as I get older, I don't have the tolerance for that anymore. Like, and I've started drinking, you say started drinking less. Two years ago or so just because I wanted to feel better. And now if I like I have one beer, and it's just like, wow, like I have a headache the next day from having one beer and it's like, wow, I used to be able to have like five of these and be okay, yeah, you know, but as leaving that out, you're like, oh, this really is poison. Like,

Unknown:

for me, personally, I it's gonna be eight years. And I just can't because I have so much going on. That I can't be I have to be on point. So I can't even think about starting or doing it and it's just doesn't interest me anymore. You know, when you lose interest of something that you thought you love to do, and it's just like, ah, yeah, I did it. You know, I can't complain about that.

Chris Spear:

Well, I think this is great. We jumped right into it. We're already rolling here. But let me back up a little bit. Okay, so how long have you been in the food industry? It sounds like you were already in the food industry before you got into the home baking and yeah, so when did you start the food? Your food journey?

Unknown:

My food journey like as in the industry? I started at 14 and I'm 46 so that a long time. So I worked at in high school, I worked at a very famous cheese steak place Delta Sandro's. Do you know Dell Sandra's? I do one Henry on Henry Avenue. So I work there all through high school. I was a hoagie maker. I was horrible at my job and was, you know, a school kid. So but that showed me a lot. And that was amazing. Cuz that was an all family run business before they sold it and stuff like that. And at the same time, I was working there and I was working at my friend had her family had a bagel shop in IV ridge, and I was working Sundays and Saturdays there. So I had been in the business already, like jaded by 16. You know, 14 1516 by 16. I was like on the protests, and I just knew then that's what I like. I was good at it. I knew how to make money. And I knew how to turn on the personality when I needed to. And then I, I did the college thing, you know, studied art study fashion was great. I got what I needed out of it. And then, you know, again, you have the restaurant businesses fall back on, I always worked in the restaurants. And then I worked my real like, dive into like an actual restaurant with a bar and bartending, which I did for years, too. I was 19. And my, I needed a job. And a friend of mine was like, Oh, we're hiring at this Mexican restaurant on Main Street, Casa mexicana. She's like, it's not really that busy. But you'll make money. And literally, I showed up, she showed me where the chips and salsa where she showed me how to make the two different kinds of margaritas up and on the rocks, right? And then like a strawberry margarita. And then she said, I'll be back, I have to run some errands go to the bank has not left me there. And literally, I got so slammed, and it was just me o'clock. And that was it. And so basically, she came back around like four and she was and I was ready to like, you know, kill her. But at the same time, it threw me right in the weeds. And it was great, because it just, it opened the door for me. And that was something that I did for ever. Then Derrick Davis opened up Sonoma. And that was just a really big eye opener for me, because that was a different world completely. It was high end, it was brand new, it was nothing like, had been like that before in Philadelphia. I know you're probably too young. But he was like one of the first places in Philadelphia to have a vaca bar like a full vaca bar. And it was the same time that like there was no internet. There was nothing like that going on. So dating was very in like social dating. So you would go to Sonoma on Wednesday nights and say like Finlandia would host it. And then all these singles would show up. or years ago, the museum used to have a I think a Friday night singles mixer and like things like that were happening because there was no internet. So we didn't have swipe left swipe right. You know,

Chris Spear:

I love how you do say, I'm not old enough. I am 45. So I did live. I did live prior to the internet. I wasn't in the Philadelphia area. But believe me, I think

Unknown:

everyone's younger than me. So. But it's all good. But um, yeah, so that's, that's my like beginning of the restaurant. Sonoma was definitely with Jen was amazing. I learned so much there about everything food, our manager was amazing, and wine, and all that stuff that I never really knew about, you know. And then on the other side, I was working at this kind of divey Mexican place that I learned even more about just speed and about getting getting through the night and about just having a good time. But at the same time, you're not taking it too serious, but taking it taking your job to the fullest. Right if you that's how you make money in this business. But then I started to work in the city in Center City, I worked at nightclubs and bars. I worked at this divey gay bar called Qs, which is now Frankie, frankly, Bradley's or Bradley frankly. And then Madison. They have been open for about two years. And the original owners, Matt and Sonia were leaving, but no one had ever left there. Like no one had ever left their server wise because they did so well. And someone was leaving. And I heard about it. And I applied for the job. And at the time, I was still working at the nightclub. And the Sonia who's amazing. Basically said like, it sounds great. But you work at a nightclub like you're going to come you're going to be able to work lunches like No, I'm not going to. I want to. But you know, in this industry what I probably get out, probably not. So that didn't work the first round of interviews, but then I left the nightclub. And then they were hiring again. And it just so happened that it worked out perfectly for me because I worked there for eight years with Ben Pako. It's who you know, right? Ben puck was from all those beautiful ramen restaurants. But yeah, so I worked under him for seven or eight of years, which was amazing. I learned a lot there, which was nice. And we were doing something that the city really wasn't doing that much of affordable, tasty menus every single week, a different tasting menu, $45.05 courses, something like that. And it was just amazing. And that's where I've really learned to start to love food and really enjoy flavors and pick up on little touches that chefs do and that pastry chef Do that you normally wouldn't see in other places, right? So Madison is where I really learned how to care about what I was eating, and how it was being presented.

Chris Spear:

While you were doing it, did you have a plan for what you wanted to be doing with your life, like, were you like, one year at a time saying, like, I'm just gonna be here a year, and then I'm gonna get out and do this, or were you kind of taking it as it comes.

Unknown:

It's funny, because you always have releasing that you always have, you always want to have a plan B. At the time, no working there, I had such job security. It was my job. It was I was a professional surfer. And I took pride in that, because I had such good connections with my customers. And with, with the people coming in the food, the back of the house, the front of the house, very close knit. So for me, I kind of I had a plan, I had visions that I wanted to do this and that, but at the same time, I was so comfortable with how I had it because I had the best shifts, I was making a lot of money. I wasn't managing. So I was taking all that money, and I wasn't putting up with all the other stuff. But we were professionals in and we we were we handled it. And we made it look very smooth. We made the restaurant, it just we made that restaurant, look and run very smooth, no matter what was going on in the back. And I love that that's one of the things I loved about working with Ben Pakulski especially, was that if anything happened during the night, you know, you messed up something, he did something, alright, handle it. At the end of the night, though, it was let go. You were having beers, or you were just or you were laughing. You know, there was no holding grudges, and there was no throwing pans, I you know, that culture that I've been, I've been through it all, you know, pans getting thrown being called every single name in the book, but something with with Madison it didn't it never really happened. And I loved that about that place. Because it was just like, listen, shit happens, try not to do it again. You know, get it together, and then forget about it, which is really nice.

Chris Spear:

So were you partying a lot at this period in your life, like, you know, now it sounds like you're, you're sober. So there was an issue somewhere. So when did that start to become a lifestyle and a problem.

Unknown:

It was just always there, we, you know, you you drank at the end of your shift. You went out to dinner and you drank you met up with friends. It just was a constant thing for me that I got finally got bored with it. And I'm glad that I did because I wouldn't be here today talking. But for me personally, it was I got to the point in my life where I got so tired of saying to myself could have would have should have, and also watching friends that were servers or his friends that were line cooks, opening up their own restaurants, having children having a husband having a wife having a partner, I wasn't having any of that. And I knew the one thing that was holding me back from anything in life was alcohol. And I'm very lucky that for me, my personality, I can let go things up quick, let go of things meaning like, I didn't have a problem with staying away from alcohol, which was amazing. Because I that was one of my fears. In the early stages of my sobriety was that how long was this really gonna last? For me as a server, or a bartender, you can take a month off from drinking sober January, no drinking November, and save a little bit of money. But then once you get to that hump, then you're drinking. That's how it really started. That's how my sobriety started as well. It was one of those things where I really got behind in money, and I was making all this money. But where was this money going? And then you know, you realize it's going you're you're, you're going out to eat, you're going out to drink, you're spending money. You're doing this, you're partying. So I regrouped. And I said to myself, Okay, let me not drink for 30 days, get caught up on my bills get caught up on my rent. And then it was 60 days, and then it was 90 days. And then it was like 120 days. And by that time I was kind of like, Oh, God, this is so much easier than I thought for me. For me. I know for many people that suffer with a lot longer sobriety than I have Have that suffer. And I know there's so many people that reach out to me now that are like 30 days and three months, and they how do you do it, and you just have to do it if you want, you know, that's the thing. So, for me, it was a problem. And I faced it. And I knew that I, I was, I knew there was better things for me out there. And I had a great life with drinking, don't get me wrong. But it also was one of the things that was holding me back.

Chris Spear:

First of all, congratulations. I mean, that's such a challenge for so many people. And it's not easy. But I'm really glad to see that, you know, we were talking earlier how so much of the industry is changing, and that it's becoming more normal to talk about this, it's becoming more just chefs are getting sober, the industry seems to be changing in that respect. And it's not that you have to be an alcoholic to work in the food business.

Unknown:

It shows in the way that you present yourself the way that the food's presented, you know, believe me, I come from a long line of going into work hungover, and going into the kitchen and seeing the crew hung over, you know, and like bringing in pizza or bringing in something for them. And then at 10 o'clock, we're starting again, with, you know, getting the beer and getting the drinks. And so it's a cycle, and it can be managed if this chef or if someone sets the standards, and I think that's what's happening a lot is that it's becoming, you know, a standard, there's no partying a no party kind of environment, which is fine, you know, without being too strict, you know, it's it's, it's the person who sets the standard and sets the bar, I think that really reflects on other people, you know, which that happened that's trickles down to everyone. You know, whether the chef has a bad attitude, or the pastry chef is this way, or the dishwasher is finicky. Or the server and I've been that Sir, I've been the difficult server that has ruined other people that I worked with nights, you know, it trickles down. But if you try to work on it at the top, then the night goes by faster, right, and it goes by smoother.

Chris Spear:

That's a great transition into, you know, kind of the next part of this conversation, which is like, I know you as the single Baker right from Instagram, that's your handle your profile is a lot of baking stuff. So yeah, what are you doing in the baking realm? And kind of How did that start?

Unknown:

So for me, again, it goes back to changing my life to 39 and getting sober. And I was thinking like, what can I do to get me up, keep me occupied. And baking had been something that I love to do. Didn't really ever do it because I had amazing bakeries around me or people that I knew my mom, my aunt's amazing Baker. So I didn't really need to bake, I started to be with which I thought was simple. I wanted to make biscotti. And it was I didn't follow the directions I didn't really measure. I just like was winging it because I was used to cooking and I was used to just throwing stuff in. And that was a big failure and a very expensive failure because it was hazelnuts, and this and that. So it started with something simple that I thought was going to be just something to keep me occupied, which was the baking and healthier food prepping. And when I got sober i i did like a massive no meat, I haven't eaten meat in probably eight years. And then sugar, anything white like white flour, sugar, I cut that out for a while just to re restart my whole body. So back to the baking. The baking was a way for me to get stay occupied. And to try something new. And to create something I had always had something in the back of my head about it because I loved watching other people. We had an amazing pastry chef at Madison, Sonia Bravo who I really looked up to and really watched her skill. I was lucky enough that she was open to showing me stuff and letting me kind of goof around with her in the beginning at least with with wanting to learn. And then I was like what are you going to do with this? You know, you're making stuff. You're making cookies for people, you're making biscotti for people, you're not charging people, you're just giving them out as gifts. And it's great and you're making these cakes for people. What are you going to do? Do you want to open a bakery? Do you want to work in a restaurant? I don't know. So the next step for me was I started to start a places and I I started with some amazing people that really showed me like, what I needed to do to tighten up my skills as a home Baker. So I was fortunate enough that I was working my friends owned a bagel shop need bagel, and Sherry And Adam Milner. And I helped them open that up. And I was doing the counter. And it happened that one of our regulars at the time, Chef Dena from she was at a fisher, she was the pastry chef there. I had talked to her about stashing, and I told her, you know, my deal, she was like one of the first people to really take it take me seriously, and really helped me and not make me feel like I was at home home baker or, or that I wasn't like, there for long term, I wanted to learn, I wanted to clean up, I wanted to learn how to work in that industry. And what what I needed to do to make my home game, you know, up a little bit with, and with, with that being said, Just something simple, like, she has an amazing teacher. And that's, that's what you really want, you want someone who's great at what they do. But an amazing teacher, you know that I've worked with people who are like, they're great at their job, but they're not teachers, you know what I mean, there's like, this is what we do learn it with me, but I can't teach it to you. But then there's people that are structured teachers. And amazing, Dana was great like that, you know, one of the first things she said was, don't read the ingredients, read the recipe, first, you read the directions first, and then the ingredients to that you get that feel. And she also was one of the first people that told me like, respect where you where your environment is, clean everything off, when you're done using it, you know, and, and take care of the environment around so that the next person or that so that tomorrow, it's clean, and it's ready, and it doesn't break down, you don't have that problem. So I learned a lot through her, which was great. And you know, I value that so much. Because to start somewhere without really an end game. Like, I wasn't looking for a job and I wasn't looking to go to school in in pastry. So for her to trust me and to take me under the wing, she really was one of the people in Philadelphia, that believed to me. And at the same time, I reached out to many people, and certain people just didn't have the time. And that was and at the time, it was okay, you know, and that was fine. And a lot of other people didn't have the space or I didn't have an end game. And if you don't have an end game, meaning they don't benefit from me really over killing some apples, you know. So it's like, well, if you don't want to work, you don't want to go to school, you don't want to do this. But then working at with Dana at a fissure opened the door for me to do a stodg at their Rittenhouse hotel, and they're a pastry department for the QA and for the hotel. That was incredible, that they say just to be astonishing there, right, with very little experience in that kind of field especially. And I worked with a woman and I hope she's still there, Loretta. And she is the like, backbone of the pastry there. And I love that experience so much. So like those two places, and those two women really impacted me to really hone in on what my skills were and like cleaning it up and, and learning that you know, using a scale or using the how to measure the machines and how to fill out that whole vibe. And then it evolved into that really helps my other my side business because I was doing, you know, these cakes for getting nicer, the cookies were getting cleaner. And the presentation was looking nicer. And with the gym, I was working at a gym as a trainer because I'm a personal trainer as well. I was able to make granola and make peanut butter and make almond butter and sell that to unhealthy like healthy muffins with protein powder made into them. So it kind of like they play with each other and, and kind of went full circle and utilize both businesses to kind of really work together, which was really nice.

Chris Spear:

Staging is interesting, but I totally understand how, like, if they're not getting something out of it, like it's a big time commitment, like you know, absolutely. And I have people reach out to me saying hey, can I you know, I want to become a personal chef, can I come shadow you it's like, I'm actually gonna go slower with you with me because I have to like stop and like explain everything to you. And at the end of the day, if like, all I'm getting out of is you're peeling potatoes but I'm gonna have to it's gonna take me twice as long and then you're not gonna end up working for me like, I don't know that I can really do that.

Unknown:

Yeah, well, here's the thing. I think that when Someone has that spark about them. And I'm talking about myself. And people see that they believe in you, right, and they know you're going to take it to the next level, and you're know you're going to utilize it. And then there's certain people that just don't have the patience or the time for it. And that's fine, too. But I feel that to give someone a chance, and if someone's serious about it, you know, because as the person starting as well, you're committing a lot of time to doing a lot of jobs that are, you know, mindless, you know, basically, but then you get offered things that because they start believing in you. Like, if Dana goes to a meeting for an hour, and it's like, you have to finish this chocolate, or you have to finish this and leaves you that responsibility. Or when you're in the hotel, they're like, leaving me to do the T service project, like, this is insane, you know, I don't have any experience, you have the experience, do it. And if you mess it up, you got to do it over. It's just, it's all about the right timing and knowing good people who want to help, but at the same time, and now that it's been a long, longer, I can respect others who said no, in the beginning, because of space, and because of time, and because of patience. And because of teaching me I didn't come from any background, I'm self taught. So, you know, I was reading the American test kitchens, dessert book, that's what I knew. So I was reading that for reference, and that that cookbook, stays by my hip. It's, you know, something that I, you know, I learned a lot through. But again, so again, you know, you took people take risks on other people. And I'm grateful for that, you know, and then I decided that I was good at what I was doing. And I started making cakes for people. And it started with people that I was interacting with at the gym, they needed birthday cakes, and they needed this cake, or Christmas or Christmas cakes, things like that. And I started off with and I still to this day, everything is simple. And I know that my cakes have evolved to very chaotic, bright, fun things, but underlining them, they are just buttercream that have some food coloring in it. And they're just chocolate cakes, and they're just vanilla cakes, and there was no fondant, and there's no really added bullshit to it. And that's what I've always based my baking on very clean home cooking, home baking, simplicity that tastes amazing and remind you of things that you love. So that kind of was like, moving along. And it's like, okay, well, what was what are you going to do next with this. And I wanted to I have always been doing like social media with doing lives are very active on social media with my baking and my and my cooking. And I decided that I should apply for a reality show a TV show. So I was on I was on the Food Network. And I said if I'm going to do this, so I'm going to apply for one of these cooking shows. I'm only going to do it for Food Network if I'm going to start there, right. And it started with I had done some local news. Every once in a while I'm on Good Day Live with Jennifer Frederick's, and we do a segment on food, whether it's healthy food, or its ways of switching up food making food quicker. So I already had that kind of like entertainment kind of in my back back of my head that I knew I was good at it. I knew I was good in front of the camera. You the camera kind of liked me.

Chris Spear:

So before we go to Food Network, how did you break into that? Because that's something that a lot of people ask me like just getting on your local news. How did that happen?

Unknown:

So again, it's all based on like, everyone you connect with, not everyone you meet everyone that you connect with in life. There, there's something there that there's it's for a reason, you know, if you want to believe it or not. So again, getting sober, starting to, to work out at a gym, getting a family and they say you know, a fit family. And it's true. You get a family just like a restaurant family. You get a fitness family and you get a group of people who are all on the same page as you you're you're all getting up at the same time you're working out at the same time you're working out together, eating together. Okay, so then with that, you get introduced to more people in this industry fitness, and I happen to be at a class and one of my very good friends Holly waters. She was training a woman who's on Good Day Live Jen Frederick, I don't know if you know Jan, she's an amazing person. She was training her and Jen was talking About segments, and Holly had told her about me, and about my journey kind of like and what I can do. And then Jen reached out and was like, I have this idea for baking Quick, quick Thanksgiving desserts, something like that. And then her and I built a relationship. It always works out who you meet, right, like trickles into what you need. And it's so funny. That's how I met Monica glass as well. Holly was training Monica. Via Monica, we're in the same class, I always knew of Monica through Jan, and the other people in Philadelphia, but I never met her, and happened to be in this fitness class. And at the end of the class, Holly said, Monica and Lewis, you have to know each other. And we both were like, Oh, my God, we know of each other, never had met. So nothing to do with the food industry, we met at a fitness class. And that kind of blossomed into our relationship, which is amazing. And I've worked with Monica, especially during the pandemic, we've done a lot together with live cooking segments, and, and stuff like that, and just interviewing each other. And it just so again, it just all goes back to like, right placement of person, right people, and letting that in letting it into you, right letting it into your life. So I started to look into how to get on cooking shows, and baking competitions. And just take a chance, right. And I had never really watched a lot of the Food Network, but I knew if this, of course of the shows of the core shows. So I applied with a company, a casting company. And it was originally for a show that was like, a chopped, but it was like, Are you a chef or aren't you a chef? Right They pinpoint, like real chefs, and non real, I guess home cooks are like people who like to cook. So for me, it was a fitness instructor who likes to cook right? And went up, did the show. You know, we did a test film, got great feedback, I do the whole all the segments, you know, made it through the rounds of the day. And then about three weeks later, I got a call back and was like, we didn't we're not using you for the show. But we have a baking show that we think you'll be that's for you. We we've seen your stuff on the internet and baking is your thing. So that was for one of a show called Baker's versus fakers. And it was a buddy of Alaska, this has been for us. Yeah. And I did really well in it, and won the first round and then lost the second round. But had that kind of like very intense kind of feeling that this is amazing. This is what I want it, check it off the list. And it was a great vibe. And that was in 2016. So that was really early in my sobriety. And in my baking, which is a great accomplishment because you have these people that have been baking and cooking all their lives and just doing a show if they wanted to do it. So for me to be that much of an amateur and really kick up the game, and do that there's a lot of fun. And I would definitely do it again. And I get offers through the casting agency all the time. But nothing really seems to be like, nothing seems like me. It seems like it would be fun. But it doesn't seem like I would be all in it. You know?

Chris Spear:

Yeah, I've never done any of those shows. But you know, sometimes they're such a kind of contrived, like setup for the show. What, what makes good TV, it's like watching, you know, Gordon Ramsay on Hell's Kitchen. Like, that's not really what a kitchen environments like, but like it would be kind of boring to just kind of watch a normal kitchen service. So I know you got to kind of manipulate it for the screen. Absolutely. And

Unknown:

I think when I met with the producers, just on these kinds of interviews or Skype, they knew by personality that I, I was going to be that guy on TV that was going to be a little over the top funny and easy to look at. You know. So yeah, so I kind of feel like, you know, the producers definitely knew, but they also knew that from looking at my stuff, they knew that I also was good at what I was doing as well.

Chris Spear:

Yeah, and you know, it's so interesting because the world is moving so fast and new opportunities come up all the time that like didn't even exist, you know, I I say all you know, as I think about like, what I want to do, it's like, I don't know, I think things are gonna come up that weren't even possible, right? Like, like having a podcast now. You know, like, that wasn't even a thing that existed. You know, like, when I was in high school, it wasn't like I'm gonna have a podcast or like being a personal chef was nothing really you know, like there was private Chefs for wealthy people but just like going and cooking dinners for like, your next door neighbors didn't really exist.

Unknown:

Now I feel the same way I feel that, why Phil, one thing I really believe in is that age is just the age, it's has nothing to do with anything that you accomplished, you know, Julia Child's was well off in age and started her career, and other people have started their career, you know, later. So it's just a number. And I firmly believe in that, because I've totally did a 360 with my life, and it is what it is. But if you want something you should don't have to put a number on it. You know, and that's what we're, you know, we're fortunate enough, and especially with the last two years of, of what we've been dealing with is, if you haven't really thought about your self, your life, other human beings, I don't know where you've been. But this was a great time to reflect on that kind of stuff. As horrible as the world is becoming sometimes or the last two years alone. For small businesses. It's so important that we support. I know for me, personally, I that for my two businesses, fitness business has done amazing during the pandemic because of everything on Zoom classes and stuff. And people reaching out to me for baked goods because they were home and they could celebrate birthdays, or they didn't want to bake. And they didn't want to go to a store, they wanted to go somewhere local to help someone whose job depended on it. The fitness world, the serving world, got hit hard and not the hardest, but I was able to actually make some good out of it. Right before the pandemic speaking on things that you don't know where your life's gonna take you. So 2019, I decided to do a 12 page, a coloring book with recipes, 12 cookie recipes, and coloring and my friend who's an illustrator, Stevie did all the illustrations for that. And we had a big launch at tattooed moms, and we raised over $3,000 for No Kid Hungry, which is very important cause and then I've got into making pasta, which had always been around pasta, being Italian, but really never fell deep into making the shapes and making pasta. And I always had in the back of my head, I wanted to do a supper club. I sat down with my my friend, my friend Lauren, and I said I'm doing it, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna have six top up in my house, a table in the back of my house, the back of my apartment. And I'm gonna cook six courses, 60 bucks, pasta and a dessert. And if people want to do it, they'll buy the ticket. And we plan for it December, January, February, we had one pop up, and it was amazing. And it was successful. And then March happens. And it kind of really just ended that right? Again, because intimate settings, intimate meetings, we're done with it, even to the gray even to today, it's kind of still kind of iffy, especially going into someone else's place their space and, and people feel uncomfortable. But again, going back to like taking leaps, and doing stuff and being able to say like, Oh, I did that. And that for me, it's important that you at least try it. And you'll always do it. And you always can fall back on it, you can always go into it again. And I've had a lot of downtime where I've done nothing. And I've I've just eaten pasta. And I've just eaten takeout pizza, and I've been like everyone else. But then there's been there's been times where you can really flourish with working on yourself working on your house, you know, these plates that have all these plates behind me, you know, it was a side project that had been in Paris and we were at a restaurant and there was a restaurant that was covering in these plates. And I decided that oh I have the time now to make my house look like a home you know and and fitness. Just getting yourself regrouping to making yourself a home gym and taking better care. I've noticed so many more people have had the opportunity to take better care of themselves during this during these two years that normally won't have the time to work out, prepare their own food. I love the fact that these last two years is trying as they've been on the restaurant industry and horrible on restaurant industry. It's also been a great time that you're seeing I've met that I've met chefs, these people that you I don't know, because they're always on the line that are on the internet now that never we're on Instagram, never doing lives. And you get to meet these celebrity chefs that are just normal people that live in small apartments in New York, that now have to do the same thing we're doing is setting up space in these places to make a living. And it's also was a great regrouping, I would hope and especially the chefs that are around me, of recruiting that they can see their families, and they could relax with their families and be with, go out with their friends and enjoy things that normally we don't get to enjoy being in this business. And for a lot of chefs, you know, regrouping of how they treat others, or how they cook, or learning a new skill other than what they know. And maybe maybe starting a podcast, or maybe writing a blog writing to kids don't write box today, or writing a cookbook or something, you know, so that to me, I would hope, as hard as it's been on this industry, I would hope that the servers and the front of the house that needed an opportunity to regroup or start another business that they've always wanted to, I hope that they've got not started, or they they're doing that. And for the back of the house, I hope that they've started their side gigs, or they regroup themselves.

Chris Spear:

I guess that's one of the things that's kind of also hitting the service industry is all these people kind of figuring out, like, maybe I don't want to be working for someone, maybe I just need to start my own thing. And then it's like, you have too many places of business that don't have enough of the labor. Like, I don't think, you know, everyone talks about like, oh, the labor shortage was not because people aren't working like I know, almost no one's sitting at home not working. But a lot of people have kind of shift shifted what they're doing. And I think a lot of people just figured out a way to make money on their own and not going back working for someone.

Unknown:

That and also, to be honest, it's hard. A it's so hard to work right now in this industry, in the restaurant industry, during this pandemic. And one of the things that didn't really come out of this that should have was that people didn't get nicer. People didn't change their entitlement that you're waiting on. There's a great group of people that are amazing, and that up their tip game, but there's still those shitty people who don't tip who don't believe in this, don't believe in that. And feel entitled, you know, I went back to I was working weekends at a brunch spot, the Dutch in and in South Philadelphia. And I went back early one, and I left because I just I was miserable. It's something that I loved. And I'm like, I can't do this with people, that the handful of people are decent. But then there's the other handful of people that just aren't getting it that we're putting our necks out. You know, and that's something that people, a lot of people don't think about, you know, when you go to a place like a CVS or Rite Aid, those people have been working for the last two years at a job that's, you know, it's not the rank the best job in the world, and to treat people awful. Like that. To me, that's just, that's the shift. It's just crazy for me. And I don't know, expect everyone to come out. Because believe me, I have my days were difficult. But it's been a hard challenge. And if you could not go back into that world, and have a plan B do it. It's one of those things that's always in the back of my mind. Like I know, I'm going to eventually have to go back into a restaurant. Because that's, that's the skill I know. And that's how I know how to make money. But right now, I don't want to deal with I don't want to deal with everything else that goes with the pandemic and with serving and dealing with people.

Chris Spear:

So what's the plan for you? I mean, do you have goals, either long or short term goals? I mean, it sounds like you might at some point go back to working somewhere, but kind of what are you looking at the next time I know and, and so much of it is like dependent on this whole COVID thing because we're still not out of the woods, but what are you thinking?

Unknown:

You know, for me, it's one of those things where I'm constantly trying to regroup, uh, like, what do I want to do? What do I want to really do is I just want to travel and eat but what do I need to do? You know, I need to make money and I need to work and I need to figure out what what the next step is. I mean, the woman that I did the first book with the the coloring book with we're doing a another book. So that's kind of in the works for 2022 We are in the middle of like editing it right now it's going to be a sex and recipe book. So it's going to be based on the way you eat, and sexual positions and sex and food and how everything relates to things you love, which should be good food and good sex.

Chris Spear:

It's an interesting book.

Unknown:

Yes, it's a, it's gonna be, it's, it's gonna be an interesting book, because it really takes on like, positions that you can enjoy, and food that you can enjoy. And then food that you really shouldn't be eating, thinking, you know, ahead ahead of the future for if you're planning on having a fun night in or having sex, and food and sex go hand in hand. You know, and there's a lot of stuff that we don't talk about, and we should talk about it. And because we all have it, so, but it'll be a fun book. And it's going to be simple recipes that aren't all my own. They're shared recipes that I tweaked. And then there's some very simple recipes for just getting the job done, and getting the meal on the table so that you can have sex and have fun and and, you know, education, there's some education in there too, which is nice, and what not to eat and what to eat. And yeah, and the baking has been great. I, you know, I have orders, I advertise to friends. And that being said, like people say, Why don't you have a website, why don't use, say it on Instagram, or look for customers. And then to me, that becomes more of a hassle a little bit with dealing with people you don't really know, or dealing with people's needs. And it's, it's kind of like, I'm doing it because I enjoy doing it. So the minute I'm not enjoying it anymore, and I'm on working with things I don't want to work in, I don't ever want to work in funding, I don't ever want to make you a funded Mickey Mouse cake. I never want to make you a funded, you know, dears and stuff like that. I don't want to make stuff like that it's not in my nature to make it. So I don't want to fall down that hole, you know of, of this and that with with baking. So if someone reaches out to me in my DMs and I always answer them with, you know, let's talk and then if it works, it works. And if it doesn't, that's fine. There's a there's a million other bakers, who will do a fondant, meaning Minnie Mouse for you? Well, I

Chris Spear:

guess that's the joy of like, it's not your only source of income. And this is a topic we keep going back to on the podcast is, you know, when do you take your side hustle and make it a full time thing. And I think it's very challenging when people find something they love. And they're doing it on the side. And then it's like, that's gonna be there full time thing and to get the money in, right? Like you, you need a job to survive, you need income. And I think a lot of times you start compromising, your, I don't wanna say like create a vision or like your what you want to do.

Unknown:

That's what fitness to with fitness. In both of those industries that I'm in, I have the freedom, but I could easily choose to go work somewhere at a bakery and do cookies or the same cakes all day long. Yeah. Same with the gym, I could work in a place where I don't get to choose the workout. The Workout is chosen for me and I teach it or I don't get to choose the music. It's chosen for me. And that works for some people. Some people work like that like that. I don't work well like that. I work well, me being the creative and taking taking, you know, your opinion or taking your advice, but leaving me up to the creative end of it.

Chris Spear:

What what do you want to leave our listeners with before we get out of here today?

Unknown:

Wow. You know, I hope that people really believe in themselves enough at any age to really try. Try something that they've always wanted to. And, you know, the worst thing is that you fail, but at the same time you could succeed in it, or you could really like it. I would hope that someone that's suffering from addiction could get something out of that where you're not alone. And that it's it's a hard journey, but it's worth it in the long run. If you can stick with it. Find yourself a good group of people and that goes for not even getting so that's the first advice that's for life. You know, find yourself a good group of chosen people. And that's really all you need. Because at the end of the day, it's like The rest is washed away, you know, especially with in this social media world, if you really take everything you see and hear, and if you take all that in, you're going to be crazy. At the end of the day, you have to just think about what you need for your health. And for your, your well being, you know, so if it's, if it's changing a routine or taking walk, I'm an advocate of walking after dinner, you know, just for the digestion and things like that. Just simple changes in your life that no one has to notice. But you, it's very important that you are constantly thinking about what you need in your life before other people. And that's something that I've had to work on some stuff, I am a giving person, and very giving selfish person, but you know, it goes with it. And there's a lot of Plan B's going on right now. And I know though, they're going to eventually turn into something, I need to focus more on, I need to push myself more. So I hope that people that have been in kind of like this kind of rut, are really pushing themselves to the limits of what they their abilities are and what they what they're able to do. And that that goes from anything it can be, you know, at 39, I drove a car for like, the first time I got my license at 39. It was just on my bucket list. I don't even drive, I don't want to drive. I live in a city. I live in a major city. But again, it was something that I was like, Oh, I can do this. And then I then I was done with it. So it's pushing yourself to the limits of, of getting your checklist on. And traveling, traveling is a big thing.

Chris Spear:

And I'm definitely a believer in that expression that you're the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, right? Like if all of the people that you're closest with are always out partying, you're going to be out partying, but if your inner circle or people who are like trying to get their life together, and whether that be exercising or you know, whatever, you're gonna start to take on that stuff. So I really do think, you know, limiting your environment to being around the people who make you better. I think this was great. I really appreciate you taking the time coming on the show. I love talking to you. I feel like we could go on and on now. Like we did. I would love to have you win this book. I want this book to come out. Why don't you come back we'll do like a little book launch or something when that's ready to go and I think I think that could be its own conversation right?

Unknown:

I would love it. I would love it and my elicit the woman that I work with would love it to. Really fun.

Chris Spear:

Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. I've really enjoyed talking to you. Go to chefs without restaurants.org To find our Facebook group, mailing list and check database. The community's free to join. You'll get gig opportunities, advice on building and growing your business and you'll never miss an episode of our podcast. Have a great week.